Friday, May 24, 2013

Nothing To Say

Sometimes I don't have much to say.

This is one of those times.

But that's okay, because there are lots of ways to fill a blog post.

For instance, by mining the internet.  Everyone knows that the internet is great at filling the spaces between productive times with all manner of interesting subject matter.

Do any Google images search and get back to me.

Sometimes children provide material.  My daughter likes to play Would You Rather?  It's a game where you pose a choice between two impossible scenarios.  We've been playing Would You Rather? for years now.  We've been through stages of this game that range from the nonsensical (Would you rather be an alien or a toilet?) to the gross-out (Would you rather drink twelve jars of pee or eat twelve jars of snot?) to interesting and thought-provoking.  An example of our most recent game:

Her: Would you rather be a raccoon with a super-smart human genius brain or a nerd human with no brain at all?
Me: Uhhhh...
Her: You have to choose!
Me:  Uhhh...
Her:  MOM!  You're terrible at this game!
Me:  Uhhh...
Her: I'm going to watch some TV now.

And sometimes I give up, and just watch TV with my kids. 

Her:  Mom, would you rather be Patrick or Squidward?
Me:  Squidward.  Wait.  No, Patrick.
Her:  Yeah.  Me, too.
Me:  Because he's always happy.
Her:  Yeah.

Cartoons.  It's always cartoons.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Just Sizing Up the Competition

Remember the Publisher's Clearing House?  The big Ed McMahon sweepstakes?  You send in an entry form and six months later the prize patrol rolls up to your house and they give you a huge check and you win a million dollars and you scream and cry and are most certainly dressed to clean toilets and/or are nursing a forehead pimple that rivals the one you had for senior prom.

Who still enters that?

Besides me and my Grandma, of course.  One of us is going to win the million.  These days, they throw in five thousand dollars a week for life too.  My daughter says that if we win the prize that Daddy could quit his job.

To which I respond with a scoff.  Staying at home is MY gig.

So if you haven't entered this year, don't worry.  You wouldn't have won anyway.  To prepare, I'll be sitting in my chair with my lipstick on, waiting for the prize patrol to come with my check.

Me and Grandma.

Monday, May 20, 2013


When I was this age:

I thought forty looked like this:

When I was this age:

I thought forty looked like this:

When I was this age:

I thought forty looked like this:

When I was this age:

I thought forty looked like this:

Now that I'm forty, I look like this:

And this is how I feel about that:

Friday, May 17, 2013

You Are Not My Friend Redux

When I started writing this blog I had a hard time coming up with material to write about that wasn't embarrassing or too personal.  I knew that my mother, pastor, and quite possibly old boyfriends would be reading. I didn't want to give too much of myself away.

I got over that quickly, as it turns out that I don't really have too much to say that isn't personal or embarrassing.  My need to write edged out any shame I might have from my propensity to reveal TMI.

Plus, it's refreshing to air out your thoughts to people like strangers and nosy acquaintances who will never admit to you that they read your blog like they're reading your diary.  And I realized that not many people read it anyway.  Some people just aren't into blog reading.


Anyway, I amuse myself, and during one little flurry of self-entertainment made up this joke that I brought out a few times in mixed company.  It's awkward and no one but me liked it or got it, so I put it out on the blog to get it some love.

So far, it's gotten like seven hits.  From me, probably.

But I am approaching a pretty big milestone birthday this weekend, and this famous joke that I introduced three years ago is appropriately timed.

Evidently three years ago I was worried about this particular birthday, and now that it's here, I'm more intrigued that I am turning this age rather than dreading it.  I keep expecting to turn into one of those women who they feature in magazines with the headline Fabulous At Any Age!

A lot of time is spent in my own little fantasy world, I guess.

So here it is.  If you want to see it in all its glory, you can go back to the original post.  But why would you?  It's right here:

I went to the gym two days in a row this week, after taking the summer off to goof around at home all day. Now I am stiff and sore and I feel Old. And then this just happened:
At the door: Knock, knock.
Me: Who’s there? 
At the door: Forty. 

Funny, right?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

No Pets Allowed

There are no pets in this house.

Not because we are allergic, or because we are between pets, or because we live in a place where they don’t allow pets.

We don’t have pets because I don’t like keeping pets.

