My Homophobic Guys

I get home one recent afternoon, and Biggy and JackMan are both sitting on the end of my bed, glued to the TV, watching The Hills, ragging on the guys in this particular episode:

Biggy: What's up with those sunglasses?

JackMan: No kidding. Those are so gay.

Biggy: You think they know how gay they look?

JackMan: God, they're gay.

Did I mention this was The Hills they were watching?

And have I also mentioned how sick I am of hearing Biggy go around singing his current favorite song, Fergie's Big Girls Don't Cry. He does it in a horrible falsetto and brags about how the song is perfectly in his range. In the car, he makes everyone shut up whenever it comes on--especially when she gets to the "I'm gonna miss you like a child misses her blanket" part, which apparently touches his tender soul.

Both of these things are way worse than his asking for Wet-Naps.


How could I have mistaken The Hills for Newport Harbour?

Saturday Things You Might Not Know

Good news for men.



One part of my real job is managing the Portfolio Center website. I am responsible for most of the content, and I also have to approve the alumni page sign-ups and moderate all blog comments, screening for SPAM. We receive about 400 spams per day, with the 3 or 4 legit responses scattered among them. Those 3 or 4 matter to me (You know how I am about comments), so I'm pretty careful in my sifting, which means I'm exposed to links to porn of every type, color, and species. There's not much that surprises me anymore. From 'chubby-Asian-teen-jumping-nude-on-a-trampoline-with-a-donkey' to 'toothless-old-woman-getting-peed-on-in-the-shower-while-she-blows-the-soap', I've pretty much surmised the vast range of twisted things that turn people on. Recently, though, after deleting all the Hugh Hefner VII's from the grad entries, I found this in the comments. First time I've seen this tactic used to try to fool me.

Friday Nostalgia

The original Bionic Woman, 1976-77. Do click the link to read the Wikipedia overview. Funny stuff. And thanks for reminding me about the fembots, Collin.

The best part of this clip is the decor.


It's Sad That I'm So Happy

My Thursday night TV binge begins at 8 pm:


Rushing the Season

Lola: I already know what I want for Christmas--boots with spurts, a whipper, a lasso, and a real cowboy hat.




Biggy called me when I was in the car on my way home from work today. He and Lo had just gotten to the fair for the second time this week. Here's what he had to say:

Biggy: I wanted to let you know I've secured my position as the Best Dad Ever. Permanently.

TR: Really. What--you won one of those giant stuffed animals, and now you're gonna have to walk around with it the entire time?

Biggy: I'm not going to tell you. Wait and see.

TR: Yeah. Y'all have fun with that.

Good Old Days

I was jogging my usual route through the ‘hood this morning when a big black lab/retriever mix ran up and got in step with me. It happens pretty often that lost or stray dogs join me on my runs, and—as much as I love dogs--it’s always a drag because people driving by think the leashless dogs belong to me and I get a lot of finger-wagging and head-shaking my way. Not to mention, I have to worry about the dogs getting hit by said wagger-shakers.

At first I thought this was Midnight, who lives around the circle but, checking the tags, I discovered it was Jack, who lives clear on the other side of the subdivision and is owned by a fellow jogger who was once a victim of Stella’s ankle biting. I felt I owed it to him, then, to get his dog back safely—and to let him know that I know that he is also guilty of letting his dog run free to menace the general community.

When he answered my knock at the door, he looked relieved to see his pet and began thanking me profusely. He said he’d let Jack out of the fence for a minute—and, well, before he knew it, the dog was gone. He didn’t understand it. And then he said the words that completed the catalog of “Old Times” comments I’ve been collecting for years. Now, I’ve officially heard everything.

Neighbor (in all seriousness): I don’t get it. When I was a kid, dogs would just run around in the yard—or maybe down to the end of the street. But dogs these days, they just take off and don’t come back.


Saturday Things You Might Not Know

Third nipple (medical condition): The presence of a third nipple. This extra nipple can occur in the groin area, under the armpit or near the existing nipples. As many as 10% of people in the US are estimated to have an extra nipple though it is often unnoticed or mistaken as a freckle or mole.


Friday Nostalgia

I love this scene from The Jerk. It's pretty much like every argument I've ever had.


Thursday Rant

Last night, at the Braves game with Biggy and Lo, I was introduced to one of Biggy’s business associates for the first time. Biggy had asked me to tell the man about PC, because his son is interested in motion graphics. I was excited to talk to him about the school and anxious to respond to his stated opinion that there’s not much future in designing or developing video games, etc. Because the prospect of helping floundering young artistic souls find their niche always excites me, I was getting all geared up to discuss Dave Werner and Minor Studios, as well as our revamped Media Architecture program.

