Sunday, January 31, 2010

Weekly Winners: January 24-30

I have been slacking in the Weekly Winners department, mostly because my camera points almost exclusively at cheerleaders these days.

Ah, the responsibility of been the "official" team photographer.

Anyway, excuses aside, these photos are not exactly WEEKLY winners. They are more like what I could dredge up for the entire month of January. Pathetic, eh? (My excuse is that most of my shots have other people's children in them ... and I don't have the right to put their faces on the internet without their knowledge. Scruples are a bitch, ya know?)

So my first photo is of two faces I DO have the right to post (but haven't for a long, long time).

The rat dogs resurface:

Please don't tell me how cute they are.
I really dislike these ill-mannered dogs for a variety of REALLY good reasons!

When it rains, the trees look cool:

No faces, only tumbling bodies:

See? I really do have scruples.

Get that camera AWAY from me!!!

Oh, never mind. I secretly like it when you take my picture:

There will be more Weekly Winners from people who actually take photos WEEKLY at the lovely Lotus' house.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Things that make me totally *snort* ...

J-bear challenged me to Words With Friends. Anyone who has ever played WWF, Scrabble or Lexulous with me knows that I am cutthroat ... and I have an infinitely bigger vocabulary than the poor, unsuspecting J-bear. I pity the fool -- but more power to her for having the chutzpah to do it.

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

Girl Scout cookies are haunting me.

I was totally jonesing for Thin Mints and Tagalongs when a former co-worker messaged me and several others that he had discovered a case of cookies that we had ordered -- but not received.

From last year!!!

(Delivery was complicated by layoffs and office moves, but whatever.)

Anyway, the cookies have been IN A CLOSET for the past 12 months, but he did offer to deliver this treasure trove to any of us who desired.

Um, no thanks. Consider it a donation to your two daughters' Girl Scout troop.

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

My mother used the word "voluptuous" when looking at a picture of my daughter.

I threw up a little in my mouth.

And then I googled chastity belts.

Monday, January 25, 2010

It's just a little thing ... isn't it?

And so it begins.

The Roo-girl and I have had a morning routine for the 4 ½ years.

(Continued at Mid-Century Modern Moms)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Shaken but not stirred

Consider the umbrella.

A simple invention intended to keep the rain off your person.

They can be cutesy.

They can be expensive.
They can be golf'ish.
They can be transparent.
But one thing they definitely are -- when you are 15 and essentially impermeable -- is unacceptable.

(Kinda like the backpack, I guess. Sigh. I give up.)

Now, you might have heard that we're having a little rain.

And some thunder, lightning, hail, floods, crashing surf, mud slides ... yeah, we're kinda sliding into the sea here.

But do you think my daughter will:

a) wear a raincoat


b) carry an umbrella?

Answer to both is definitively not, and pardon my eyeroll and the fact that I have given up on trying to convince her.

There are some disadvantages to this, of course.

If you are in areas with snow and frigid temperatures, high schools are all-inclusive buildings, where you can get from class to class without having to brave the inclement weather.

High schools in this part of the country tend to be more like CAMPUSES. Separate buildings with exterior doors and lawns, walkways and open space in between.

Your first class could be in one corner of the school and your second class could be in classroom B ... AAAAALLLL the way across the other side of campus.

So when it's raining and you're 15 and you're the fashion queen, you have only one option:

To become like a spy stalking her prey.

Because each set of classrooms does have a slight overhang, and so you go ...

Building building building RUN!!

Building building building RUN!!!!!!!!

There are solutions to everything, I guess.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What a difference a day/month/year makes

When I emerged from the gene pool, there obviously were a couple missing.

I didn't get the cleaning gene.

Or the organization gene.

Or the overly observant gene.

What I DID get, though, is the procrastination gene, which is the only explanation for what is happening on my kitchen wall.

You see, every year, my parents give us all the same gift: a calendar bought through the local art museum gift shop.

I -- and my parents and each of my siblings -- have a lucite frame to hold the calendar, which is a series of posters -- one for each month.

The idea is that each month, you take out the old poster and -- voila -- there is the new one, with its new, fresh, previously unviewed seasonally appropriate image, to decorate the wall.

I have seen the calendars in my everyone else's homes. They are appropriately timely.

Here is ours:
Can you see it?

Yes, it IS from last May. Why do you ask?

And yes, that IS this year's calendar on the shelf.



Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It's a small world after all ... and other earworms we know and love

The internet is a funny thing.

Both funny-haha and funny-peculiar.

And when it comes to the blogosphere (ugh, I hate that word ... anyone have a better one?), there are aspects of haha and peculiar mushed together and multiplied exponentially.

I have said many times that the online community blows me away with the love and support that flows through cyberspace. I have friends here who I would walk through fire for and who, I think (hope), would do the same for me.

But even though these friends are close to me, that's not real life. These cyberfriends live scattered all over the country -- and even the world. Most of them I will never meet in person.

Real life, for me, is very different. My blog is a deep, dark secret that not even my BFF knows about. Sometimes I let people in on the secret. One of my friends at work knows. A former colleague from my very first newspaper job who I reconnected with on Facebook figured it out.

It's not that anything I say here is secret, though. Most of the stories I tell have been told to friends and family. It's just the blog platform itself that I keep to myself.

That being said ...

There was a moment on Sunday that rocked me out of orbit.

I was at a funeral for the husband of a chorus friend. The chorus had sung a special song at my friend's request. We then went to graveside to finish the ceremony.

After which Wonderhubby and I started to walk back to the car.

Suddenly, a voice cried out.


I looked around to see who was looking for me and recognized no one.

"Janet!! You're JANET!"

Uh, yeah.

"I read you!!!!"

You WHAT??????

Holy unmasking, Batman!

It turns out the woman is a employee of the mortuary (Hi! I'm sorry I wasn't nicer and didn't get your name) and suspected when the chorus sang ... and confirmed it when she recognized Wonderhubby from photos (I think -- really, I was so unnerved that I don't remember it exactly).

I'm sure she thinks I'm the rudest creature ever because the only thing I said to her (as I turned tail and RAN to the car) was "Please ... I keep my blog life and real life very very separate!!!"

With 20/20 hindsight, I would have stopped and talked to her -- to find out how she found my blog and to actually have firsthand real-life knowledge of someone who, out of the blue, actually reads this thing.

But I freaked out and ran instead, probably scaring away a reader and a perfectly lovely human being.

It's so weird because I put my innermost thoughts and amusing stories on the internet for the whole flippin' world to see and (hopefully) enjoy.

Yet when the whole flippin' world closes in and presents me -- face to face -- with blog-meets-real-life, I panic.

And seriously? Only I would get outed at cemetery at the funeral for a friend.

Plus, who can I talk to about it? No one at the funeral. Not my in-real-life friends. Not my BFF. No one in my family. Only my friends here in cyberspace ... and Wonderhubby.

And Wonderhubby is into torture. It's now his greatest pleasure to come up behind me and yell, "Janet! You're JANET!!!"

There's gotta be a way to get back at him.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Crying over spilled milk

My mother used to joke that a meal was not a meal unless one glass of milk had been knocked over.

I know all you mothers of toddlers and younger children can relate to this.

(Continued at Mid-Century Modern Moms)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Death by backpack

Behold the backpack.

It is a thing of great utility, and yet it can also be the black hole of death, where old tuna sandwiches and yogurt cups can go to die.

In elementary school, you sometimes can see the kids pulling a rolling backpack, undoubtedly because their mothers don't want them to carry the weight of a small elephant or killer whale on their backs, lest they grow up slightly bent.

That behavior totally stops dead after leaving the shelter of grade school for the horrors of middle school or junior high.

That rolling backpack becomes ...

*insert music of doom*


Do NOT be caught dead dragging around a backpack on a stick. You will find yourself dumped in a trash can, or pants'd, or some other charming thing that middle-schoolers (and older kids too) like to do to each other.

But if you're REALLY a fashionista, the idea of an actual backpack goes away as well.

It becomes a "tote bag."

So instead of equalizing the weight of textbooks and binders across your slouching, slumping, aching back, you shove it in a purse-like tote that you carry on one shoulder. Now, THAT'S great for your posture.

The Roo-girl has used a series of bags over the years, some bigger, some smaller, some that actually held her school stuff, some that didn't.

This year, her second year of high school, the bag is smaller than usual. And wouldn't you know, her schedule this year is a hotbed of extra books, workbooks and binders.

None of which actually fit in her "book bag."

So she carries them in her arms.

On cheer practice days, she also carts around a second bag with her practice clothes and cheer shoes.