And because my job is managing this house and the lives of the people who live in this house, I choose for our family not to have pets.  The three animals I take care of are enough work, thank you very much.

Now, look.  I am not anti-animal.  Not really, anyway.  I don’t kick cats off of my front porch and I don’t set traps for rabbits.  We feed squirrels, if you want to know the truth.  But I’m not posting pictures of abused dogs and cats online and demanding justice and adoptive homes for them, and I’m not taking in strays I see wandering the neighborhood.

I will love your dog at your house, pet your cat and will even allow him to crawl into my lap.  There’s something about the warmth of a pet who settles next to you, totally trusting and not caring that you are anything other than a comfy cushion to perch upon.

But please know that I will not pet-sit for you.  At my house, anyway.

We’ve had pets.  We had a dog for eight years who we had to put down when she got sick.  It broke my heart into pieces to make and carry out that decision.  A piece of me still nurses that terrible experience, the decision to end her life.  That was seven years ago.

We’ve had fish since then.  Hermit crabs.  A kitten my father rescued and we raised for six months.

These relationships ended in death, with the exception of the cat.  All the goodbyes were hard in different ways.  The fish died ungracefully (floating sideways in a bowl with no warning, only to be scooped out and unceremoniously flushed), the hermit crabs died mysteriously (there were two, and what happened to the big one’s claw?), the cat was exiled (we received mildly threatening anonymous mail after he was spotted in several of our neighbors’ homes who employed doggie-doors), and the dog’s death was tragic, premature, unfair.

Our children still ask for a pet.  Any pet.  They promise to take care of it.  I reply that we can get a pet when daddy quits his job and I find one to support us.  They can all share the pet-keeping chores while I work sixty-plus hours a week.  They will be in charge of the house cleaning, vet appointments, kenneling when we go on vacation, walking, poop-scooping, bathing, feeding, and shampooing of carpets when the pet has an accident.  Their pleas for getting a pet eventually cease.

They rattle off the kinds of exotic and domesticated pets they will keep when they live on their own.  They have given them all names. I remind them that I won’t pet-sit.

They continue to be disappointed.  I frown at my husband when he joins my children’s pleas for a pet.  I am the bad guy, the ogre who disapproves of their frivolity, the one who keeps hostage the happiness that will only come from owning a pet.

I am strong, and we are still pet-free.

But the warmth and comfort of a dog, the deadpan silliness of a cat, the gleeful chirp of a bird, the delicate beauty of a fish as it glides through the water – I still enjoy it.

At your house.


This post inspired by:

Mama Kat's Writing Workshop

Prompt #1: Introduce a pet.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Best

Babies are the best.

I was shopping away in Target, buying up soda in multi-packs like a boss because they were on sale for like under five dollars, which is ridiculous but there it is.

I looked over and there was a young mama pushing her cart and holding a teeny baby over her shoulder.

The baby seemed to be looking at me.

What a beautiful baby, I said.

He was a beautiful baby.  He was little and pink, fuzzy on top, bright and shiny and trying to lift his head off of his mom's shoulder with all of his teeny tiny might.  He was dressed in only a onesie, that wonderful piece of baby clothing that every mom has hundreds of but somehow when your kids are babies you never have enough of them.

Thanks, she smiled.  He was hot, and was screaming in his seat so I just took him out of it.  And now, look, he's fine.

How old is he?  I asked.  Just three weeks, she replied.

I smiled back at her.  He's perfect, I said.

She thanked me and I walked on through the store.  I remembered when our kids were babies.  None of the sleeplessness or frustrating unknowns that fill most days as a new parent came to the surface.  Only the memories of the warmth and weight of a little sleeping body, the simple acts of feeding, bathing, dressing, and holding those babies were in my mind.  In an instant, tears started to form in my eyes.  My throat tightened up a little. Those were such sweet years.

Babies are the best.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

On Motherhood

Before having children I heard that mothering is the hardest job in the world.  I didn’t know what that meant, and I sure didn’t believe it.  My mother made it look so easy.  I needed to educate myself, so I read books and asked questions of every mother I knew.  It was an overwhelming project.  Every mother has advice, a thousand anecdotes to share.  I felt like I absorbed every piece of information out there.  I was prepared.  Then my children were born.