But I never got the chance. The man was one of those conversation exit ramps. No matter what the destination, you always end up getting off at the ex-wife. Every time. We have a neighbor like that. You can’t even comment on the weather without his sidetracking the topic:

TR: It’s so pretty out; isn’t this the greatest time of year?

L: I can’t really enjoy it. S is bleeding me dry.

TR: Well, your yard sure looks great. And you’re building a new treehouse in the back, I see.

L: Yeah, hunh. Since I had to leave the first one I built at HER house, this one’s gonna be three stories--with a zip line. Let’s see who J wants to stay with then!

TR: No doubt, he’ll love the new one.

L: All he does at his Mom’s is watch cartoons while she works in her home office—you know, the one I ADDED and FURNISHED for her while we were married.

TR: He’s probably tired when he gets home from school. It’s a long day for a five-year-old.

L: I don’t care if it is just kindergarten, he should get straight off the bus and do homework. If he doesn’t have any homework, he should be reading for at least half an hour. After that, he should ride his bike. His MOTHER, though…

TR: I’m sure the divorce has been hard on her.

L: She’s the one who wanted the divorce. Not me.

It always ends with that line, in spite of the fact that he cheated on her, something he freely admits. I don’t get it: He slept with another woman, claims his ex is an unfit mother and human, and yet he did NOT want a divorce—would STILL be married to her if he had his way. So he trashes her every opportunity he gets.

Last night, it was the same. Before I could tell the Ass (short for associate) anything about Portfolio Center, he launched into a diatribe about his ex—about how she never disciplines their sons properly, how she never follows through on her punishments, how her idea of restriction is to take the kid's Halo away while he eats his Happy Meal.

We used to have a teacher here at school who saw his kids once or twice a year. They lived in LA with their mom, and he’d moved to Atlanta to live with his sweet young thang. Every summer, during their visits, he’d brag about how he never let them watch tv at his house, how they’d sit around on the porch in the evenings and he’d tell stories. He also made them get up early every morning to eat breakfast together. If they didn’t feel like eating at 6 a.m., they had to sit at the table anyway, while he read aloud from the front page of the newspaper. Those kids needed to be informed!

The children were none too pleased with this arrangement, he said, but he was a big enough man to endure their pouting. He wasn’t like their mother who, according to his accounts, probably let them eat fried chocolate and watch Cinemax. What a smug jack-off he was, with his shack-up hottie and his annual Daddy Duty.

Of course, I have my own experience with the subject, but I’ve sworn off personal accounts re my ex. All I’ll say is that I feel bad for the divorced women who went into their marriages with good faith and reproduced with men they believed would make good husbands and fathers. It’s hard when you find out your husband is a liar and a cheater, and divorce is a difficult thing to recover from. You spend half your energy trying to repair your self-esteem and dealing with the guilt that comes with failing to keep your kids’ family intact.

And whether the father moves to the other side of the neighborhood, across the state, or cross-country, it’s more often than not the mother who bears the brunt of the day-to-day, who scrapes the oatmeal off the kitchen table, changes the wet sheets, and breaks up the fights over the remote—yes, the remote to the tv we let them watch.

And it's the mom the children take it out on--the divorce. Because they know she won't leave them, won't turn her back on them, won't punish them for their feelings.

So give us a break.


A History of Failure

As happens twice every year, when Lo's school picture days come around, Biggy and I had a knock-down-drag-out, resulting from his unfulfilled fantasy of having a wife who can vacuum and french braid at the same time. As often as I've tried to explain to him that I am no more qualified to make a ponytail than he is (and even less inclined to care about it), he still holds on to the illusion that one day I'm going to swirl around his daughter in a little cyclone of ribbons and styling gel, and she will emerge from the cloud looking like Cindy Brady at Easter.

This morning, I even washed and blew her hair dry, but that wasn't good enough. He launched into a spastic sign language rant, gesturing behind Lola's back what I translated to be 'big hair' and 'sticking out' and 'What kind of mother are you?'

When he returned from the bus stop, he was vocal:

Biggy: Avery's hair was fixed with a bow, really cute and neat.

TR: Would you like for me to be a stay-home mom like Avery's mother? I could read Good Housekeeping articles that teach me how to make barrettes out of macaroni. Then I could make bread in my bread machine.

Biggy: Are you saying that because you have a job you don't have time to fix Lo's hair?

TR: No, I'm asking if you'd rather be married to a woman whose top priority is her daughter's pincurls. I don't care about hair, Greg. Look at my own! And school pictures?! The whole POINT of school pictures is to look at them in twenty years and laugh your ass off. No matter how neatly coiffed those mullets were in 1981, we're still laughing...

