Monday, September 26, 2011

An Update on the Upstairs Creepers

My last theory about the neighbors above us was that they were crackheads or drug dealers of some sort. I'm beginning to think they are something much more frightening than originally believed:

Serial killers.

Last week I walked outside and found large chunks of HUMAN HAIR at my doorstep and all over my patio. What? My initial thought was, "Uggh, these girls across the way swept their trash over to our side" and then another thought hit me: the girls across the way are COPS. I doubt they'd cut their hair and throw it at my door just for kicks and giggles.

I looked straight up from where the hair was, and realized it had been dropped from above, through the slats in the staircase. At first I was annoyed, and then I remembered one of my favorite Tim Burton films, and promptly informed Brandon that one of our neighbors might be Sweeney Todd in disguise. This would explain the number of people entering the upstairs apartment, but does not account for where the bodies go after he kills them, as we are in their "basement".



Yesterday we discovered a wasp's nest, empty, laying at our doorstep. A warning, no doubt. I must be getting close with my investigation of the mysterious neighbors, or else they would not have made me aware they know I am onto them.

The time has come: who knows a good place to buy spy gear like small hidden cameras, preferably with sound? There's a low part of our ceiling where we can discreetly screw a device of some sort and figure out what is actually going on with these people.

All I'm hoping is that they don't turn out to be aliens. Or that I wake up and realize it was a dream and we never had upstairs neighbors. Both endings are a little outdated and overused. And frankly, not very interesting anymore.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

9 Cookies

Brooklyn turns one in a week and a half and I will not cry about it.
Brooklyn turns one in a week and a half and I will not cry about it.
Brooklyn turns one in a week and a half and I will not cry about it.
Brooklyn turns one in a week and a half and I will not cry about it.

Anymore, anyway.

I've been planning her birthday party for a few weeks now. Invitations have been sent, decorations are made and will be put up on Friday. Everyone we see while we're out asks how old she is, and I've been saying, "She'll be one in two weeks" for the past few days. But for some inexplicable reason, today I lost it.

I was changing her diaper and said, "Let's get ready- we need to buy all the food for your birthday party". And then I wept. And then I ate 9 cookies. Not the best way to deal with grief, sure, but better to get drunk on chocolate chip M&M Keebler Elf cookies than alcohol, I always say.

I've never actually said that before, but I'll say it from now on.

This stage of Brooklyn's life has been fun, and I know each moment of the rest of her life will be special too. But man... why does she have to get big?

Every day I learn more and more about being a mom. Today I think I learned what it means when you tell your child that they will always be your baby.

My baby is a big girl. So big in fact, she apparently just figured out how to take off her own pants. Uh-oh. Gotta go.

Monday, September 19, 2011

I Need an Ethel

If I'm Lucy, I need an Ethel.

Lucy always has ideas and schemes and needed a friend to help her carry them out. I'm feeling more and more like Lucy each day, and I've come to the conclusion that I need an Ethel to help me.

We may live underneath crackheads.

Yes, this is my suspicion. The only faces I've seen are a mom, dad and little boy around 7 years old, but all night long into the early morning hours we hear people running around the apartment, up and down the staircase, sitting on the steps (with their backs to us, darn it!). Brandon thinks there may be squatters hiding up there because we never see them, but when said mom, dad and boy are seen leaving the apartment, there is still noise coming from upstairs! Why are there mysterious people hiding in an apartment, coming and going at all hours if they're not mixing cocaine and selling it to apartment visitors?

What to do, what to do... go upstairs when the family of 3 is gone and ask to borrow a cup of sugar? Eggs? Milk? Climb the drainage pipe and peek in the window at 2 am? Complain to the apartment office that there may be 17 drug addicts living above me? Convince the cops who live across from us to check things out on a hunch?

 There's probably a much more reasonable explanation for all of this, but for the life of me I can't think of one. And anyway, until I get an Ethel I won't be doing much exploring on my own. I'll be taking applications for assistant crime fighter and detective all week.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

"Is This Going to Give Me Food Poisoning?": Part II

Part I of this saga was never mentioned in the blog world, though my friends on facebook are well aware of what happened. Long story short, I made a dinner which only my husband ate and he proceeded to miss the next day of school with a very messy bout of food poisoning.

Given my track record, I was not surprised as Brandon suspiciously eyed the dinner I made this evening. Fruit salad- looked fine. No rotten fruit. Homemade onion rings- something I've made before- good good unhealthy stuff. Crockpot Lemon Chicken...

