Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How Texting Can Make Your Kids Look Like Perverts

Last week my mother graciously came to our house to watch the kids while my husband and I went to southern Florida to chill out and get away from the grind.  Well, actually my husband had to work and I went along just to order room service because that’s my favorite thing to do in the world.

Why yes, I have been told that I need to get a life.  Huh.

My mom and kids are avid texters.  And by “avid” I mean that they text regularly.  I don’t because of problems I have with my thumbs not being good spellers and the fact that I feel like texting makes me look like a jerk, like I think I’m more important than you.  Which is kind of how I feel sometimes when I see people texting.

The following is a conversation I found on my daughter’s iPod, which has a texting app that allows texting but no phone capabilities, which is genius because hello? no child’s cell phone bill to pay.  I'm all about not spending money on my kids except that which is absolutely necessary.

Anyway,  I’m not sure what was going on but my son infiltrated the conversation and made it a little pervy.  I thought it was hilarious, evidently because I am now sharing it with you fine people :

My daughter: Hi Grammy

Grammy: Hi.  Come downstairs and clean up the mess on the table you made

[This was the first clue to me that my mother had nothing to do with this part of the conversation, because when my mom comes to take care of the kids, she leaves my house a disaster area.  Ha ha ha just kidding, Mom.  Please come and watch my kids again.]

My daughter: Hi.  What mess I love you

Grammy: Come downstairs and clean up the mess you made

My daughter: What mess

Grammy: In the basement 

Grammy [realizing what’s going on]: That was your brother not me

My daughter: I love you Grammy.  [series of emoticon hearts]

Grammy: I love u too

My daughter: Right I’m a hot dog.  Come eat me!!!!!!! I’m a hot dog.  I dance

Grammy: A dancing hot dog????

My daughter: I’m so yummy come and eat me!!!!  Just a hot dog

Grammy [now weary of the shenanigans, and likely figuring out exactly how many hours she has left with these two clowns and pouring herself another glass of wine]: Leave us alone.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Why I love Oscar Sunday more than Super Bowl Sunday. Other than the fact that I hate football.

Yesterday was Oscar Sunday.  Oscar Sunday is like Super Bowl Sunday around here, except we never have an Oscar party and we always have a Super Bowl party, because I am selfishly in charge of the Oscars at my house and I don’t want to miss a moment ensuring other people are having a good time.  We have a Super Bowl party because my husband likes to watch football in a crowd and he knows that I will ensure that everyone has a good time because I don’t watch the Super Bowl because it is a proven fact that watching football is the worst form of torture ever.

Sigh.  When will America come around?

Oscar Sunday is wonderful because I do nothing strenuous to prepare except clear the day of any and all activities.  Laundry, cooking, bathing: all these extraneous and annoying chores are done quickly and early on so as not to take away from all the schmoozing on the red carpet, unintelligible acceptance speeches, and fashion choices gone awry that the Oscars reliably bring me each year.  When the last task is complete, red sweatpants and I kick it comfortably on the couch starting at 5 o’clock, remote control and a box of wine nearby.

My family knows to either stay away, tiptoe around me, or just join in and let the ridiculous extravagance lull them into a stupefied state.

Except none of that happened this year.  This year, my husband was unavailable for offspring duty, and my daughter had a birthday party to go to on Oscar Sunday.   So, even though I might be on the Top Twelve Most Selfish Mothers Of All Time list according to how many mothers volunteer for the PTO in our local elementary schools, I DVR’d all the Oscar Sunday coverage I would miss, which after shopping for a gift, getting the kids ready to go, going to the birthday party, and then coming home and getting the kids ready for bed and What? Why do you have homework to do at 8:45 on a Sunday night? totaled to about 4 hours of prime red carpet coverage, and about an hour of the show itself.  

(I ended up taping about 7 hours of Oscars which I have yet to watch because I ended up starting at the red carpet coverage and I fell asleep, waking up to skip to the live show, where I saw Ang Lee win Best Director for my beloved Life of Pi, and Jennifer Lawrence fall going up on stage to receive her award, which is what I would totally do if I won an Oscar except my dress would probably also find a way to flip up over my head.)

Not once in my adult life can I remember missing the Oscars.  Magically, Oscar Sunday has historically not been a day crammed with activities, and I haven’t ever had to drop something major to watch the event on TV.  In contrast, I think a lot of serious soul-searching would take place before any of us would plan something other than Super Bowl-related activities on Super Bowl Sunday.

That includes me, and you know how I feel about football.