Here, for the record, are all the school pics up to this point, starting with preschool, right after she cut off all her hair with Playskool scissors, and then continuing two a year from pre-k thru first grade (I get extra points, by the way, for the fact that she wore the same shirt for both pics last year):


Have I Mentioned?

I hate sharing toothpaste with Biggy and Lo.


At the AJC, Anything Goes

Click to enlarge. Make sure to read the entire thing.

Can't wait to catch Beth Warren's next piece of journalistic excellence.

The Grass is Always Greener

Lo and K at Mamoo's


It's Always The Wife's Fault

Last night, Biggy and I went out for Italian with friends, a couple, (quite unusual, as we don't have many friends, much less in couples), and had a lovely, child-free evening, with real conversation that didn't revolve around band practice, who's getting Lo what days after school, or the Florida football game. Pretty much my idea of Heaven.

We got home around 9:30, and I let the dogs out. By the time I got upstairs, my husband was in bed. I don't mean on the bed; I mean in bed technically, in nothing but boxers, his clothes scattered on the floor. I plopped down beside him. ON the bed:

Biggy: You wanna go out?

TR: Nah, not really.

Biggy: You're a stick in the mud.

Saturday Things You Might Not Know

Look closely. Rob's in this Go-Go's music video too.


Friday Nostalgia

Honey, it's not the 50's anymore. When Mommy catches Daddy wearing the neighbor's panties, she doesn't have to suck it up and bake him a pound cake.

Ah those infamous After School Specials!

I found this description online:

After School Specials: 1974-76 DVD Review

By Jonathan Boudreaux

From the early 1970s through the 1990s, the ABC After School Special helped kids to come to terms with difficult topics like death, sex, drugs, and peer pressure. A decade earlier, these subjects would have been deemed inappropriate for young audiences, but the social and cultural upheaval of the late 1960s gave birth to a new openness, allowing ABC to broadcast stories dealing with themes that most parents even today would have difficulty broaching with their children. Running several times a season in a late afternoon timeslot, the series allowed kids to continue their education after returning home from school and before they went back to watching reruns of Alice and The Jeffersons.



Poor Jack

Earlier this evening, around six o'clock, while I was cooking meatballs, Jack came into the kitchen and announced that he was going to bed to "catch up on his sleep." I asked if he was in it for the duration or just taking a nap--in other words, if he wanted me to wake him in half an hour to eat. He opted I should.

I finished cooking the noodles right before I needed to leave for a guitar lesson, so I ran upstairs, told Biggy and Lo to stop slapboxing and go fix their plates, knocked on Jack's door, and scooted off to Ken Stanton.

Returning from my lesson, I noticed only two of the three plates I'd set out had been used. Jack was still asleep. I had barely enough time to eat something myself before Jack came downstairs, got himself a bowl and pulled a box of Captain Crunch from out of the pantry. I asked him, "Would you rather have some spaghetti?" He ignored me, poured a bowl of cereal, and sat down in the sunroom. A couple of minutes later, he asked me to go ahead and warm up the spaghetti, and so I did. He ate both.

In the meantime, I went up to help Lo get ready for bed. He was trudging back up the stairs as I came out of her room:

Jack: Mom, is it morning or night?

TR: It's night-time, Jack.

Jack: Really?

TR: Really. What did you think it was?

Jack: Morning.

TR: Is that why you were eating the cereal?

Jack: Yeah.

TR: Well, if you thought it was morning, why the spaghetti too?

Jack: I looked at the clock wrong--saw a 6 instead of an 8. I thought I'd gotten up way too early and had lots of time before the bus. I also thought I'd missed dinner, so...

TR: You were gonna go ahead make that up?

Jack: Uh-huh.

Last Night, During Dinner

Lo: Jack, why don't you have a girlfriend?

Jack: (Silence...silence...silence) Why don't you have a boyfriend?!

Lo: Because I'm 7.

Happy Birthday, Mamoo!


Here's My Living Will

Yesterday morning, I was half-watching the Today Show while sifting through the Britney fallout online, when one of their usually lame human-interest stories caught my attention. It was a real tear-jerker about an Oklahoma City woman, Jill Finley, who survived after her husband had her disconnected from life support ELEVEN DAYS after she’d fallen into a coma. According to the Today Show story, on the morning of May 26, he’d tried to wake her up and found her unresponsive.

He called 911 and continued to work on his lifeless wife until paramedics arrived and shocked her heart back to life. They rushed her to the Oklahoma Heart Hospital, where the medical staff put her on a respirator and dressed her in a special suit that lowered her body temperature to attempt to minimize damage to her brain caused by lack of oxygen.