Brandon: "What is this?"

Me: "It's chicken. What does it look like?"

Brandon: "Liver." (glances in pan on stove) "And onions??? Liver and onions? Why???"

Me: "It's chicken, trust me. And you like my onion rings. Back off."

*We sit down to table and begin to eat*

Brandon: "Here you go Brooklyn."

Me: "Are you feeding the chicken to your daughter first?"

Brandon: "Yeah, I want to see if she likes it before I eat any."

*Brooklyn smiles and gobbles it up*

Brandon: "Okay."

Me: "It's very tender."

*pause*

Me: "You don't even need a knife for it."

*pause*

Me: "It's the same general idea with Dr. Pepper ham- a sweet drink and a meat."

*pause*

Me: "Man. This is weird."

Brandon: "This is very weird."

Me: "This is really really weird."

Brandon: "If I eat it quickly, then drink water, then eat an onion it's not so bad. How did you make this? Why is it so dark?"

Me: "Because there is ketchup in it."

*pause*

Brandon: "Ketchup? You mean ketchup, chicken and lemonade were all just sitting together in a crock pot all day?"

Me: "It sounds disgusting when you say it like that."

Brandon: "How much ketchup?"

Me: "Three tablespoons."

Brandon: "That's so gross. If you had said, 'I'm making Crockpot Lemon Chicken tonight. It has ketchup in it', I would have said 'That's weird. Don't add ketchup'."

*sigh. He's right. Why would anyone think lemonade and ketchup together is a good idea? Why didn't I read that and assume the person who wrote the recipe is a crackhead?*

So what have we learned tonight? My child will eat just about anything. And my husband won't tell me my cooking is bad until I admit it myself first :) I've got a sweet family.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Losing My Sight, Losing My Mind

For all who love to read, but an especially loud cry for help from fellow moms.

I had a little outing the other day to pick up a few needed and a few wanted items (we all know they are two separate categories). I bought Brooklyn a really cute Minnie Mouse t-shirt (yay clearance items!) at Target. I also bought (at a variety of stores) a 2-liter Coke, deli turkey, nail polish, a Halloween decoration, a car air freshener, medicine and some pictures from my USB that I got printed. The only problem is the Minnie Mouse shirt is missing. I need all the Sherlock Moms out there to put their thinking caps on and figure out what happened to it.

The Coke and turkey are in the fridge. No shirt.
The nail polish and medicine are in the bathroom. No shirt.
The Halloween decoration is in Brooklyn's room. No shirt.
The car air freshener is in the van. No shirt.
The pictures are on the table. No shirt.
The USB is in the diaper bag. No shirt.
The receipts are in the trash. No shirt (Yes, I even checked the trash can).
The plastic bags used to carry said items are in the closet (Future kitty litter usage). No shirt (Yeah, checked all 1,000 Target bags we have stocked up too).

And I couldn't have left it in the store, because I left Target with ONE bag, and it was in there. I even thought "Ew gross, it's right next to the cold turkey" as I left the store.


Where haven't I looked? Wherever that is, that's where the shirt is.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Love at First Sight

It's unreal to me to think that my daughter is going to be turning 1 in 3 weeks. This time last year I was waddling around 25 pounds heavier than I am now, moaning as I rolled in and out of bed, feeling like a blown up oompa loompa. Then I met Brooklyn and immediately it was all worth it.

This has been the background picture on my laptop since she was born. Each time I take another cute picture I think about changing it, but I just can't bring myself to stop looking at love at first sight.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I am UNcool.

Today while driving my sea green Mazda MPV minivan complete with "Baby on Board" decal and Winnie the Pooh window shade, I was passed rather aggressively by a large Dodge truck with wheels taller than me, a V12 engine and a teenage boy with bones on his steering wheel. I looked at my speedometer and thought to myself, "Hmm. I'm actually going 2 over the speed limit." My next thought was, "Wow. I am UNcool."

This, as we all know, is actually a false statement, but at first glance we can all tell who the "cool" kids are. When I was in school they all wore short shorts and Abercrombie and Fitch. Hard to tell what the high schoolers do now to look cool- I taught at a hick school where it was cool to wear belt buckles and boots, so...

I always hated the word "popular" growing up. The word "popular" means basically something that a lot of people like. In high school, "popular" means someone who is good-looking, takes a long time to do their hair in the morning, wears expensive clothes, and is probably mean to people because they think themselves holier than thou.