I was not prepared. Mothering really is the hardest job in the world.

Before becoming a mother I heard that having children was like having your heart live outside your body.  I didn’t understand.  Love had happened to me before and it didn’t feel like that.  Then my children were born.  I understood, but I felt as if I couldn’t provide for them sufficiently.  Every feeling they had was my own, a hundredfold.  I desired to anticipate their needs, prepare for those needs, and execute perfect solutions for those needs.  I tried my hardest, and failed every single day. 

My kids made unfathomable messes, resisted potty training, and watched a troubling amount of television.

I worried that I was the only one on the brink of disaster each day despite the consoling thought I hung onto since the day my children were born: I am one of billions of women who had done this job with varying degrees of success.  Despite the evidence that I was in good company, I doubted my skill set.  So I connected with other mothers and found myself in the fold of a group of warriors who bravely slogged through the mothering trenches with me.  We helped each other develop parenting skills, weed out unproductive endeavors, applauded achievements, and encouraged each other through failure. These mother-warriors became wonderful friends.

I continued to educate myself to assuage lingering doubts that I was capable of effective mothering.  I read that “Children will thrive despite best efforts or worst mistakes. Don’t strive for perfection, only adequacy.”

This advice suited me; I was never one for herculean efforts.  I adopted a strategy for baseline everyday mothering: survival.  If the kids were fed, clothed, and reasonably clean at the end of a day, it was a rousing success.

I learned some things: there is no limit to the messes that children create, but mothers must be persistent in teaching them to clean up.  In potty training, mothers should train themselves to put potty training first.  Children’s television programming is an exasperating blend of soothing repetition for children and insanity-inducing boredom for adults, and mothers should accept it. 

My kids thrived.

I’ve been a mother for twelve years now.  The job gets harder every day and I threaten to quit often.  I am still learning and am thankful for the untold mothers, strangers and friends alike, who have steered me through it.  I owe my mothering expertise to them.  Happy Mother’s Day, fellow warriors. 

So far, I haven't ruined them.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Release the Kraken

As a parent I often find myself in a group with other parents.  We share horror stories and endure each other’s bragfests, laugh and shake our heads at the new adventures our kids enter into each day.  Sometimes, a fellow parent who has kids older than ours listens to our tales, and sagely nods; they’ve seen it before, weathered the storms in the pulsating sea of kids’ emotions and exploits, and they say: “Just wait.”

Or “She’s going to give you trouble.” Or “It gets worse,” or “better,” depending on the snark level of the adviser.

Wait for what?  The walls to cave in at the next temper tantrum?  My kid’s head to spin at the next outburst?  Blood to rain from the heavens, animals to run for the hills, earth to quake and sky to part the next time one of my children tests a limit?  What am I waiting for?

In my mind I have seen the dark side taking hold of my children when I’m not looking, or even worse, when I am.  Will my kids turn out to be drug addicts?  Murderers?  Teen parents?  Strippers and prostitutes and pimps?  Gang bangers?  Rapists, arsonists, terrorists, or worse yet, politicians?

Whatever it is, I can guarantee that I am not ready.  I was never ready to have children in the first place.  I wasn’t ready to become pregnant either of the times I became pregnant.  I’m not ready for them to grow up, to experience the things I did, for them to lose one more shred of innocence. 

Each day, the sight of my twelve-year-old behemoth of a boy entering the room causes me to stop in my tracks.  He is so tall.  When did that happen? My daughter, a whisper before ten, resembles me so much that even I marvel at the similarity in photos.  The verbal assaults they unleash on each other and sometimes on me ring in my ears; I’ve heard those words before, about thirty years ago, and my blood goes cold.  I remember the bad things I’ve done, all the arguing with my parents, the punishments I received.  I was not a terrible child, and yet my growing up years were littered with tension.  This is going to happen here, too. 

These kids have caused me bouts of irrational fear, inordinate amounts of sleeplessness, too many heartbreaks to count, tears, anger, nights of drunkenness, confusion, frustration, sadness, exhaustion, and more than a few gray hairs. What else am I waiting for?

Parenting is hard, y’all.  I don’t need people telling me to just wait for more.  I know it’s coming.  I’m not ready, and I’m scared.  I’ve had twelve years of practice, and it is not enough. 