Jill ended up in a deep coma. Ryan, her husband stayed by her side, reading the Bible to her and lying in bed with her, but as the days passed—ALL ELEVEN OF THEM—her condition remained unchanged. The doctors told Ryan that only one to two percent of cases like hers recovered and resumed normal lives. So Ryan made the agonizing decision to pull the plug.

The thing is, once the lines were disconnected, she woke up and asked to go to Ted’s and to the Melting Pot, two of her favorite restaurants. And next thing you know, she and her husband were sitting in the Today Show studio, talking about how they’re cherishing every minute with each other. As I watched them, all I could think was, ELEVEN DAYS! ELEVEN DAYS! ELEVEN DAYS! I wouldn’t give up on expired yogurt that fast.

I wondered how she could sit there and smile so lovingly at a spouse who’d thrown in the towel after a week and a half. That wasn’t even time enough for her roots to start showing! He hadn’t even used up all his Family Leave.

Note to Biggy: if I’m ever in a coma, you had better wait at least until my legs need shaving. Because wherever I am in there, you can bet I’m trying my damndest to get back. I’ll be that one percent. No moving toward the light for me; I’m not done with you yet.

And you’d better keep my hair combed and my toenails clipped, and wipe the drool off my face. And read me Perez’s latest posts. And never-never-never let anyone take pictures of me the way they did Terry Schiavo. Oh, and don't wear a stupid hat.

Give me six months, Biggy. That’s all I ask.




Friday Nostalgia

So you think Justin Timberlake can dance? I give you Tom Jones, sometime in the 60's. Don't miss the mad moves that start around the one minute mark. Howard, can you do this?



A week ago today, Granny, who's 81, was hospitalized due to a rare complication of diverticulitis, a common disease of the elderly that fifty percent of us can look forward to when we hit sixty. The not-so-common part was bleeding out several pints, and I'm not talking about through her nose. You might think rectal bleeding is something a woman of a certain age wouldn't want broadcast to the world, but if you'd heard the gusto with which Granny described the discovery of her emergency, it would be clear to you that she won't mind this post.

Mom had called to apprise me of my grandmother's condition late Wednesday morning. My afternoon class had been rescheduled once already, so my plan was to go ahead and teach that and then leave work early to join Mom at the hospital. I figured if I left Atlanta at 3, I'd miss the rush hour. In the end, I could have unicycled to Paulding Medical Center faster than my car crawled incrementally through the West Cobb traffic. When I finally arrived around 7 pm, Granny was awake, eating ice with a spoon, blankets piled like my Saturday laundry, up to her neck.

She was so pale I could practically see through her. She'd been poked in every visible vein. She was suffering chest pains and having some difficulty breathing. None of these things seemed to bother her much, though. She was too upset that she hadn't eaten since dinner Tuesday night, and the doctor had said 'no food whatsoever' until the bleeding had stopped and all necessary tests had been run. When the workers changed shifts and the new night nurse came in, Granny decided to get her up to speed.

"I'm starving," she told the nurse, "If I'd known last night that I wouldn't be eating again for more than 24 hours, I'd have gone to the Chinese Buffet. I'd have had the Moo Shoo Pork AND the Moo Goo Gai Pan. And I'd have gone to Baskin Robbins afterward for a hot fudge sundae with extra nuts and full-fat whipped cream." She scraped an ice chip from the bottom of her cup.

The nurse was sweetly sympathetic. "Honey, I'm so sorry. Let me call the doctor and see if there's anything you can eat."

Granny cut her off: "Oh, we've already talked to the doctor. I know the answer. I can't have anything. I just want to complain about it."

About that time, Mom's friend Brenda stopped by to visit and reported that another friend, Rhonda, had gone by my mother's house to feed the FIVE dogs and let them out and that everything at home was currently under control.

So, to sum up that instant: Granny is in the hospital, bleeding into a pad the size of a couch cushion; I can read the Wellstar logo on the pillow case through her cheeks; she's waiting to go down to radiology, where they plan to remove yet more blood, add some kind of nuclear dye to it, and shoot it back into her system before scanning her GI tract; both her daughter and her granddaughter are hovering around her, trying their bests not to imagine worst-case scenarios...

and Granny wants to know if Rhonda hung out with the dogs for a while and talked to them.


Take Mine!

I hereby offer any or all of these kids to NBC'S new reality show, Baby Borrowers.


Here's a Taste

of our weekend camping in the Great Smoky Mountains:

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Writer, teacher, student, mom.

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