Sometimes it takes her five minutes to collect her junk to be able to get out of my car in the school parking lot in the mornings. (Hey, it's hard to juggle all that stuff AND your Starbucks cup, ya know?)

I laugh at her and offer her a rolling backpack.

She sneers, knowing that social death is a fate worse than bad posture and disorganization.

But here's what cracks me the heck up.

I work at a big company now. The halls are filled with lawyers, scientists, marketers, doctors.

All of them dragging something that looks like this:

Social death?

Maybe. We ARE talking about some potential nerds here.

But successful?


Monday, January 11, 2010

January 11 -- a day that will live in infamy (or not)

This is a red-letter day on the Planet of Janet.

Today -- January 11 -- is the exact half-birthday of a certain Roo-girl.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Weekly Winners: January 3-6

I only have one thing to say about my sole Weekly Winner photo this week:

Has anyone seen my blonde daughter????????

This is something she has been dyeing (heh) to do for months. The blonde of her childhood is gone; the highlights are gone. And life goes on ... although she assures me that although the hair is darker, she still is A BLONDE. Ya know?

For more Weekly Winners from photographers who aren't mourning the loss of 15 years of blondeness, visit the lovely Lotus.

Friday, January 8, 2010

He's at the pineapple of his career

I love my husband.

I want to make that clear.

He is, like the old song says, the sun in the morning and the moon at night. My knight in shining armor. The one who, unbelievably, took on a woman with four children and didn't run away from the oversized emotional baggage.

Having offered that disclaimer, as well as the fact that I asked him first if I could write this and he had no problem with it, I can now move on to today's topic:

Malapropisms a la Wonderhubby.

This man makes me laugh on a regular basis because he slaughters the English language in ways that I didn't believe possible. Not on purpose ... he really believes what he says.

After all, it makes perfect sense that Jennifer Lopez would "lip sing" with a pre-recorded tape during part of the televised New Year's Eve concert.

And that she and her dancers would "fwail" around crazily.

On another subject, he thought something I had said was a "moog" point -- and we weren't discussing synthesizers.

But most of all, he recently was horrified when he read that Facebook might become a paid site.

"Oh no," said Wonderhubby, as he puzzled over why the social networking site would do that.

"That would be its death nail."

I blinked at him.

"The WHAT?"

"The death nail!"

I giggled helplessly.

"Um, you mean the DEATH KNELL?"

Yeah, I guess that was what he meant.

Gawd, that man is funny.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The glass is half full

I went back to work on Monday after having the holidays off.

Eh. So what.

So a lot.

This was a first for me.

Because if you want your newspaper on your doorstep on Christmas Day, we poor schlubs of the fourth estate had to work in order for it to get there.

But no more. I have been out of newspapers for almost a year, and I couldn't be happier.

Even better, my company actually SHUT DOWN for 10 days at the holidays. This meant that for the first time in -- I kid you not -- 28 years of parenting, I was at home during a school winter break.

I see a lot of Facebook statuses, tweets and plurks bemoaning the fact that the kids and/or husband were underfoot for the break and let the hair-tearing begin. It makes me laugh, really.

Because over my working/parenting career, I would have given my left arm to have the chance to spend my kids' vacation at home with them.

It's kinda sad, really, that the first time I had the chance to do it was when my youngest child was 15 -- and much more interested in hanging out with her friends than hanging out with her mom.

So I took the it's-all-about-me approach to my holiday. I went nowhere. I did nada. I accomplished nothing.

I watched a marathon of Maury Povich "who's my baby's daddy" episodes. (Now THAT'S television, people!)

I read a book or two. I played Facebook games. I got a mother-daughter pedicure with the Roo-girl. I saw a Christmas Day movie with my family.

I had coffee with my girlfriend. I sang Christmas carols at my parents' holiday party.

I watched in horror as my fantasy football team went down in flames. I had lunch with my husband. I rang in 2010 with appropriate fanfare and pastries from Z-man's restaurant.

I enjoyed.

Hmm. On second thought, I don't think I accomplished NOTHING after all.

Monday, January 4, 2010

In search of balance -- or at least the drugs to get me there

When I sat down to write this post, I looked at the empty page and snarled.

"I shouldn't write today," I said to Wonderhubby. "I'm really pissy and won't say anything nice."

(Continued at Mid-Century Modern Moms)

All Rights Reserved. Planet of Janet, 2010.