Bring it.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Comic Crushing

Ahhh, the crush.  Liking someone so much that you find yourself thinking about them frequently, imagining that you’re together, or that you’re best friends, or even only that the feelings are mutual.

It’s a step down from how I feel about Chocolate, Frappuccino, and Paris.

The city, not Hilton.

Anyway, crushes are fun if you largely live in a fantasy world like I do.  Years full of days speaking little to actual people will do that to a person.  Add to that society’s infuriating insistence to only converse electronically has narrowed my contact most days to a few typed messages and pictures shared on Facebook.

Aaaand that sounds really pathetic.

So I may as well keep going.

So, crushes, I’ve had a few.  Here I will focus on comedians, because comedy is the way to my heart.  I’m not sure how my husband got in there, since he is kind of a straight man.  But I digress.

My first comedic crush happened in college, and it happened to be David Letterman, what with his gap-toothed grin and combination of goofy and deadpan and the fact that he seemed to be confidently aware but not cocky about his gift of the funny.  My crush on David could also be the result of my roommate and I coming home from late nights out to munch on convenience store nachos to try and ward off the inevitable hangover.  Letterman, then in his late 40s, always topped off a good night.  He was hilarious, a comfort, and to me, so much better than other men in their late 40s.  Plus he was always sober and never hit on us once.

Then came Jennifer.  Jennifer Aniston, while not a comedian, was the star of my favorite show and I loved her.  I associate her with that first wonderful year of marriage when my husband and I would make dinner, fill up our plates, lay a blanket on the floor, and watch Friends repeats on TV while we ate.  Jennifer’s comic timing always made me laugh and I wanted her hair, her wardrobe, her smile.  Then she married Brad Pitt and I had dreams about how they were our best friends.  Yes, I said dreams.  That means more than one.  Today she looks exactly how she did back then, and though I regard her fondly as I remember that sweet time where I crushed on her, I wonder if she might not be human.

Recently I adored Tina Fey.  What other woman can write and star in her own Emmy-winning show, write a bestselling book, receive the Mark Twain award for Humor, and host the Oscars in just a few years?  The girl is on fire.  I watched her on SNL, then adored her on 30 Rock, inhaled her book, and laughed with her at the Oscars.  This is a case in which my crush became too much for me to handle, as I stopped watching 30 Rock after a while.  Too much, Tina, too much!

The list of comedians I have a crush on continues with pair of Jimmys Kimmel and Fallon, despite never having seen either one of their late-night shows.  I crush on them from afar, because sometimes a crush can be so intense that you just can’t get too close, and I ignore them even though they are funny to me.  Five minutes of these guys is really all I can take.  Same type of thing I have going with Adam Levine, except he is not funny at all which makes him husband material and thus more dangerous.

Lastly, Sarah Silverman.  She is a comedic crush who I have almost no knowledge of, except for the occasional video or sound bite.  I never watched her show but I think she is hilarious.  

Really, when you manage to be more adorable than Katie Couric, you’re at maximum crush-worthy potential.


This post inspired by:

Mama Kat's Writing Workshop
Prompt #5: Tell us what (or who) you’re crushing on.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Oh, You Want The Ball? Okay. Here You Go.

I got kids.

I got kids who play sports.

I got a husband.

I got a husband who plays sports.

I do not play sports.  Never have.

It’s no big deal when you are a kid, to not play sports.  When you are a kid there are usually other kids around who don’t play, so you gravitate towards each other and stand around together and you don’t play sports.

You read books or go swimming or watch TV or ride bikes or make up games where you are a mom who bosses all the other kids around and they make an arsenal of mud pies and gang up to throw them at you when you are in the play house pretending to make dinner for all your brats.

I called that game “The Future.”

But when you grow into an adult who didn’t play sports as a kid, it can be isolating.  Now don’t go all patronizing and coo in my ear, all, “Oh, who cares.  Sports are for kids.  So you didn’t throw a ball around when you were young.  Big deal.”  It IS a big deal.  Because I live in America, people, where sports are a BIG DAMN DEAL.  And if you didn’t play them, you are a weirdo.  What’s more, the biggest reason why I didn’t play sports as a kid was not because I am not athletic.  I am.  It’s because I am not competitive.  I don’t care about winning.  And when you don’t care about winning, no coach in America is going to want you on his or her team. 