But this year we had something to do on Oscar Sunday, and we did it.  I was not about to allow a silly awards show consisting of a bunch of strangers voting each other as most popular, the winners taking the spotlight to tell us how amazing their lives and jobs and coworkers are, to interfere with my daughter celebrating her friend’s birthday.  The Oscars, like the Super Bowl, have nothing to do with me.  But my life has everything to do with me, and unlike the Super Bowl for so many, I can drop it to do life.

Oscar Sunday is major, and it is fun, but it is not real life.  That is why I love Oscar Sunday: because it knows where it stands. 

That, and because I can digitally save 7 hours of Oscar coverage to watch later.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Seven Celebrities I’d Like to Be Mine

Valentine’s Day is almost here, and with it comes pronouncements of love, chocolate and wine, candlelight, and amazing sexual pressure coming from any of a myriad of sources: pop culture, retailers, your significant other, your own frantic libido.

For me, Valentine’s Day is a quiet day spent shuttling my children off to school, maybe a baggie of Valentines tucked into their backpacks that we spent the previous evening shopping for and signing for their classmates.  It’s kind of a nice holiday if it gets an appropriate celebration, which is to say if I get a nice card and a little extra affection from my husband when he comes home from work, that’s just fine with me.  Oh, and wine.  There should be wine.

I always get my husband a Valentine that expresses a sentiment that matches whatever I am feeling at the time.  One particularly playful year I got him a corny card with a picture of a playing card that read “You’re the King of My Heart.”  Another year I got him an Elvis card.  Sometimes they are serious, if I can find one that expresses something that I would say to him.  Not anything like “I could spend eternity staring into the limpid pools of your eyes.  The world could fall away and I would willingly die in your able arms of masculinity.”

Seriously.  I'm not that romantic.  First of all, I’d have to define ‘limpid’ and describe what is meant by ‘able arms of masculinity.’  It totally wouldn’t be worth it.  My husband is a smart guy, but these expressions would stump him and the moment would be lost.

Anyway, Valentine’s Day is fun to tell your loved ones how much you love them, but what if your loved one was a celebrity?  Here are seven ways I’d tell my favorite celebrities how much I love thee.  Or thou.  Whatever.  Here we go.

Christian Bale:  Oh Christian, your brooding, dark and slightly menacing ways intrigue me.  Come to my house where we can talk about our future together and I can lose myself in your crinkly smile.  I promise not to ask you to speak to me in your Batman voice.  In fact, please don’t.

Colin Firth:  Colin, your vulnerability and humor set you apart from the rest.  Even though every time I think of you I think of that guy from Downton Abbey, you will always be my first English celebrity crush.

Adam Levine:  Adam.  Just seeing you makes my heart skip a beat.  Whatever you’re doing to appear hotter each time I look at you, please don’t stop.  Forgive me for the time when I made fun of Moves Like Jagger because Mick Jagger is as sexy as a lizard and his moves are surely terrible.

Zac Efron and Taylor Lautner:  Dear Zac and Taylor, thank you for being over 18.  It makes me feel better for thinking about how pretty you are, especially since I still think of you as Troy and Shark-Boy.

Andrew Garfield:  Oh Andrew, your nerdiness and self-effacing ways charm me to no end.  I will never forget how you handily made a movie about spiders and superheroes something that I would willingly watch with my children, and the mumbling that you did so effortlessly so we had to watch the one kissing scene over and over until we could understand what you were saying.

Jason Bateman:  Jason, we go way back.  I’ll never forget how you kept showing up in random TV shows of my childhood, and how you came back to me as an adult with my favorite kind of humor and wise-cracking sensibilities.  You have aged well, and I hope that the fact that I haven’t doesn’t deter you from spending time with me.  Or us, as my husband loves you almost as much as I do.

Be My Valentine!  
Love, Andrea

This post was inspired by:

Mama Kat's Writing Workshop

Choice #4:  List 7 celebrities you’d like to give Valentines to

Friday, February 8, 2013

Pretty as a Picture

It’s no big secret that our online persona is so much prettier than our real-life one.  We snap pictures of ourselves, look at the ones that others take of us, find the ones that are the best representations of who we want millions of internet users all over the world to see, edit out the rough parts, and use them.  Over and over again.

 I’m no exception.  My first Facebook profile picture was a version of me all dolled up on Thanksgiving Day, a snapshot of me looking sweet and fresh and impossibly young:

It was the perfect picture to present to all my long-lost high school buddies who I hadn’t talked to or seen in years.  Doesn’t she look great, they will say.  Wow.  She hasn’t aged at all. 