I was not "popular". I was not cool. I had a mushroom haircut until I was in 4th grade and looked like a boy. I wore jeans and thrift store t-shirts because they were old and more comfortable than the new things you could buy in the store. I wore PJ's to school on multiple occasions and only wore makeup if I remembered. No big deal.

I've always said I don't care about what people think, but I do. I want people to think I'm a good person. I want people to like me. But I won't do anything to be liked; I won't change who I am to please you. So I guess this makes me uncool; this makes me unpopular.

My little brother is the most popular person I know. Is he mean and condescending? No. Does he wear fancy clothes? No. But he has won "Mr. Friendly" at camp so many summers that his youth minister joked that they should change the title to the "Kirby Allen" award. I would love to win that one. Kirby is the most popular guy I know because he is genuine and he loves people. He wants everyone to be happy and feel good about themselves. He puts himself out there for others and often doesn't leave enough to take care of himself. He is my example of Jesus. He is my hero. And I don't know anyone who doesn't love him. THAT'S popular.

It's okay to be "unpopular" and "uncool". Those are just random standards that tweenagers make up to make each other feel bad. There's someone out there who knows you extremely well and loves you anyway. Despite what you've done, despite who you are, you're cool to God because he made you.

"You make everything glorious, and I am yours. What does that make me?" -David Crowder

So for all of you who feel uncool, who feel ugly, who feel like outcasts or misfits, know that God is the King, and as His child, that makes you Princes and Princesses- those who will inherit the kingdom. You are treasured and cherished and loved.

I was watching Veggietales the other day with Brooklyn and realized this exact message through a Dr. Seuss-like version of Cinderella called "Snoodlerella". She thinks she's ugly with glasses, braces, wild hair, etc. She gets a makeover so she can go to the ball, but realizes that she can't see her own beauty. The King dances with her and says,

"I think you're beautiful. I treasure you deeply. You are lovely my child. I think you are beautiful. You hair and your braces. Your glasses and clothes and cumbersome graces. And many more traits that I could speak of. There's nothing about you I don't truly love. You're kind and you're honest. You're funny and smart. You're really quite charming. You have a good heart. Of course it is true, every word that I say. Daughter, I am the King and I made you that way. I delight in your beauty. You're wonderfully made. I knew you before this Earth's foundation was laid. You're precious to me, every hair on your head. Daughter, hear and believe what I have said."

Makes me feel good. And beautiful. And cool.

Snoodlerella, daughter of the King :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm N Luv (Wit a Sporcle)

To the tune of "I'm N Luv (Wit a Stripper)" by T-Pain.

Good grief, lil website
You know you suck me in
You know what I'm sayin'?

Matter fact, after a day
of Blue's Clues, chasing and toys
Me and my husband sit down together
You know what I'm sayin'?

I ain't worryin' 'bout him really though
I'm just lookin' at you
Ooh site, you know
You got that big tight site, good grief

On the home page gives the label
Of "mentally stimulating diversions"
(Games, for sho)
Variety of titles
(Trivia and mo)

Yeah, you know what you doin'

(Yeah, yeah, yeah)
Makin' me lose sleep
(Zzz, zzz, zzz)
Cuz I'm Sporclin' again and my high scores
I'm gonna tweet

(Cuz I'm n luv wit a Sporcle)
The timer- it's goin', it's goin'
 I'm typin' so fast and
(I'm n luv wit a Sporcle)
Beads of sweat are showin', they showin'
I'm not goin' nowhere, dude, I'm playin'


(I'm n luv wit a Sporcle)
The timer- it's goin', it's goin'
 I'm typin' so fast and
(I'm n luv wit a Sporcle)
Beads of sweat are showin', they showin'
I'm not goin' nowhere, dude, I'm playin'
(Mike, Ali, Derek, Bob)
(I'm n luv wit ur Sporcle)

The site of my dreams,
Gift to the bored,
Teachers they use it too
So check this out for all its worth:

 I love Music and Movies
Cuz' they make me feel cool
But history, geography
Are games you can play in school

But I can't even lie
Science make me cry
That periodic table got me
Flippin' petrified

Sports can make me sick
Who cares about Mike Vick?
Still, can't lie, I must admit

(I'm n luv wit a Sporcle)
The timer- it's goin', it's goin'
 I'm typin' so fast and
(I'm n luv wit a Sporcle)
Beads of sweat are showin', they showin'
I'm not goin' nowhere, dude, I'm playin'

(I'm n luv wit a Sporcle)
The timer- it's goin', it's goin'
 I'm typin' so fast and
(I'm n luv wit a Sporcle)
Beads of sweat are showin', they showin'
I'm not goin' nowhere, dude, I'm playin'

It's just some games. It doesn't pay the rent.
What! I just got fourty percent? You're killin' me...
(Play again)
Don't show me missed answers
(I gotta win)

Yeah, you got my attention
(Yeah, Yeah, Yeah)
Did I forget to mention
(Yeah, Yeah, Yeah)
That I need to play that new safecracker
And brag that I got game

(I'm n luv wit a Sporcle)
The timer- it's goin', it's goin'
 I'm typin' so fast and
(I'm n luv wit a Sporcle)
Beads of sweat are showin', they showin'
I'm not goin' nowhere, dude, I'm playin'
 
(I'm n luv wit a Sporcle)
The timer- it's goin', it's goin'
 I'm typin' so fast and
(I'm n luv wit a Sporcle)
Beads of sweat are showin', they showin'
I'm not goin' nowhere, dude, I'm playin'

Check out archives or the new stuff
--I just got distracted and
Sucked on Role-A-Rama
(I need my bed)
You don't know what you are doing
(To my head)

You know it's the place to be
(Yeah, Yeah, Yeah)
Mentally stimulating
(Yeah, Yeah, Yeah)
I'm gonna go play now that I'm done with this blog thang

(I'm n luv wit a Sporcle)
The timer- it's goin', it's goin'
 I'm typin' so fast and
(I'm n luv wit a Sporcle)
Beads of sweat are showin', they showin'
I'm not goin' nowhere, dude, I'm playin'

(I'm n luv wit a Sporcle)
The timer- it's goin', it's goin'
 I'm typin' so fast and
(I'm n luv wit a Sporcle)
Beads of sweat are showin', they showin'
I'm not goin' nowhere, dude, I'm playin'

*******************

Thanks to T-Pain, for being in love with a stripper to begin with.

Thanks to Sporcle, for creating such amazing time-wasting, challenging, amazingly entertaining trivia games.

Thanks to my husband for introducing me to Sporcle over a year ago. My life hasn't been the same since.

And last but certainly not least, thanks to all of my followers and occasional readers who took the time to have a sing-along tonight. Now go SPORCLE for yourself to see why I'm so in love!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Grandparents

So I'm sitting in College Station hanging out with Brandon's grandmother for the week. Or at least a couple of days. Long story, but basically, his grandad is in the hospital and his grandmother needs someone there with her. You give from what you have, right? Well, I have time, so here I am. The perks of being a stay-at-home-mom: I do what I want. Plus Brandon is busy this week with a tennis tournament and getting licensed or certified or whatever he needs to be a bus driver, so I wasn't going to see much of him anyway. Brooklyn being here is natural medicine for the grandparents (her great grandparents), and it's fun for me to see my daughter being loved on by so many people. I got a lot of that this Labor Day weekend with another set of her great grandparents (Mama and Papa) and all four of her grandparents (Mimi and Pops, Nana and Bebop).

All of this got me thinking: "parent" is a normal word, meaning a close relative of ambiguous gender and the root of all relations that extend beyond ones parent. Brooklyn has two parents. "Grandparent", broken down, is a "parent", or close relation of ambiguous gender, that is also fantastic. Brooklyn has four grandparents. "Great Grandparent", broken down, is a "parent", or close relation of ambiguous gender, that is also fantastic and amazing. Brooklyn has eight great grandparents. That's a lot of studly folks in one family.

I never realized before that we naturally respect our elders by calling them "grand" or both "great" AND "grand" when we call their names. So I've come to these conclusions:

1. We as parents are teaching our daughter disrespect by allowing her to refer to her grandparents not as "Grandmother" and "Grandfather", but rather by calling them four letter words such as "Mimi" and "Nana".

2. We as a society are unoriginal and lacking in wit. Why does everyone's distant relative need the same name? As long as the respect is factored in, why not use synonyms for "great" and "grand". Ex: "My great grandmother" could be easily and with much fun be changed into "My Super Awesomemother" and hold the same meaning.

In conclusion, Brooklyn will now only refer to her grandparents using any combination of the following complimentary terms:
Great
Grand
Awesome
Super
Fantastic
Marvelous
Magnificent
Glorious
Wonderful
Genius
Tremendous
Terrific
By Jove!
Out-of-this-world!
Wicked (but having to be said in a California surfer accent to make sure the respect gets across. Don't want to think any relative is being called a witch!)
Swell
Nifty
Spiffy
Tubular
Rad
Rockin'
Killa (not killer. That would be rude.)
Sweet (again, surfer accent is a necessity in order to relay intent)
Masterful
Scrumtralescent.