The truth was that it was originally a picture of my daughter and me, whom I ruthlessly cropped out so as not to take away from my gorgeousness.  And it was a total fluke, since most pictures of me are not even half that flattering.

But I used it, and I welcomed the compliments.  Who needs to know how I look on a daily basis? Let’s give the people what they want.  They don’t need to know that I am often unwashed, dress in sweats and sneakers, sometimes have acne, and sport a ponytail every single day.

But really, what’s the harm?  Does our outward appearance really make a difference in how others view us or how much they want to be friends with us?  Sadly, many psychological studies say yes.  But that doesn’t stop me from showing you pictures of myself that would make the internet cut, and their, um, counterparts that wouldn't.  Until now.

Photo Pair #1 Pictures of me in France.  A couple of years ago my family and I spent a couple of weeks in Paris.  One of these pictures made it into my internet picture hall of fame, as it became the profile picture you see here on my blog, on Twitter, and elsewhere as it became recognizable to at least a dozen people as me, About 100%.  The other picture taken of me in France did not make it, mostly because I look lost and/or drugged, and clearly confused.

Photo Pair #2 Pictures of me in wine country.  My husband and I recently toured some wineries with friends in upstate New York.  We had a good time, as evidenced by photo #1.  This is the classiest I looked all weekend.  The rest of the time was spent fireside, at night.  It was cold, we were tipsy, and because I hate campfires and/or being outside, I mostly looked like picture #2.

Photo Pair #3: Pictures of me at New Years.  For New Years, I love to dress up.  I bought this short, sequined white party dress that was way too dressy for a house party.  I spent the evening feeling dazzling, until I started goofing around trying to photobomb everyone’s pictures.  I tried so hard to look beautiful that night.  Then I didn’t.

There are so many more.  Here’s one of me wearing not one, but two sock buns, a la Princess Leia: 
I was so giddy when taking that picture.  My kids were posing in the background like pirates, while I was taking ridiculous selfies.  Actually, that picture is probably the one most seen by internet strangers, since this is my most popular post from the blog.  That’s what I get for being vain.

How about this one where I was caught in my “take the damn picture already” face?  Not internet worthy, clearly:

And there’s this one: 

Quick!  Get this girl some makeup!  And some hair products!  And a teeth whitening!   

There are many more pictures that have been deleted for vanity reasons.  So many, in fact, that my husband had a hard time coming up with a good family picture for our Christmas card recently, because I had deleted all the ones of our family in which I looked like a hag.  We ended up taking a quick snap the night he ordered the pictures.  I didn’t have the time to edit it before he hit the order button. 

Sigh. Why am I not Beyonce is what I really want to know.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013


We sat in the car watching the snow fall onto the windshield and drift over the sidewalks.  We were early; the school bus wouldn’t be here for another ten minutes.   

We talked about friends.  How are your friends?  I asked, naming each one.  Good, he said.  There’s some drama.

I listened as my son told me stories of tween angst, which sounded familiar, like my own memories of teen angst.  Kids grow up so fast these days. 

Girlfriends and boyfriends fight and make up.  Messages get passed down the lane, and real meanings are lost.  Feelings, so fragile at eleven and twelve years old, are easily hurt, I think.

Nurture your friendships, I tell him.  He is in an open mood.  What I am saying is being heard.  I keep talking.

When I was young, I started, Oh, God, please don’t let this turn into one of those “When I Was Your Age” stories.  Let him hear it.  Let him learn it.  When I was young, I said, I had friends.  Really good ones.  We became friends in kindergarten.  We went through a lot together, and we were inseparable.

Then I switched schools.  I made new friends.  We all graduated, and some of us moved away.  Those early friendships were lost.  We have Facebook now, but we missed a lot of time together.  They continued to be close, and I wasn’t close anymore.

I had other close friendships in high school and college, but so many were lost. I did not nurture them.  I did not call or write or make arrangements to visit when I came home for breaks.  We let disagreements go without repairing them.  I miss those friendships too.

Don’t let disagreements and mean words kill your friendships, I said.  Don’t let too much time pass without talking to your buddies.  Let your friends know you’re thinking about them.  Smooth over differences.  Let your friends be themselves, and love them.  Take care of your friendships, because when you’re my age, you will want people in your life who share your history.  This is the only time in your life that you can begin a lifelong friendship. 

Jeez mom, he said, after I stopped talking.  You’re making me cry.

I wiped my eyes.  Me too.