Food for thought. Chew on it. And make sure you hug your favorite Scrumtralescent Radparent tonight.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Peter Pan

Peter Pan has always been and will always be a hero of mine. It seems like no matter what I'm going through, it's still the story of my life. I can always relate to it, and can always watch it, whether it's the 1953 Disney cartoon, the 2003 remake, the Mary Martin's NBC film, Cathy Rigby on Broadway or homages like the biopic "Finding Neverland".

I've been writing, talking and thinking about my life a lot lately. It's changed dramatically in recent years. Brooklyn grabbed a frame yesterday that holds the earliest picture of Brandon and me together- taken 8 years ago, 2 years before we ever started dating.

Man. If someone had walked up to us that day at camp and said, "Hey- did you know in 7 years you two will have a baby together?" I would have laughed, and been terrified.

Since that first picture, I got kicked out of a high school class for something I didn't do, spent every day 4th period in in-school-suspension, got a secret cat (see previous post "On the Love of Cats" for that one) I moved out of my house, had a very damaging relationship with a guy who, in all honesty, is actually a very good person, got four more piercings and a tattoo, broke up with the guy, went to college, got involved in church again, got engaged, got married, graduated, moved to Houston, became a teacher, got pregnant, graduated again, had a baby, and that baby is turning 1 year old one month from tomorrow.

Intense, right? People who know me have said things like, "Wow Tracey, you've really grown up".

X.

No. Not grown up. I am willing to admit that I am an adult, but never call me a grown up.

The difference? Adults have responsibilities, take care of business, and conduct themselves in a worthy manner. Adults are just older people- not kids or teenagers anymore. Adults do what needs to be done. Adults work for what they need. They know it's not all play.

Grown ups do all of that, but none of it's play. Think about it: when younger siblings get on their brothers' or sisters' nerves, the older one shouts, "Grow up already!" When Jenny asked Forrest what he wanted to be when he grew up, he answered, "Aren't I going to be me?" Annette Bening's character, Carolyn, from "American Beauty" is what I think of when I hear the words 'grown-up'. She yells, she keeps a spotless house, she acts perfect though her life is far from it, all of this prompting her husband to ask, "When did you become so joyless?"

I understand why so many adults are immature, earning remarks from others like, "Why don't they act their age?" It's because when we 'act our age' it implies that we lose our joy, our happiness, our love for life and for everything around us.

I want to be a good wife and good mommy. There's a lot to that. It's the reason why the "Interests" on my profile page says, "Maintaining a balance between doing what needs to be done and what matters". What needs to be done? Dishes, laundry, vacuuming, feeding the baby, washing bottles, making the bed, showering. What matters? Playtime. Loving my life, not just checking off a list everyday. There's a reason why loving and living are only one letter apart. They are almost the same, and "I" make the difference. Yes, we all need to learn how to take care of ourselves and keep up with our responsibilities. We can't just go with the flow and hope that life turns out right, we have to work at it. But in the end, my hero is still Peter Pan, who gleefully sings, "I won't grow up. I don't want to wear a tie or a serious expression in the middle of July. And if it means I must prepare to shoulder burdens with a worried air, I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up. Not me!"

This is my tattoo. Second star to the right, and straight on til morning. That's how you get to Neverland, where you never have to grow up. You notice, there are adults in Neverland. The Indian Chief, the pirates... you could even argue that the mermaids are adults. But they play. That's the difference.

No one tell me I'm a grown up, because it's not true. No matter how many "grown up" things I do, it only means I'm a responsible adult. For every responsible act I take, an accent and a goofy face is around the corner. For every item checked off my daily checklist, it's a dance in the living room. For every piece of work, there's a piece of fun. And that's what "grown ups" just don't get.

If Peter Pan were a real person, I'd like to think he'd really like me. I think he would want me to stay in Neverland and be a mother to the lost boys. Someone who was an adult figure, the voice of reason, who also wanted to join in on the fun adventures.

Some people think tattoos are wrong. Some think they're just stupid because they think you're going to regret them later in life. Not me. Every time I look at mine, I see a reminder to always take time to play, and never take myself too seriously. Because after all, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it". -Ferris Bueller, modern day Peter Pan.