If you’ve played sports all your life, you understand competition, and see the world in shades of first, second, and loser.  Everything is fair game for a battle, every meeting the opportunity for one-upmanship.

Now look.  I’m all in for being the best you can be, for doing well to get ahead, for presenting the best part of yourself to the public.  This makes sense to me.  It is logical that when one team gets more points than the other team, that team is the winner and the other team is the loser.  Every game is a competition.  I get it.  But I don’t care if I win.

Which makes it easy to play games against me.  I do my best, but I won’t go that extra step to be better than you.  Why?  Partly because I don’t care, but also partly because I know that you want it more than me.  It’s how it goes when my husband and I play games.  He’s never lost to me.  Not once.  Not in bowling, cards, video games, board games.  Even if I might be winning, when he sees the score, he ramps up his performance to get the edge.  He’s the guy on the road who speeds up when he sees you’re about to pass him.  And my reaction is always: If you want to beat me, go ahead.  I’ll slow down; you can pass.

This way of life has served me well; not much bothers me.  There is no competition in my everyday work; no one in my neighborhood is handing out trophies for who has the whitest bath towels.  The Mommy Wars roll right off my back.  I don’t care if you’re the most Pinteresting mother out there.  There’s YouTube to watch and chores to avoid.  Come over and I’ll make you my famous yogurt and black coffee breakfast.

However, I do wonder if my non-competitive nature is doing a disservice to my kids.  Both of my kids, because they spend more time with me than their dad, have the same kind of accommodating attitude, which can slide into nonambitiousness.  Which makes it frustrating when we try to push them to do better.  They don’t always see the value in working harder, in testing limits, in doing better to yield better results.  Sometimes I realize that this is a hallmark of kid behavior, but sometimes I’m afraid my ultra-cooperative nature has rubbed off on them negatively.

So what’s a gentle mom to do?  Yell “KILL! KILL!” at every basketball game, or whisper “Sweep the leg” Karate Kid-style when the other team’s pitcher runs off the field?  Should I call them the dumbest kid ever when they fail to get the best score on a test so they are prompted to do better the next time, or boast loudly to others in front of them for getting the best score so they are motivated to always beat their classmates?

Or should I continue to smile at my kids, telling them “Great work, keep it up” when they do well, and “Man, that stinks, at least you know where to improve” when they don’t?  Because quite frankly, this is what works for me.  Will it work for them?  I’m really not sure.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Couple Of Drink Recipes That Contain Bacardi 151, Because If You’re Going To Drink Rum, You Might As Well Go For It

So I skipped the gym today to write this super-wordy post about my favorite margarita recipe, only to remember at the last sentence that I had written about it almost exactly a year ago.  Darn.  Feel free to return there and get the recipe; it's a real crowd-pleaser.

Lucky for you I have another pair of drink recipes that are sure to knock your socks off. 

And if they don’t, have someone nearby who is handy at taking socks off, because you may need some assistance after drinking a few of these.  Proceed with caution, because each of them contain Bacardi 151, which as everybody knows means “Loss of Basic Functioning” in alcohol-speak.

Both are fruity and are great for summer afternoons by the pool.  Or mornings as a pick-me-up, if you’re so inclined.  I’ve adjusted measurements so they can be prepared for parties, because who fixes fancy drinks for one or two people?   Not this gal.  I like drinks that are made for many.

Here we go!

Drink #1:  Hurricanes

1 c. light rum
1 c. passion fruit juice
4 c. lemon-lime soda
½ c. lime juice
151-proof rum

Combine all ingredients except 151-proof rum in a pitcher.  Stir well, and pour into glasses over ice.  Float 151-proof rum (about 1 oz. per drink) on top.  Drink with a straw to get the full effect of the 151.  Sip if you like to feel the tingle of 151 on your lips.  I swear this is not a pornography site.

Drink #2:  Shark Attack

1 c. tequila
1 c. Triple Sec, or Cointreau if you’re fancy
1 c. 151-proof rum
2 c. orange juice
2 c. pineapple juice
Lemon slices, orange slices, pineapple chunks, maraschino cherries
Grenadine syrup

Combine all ingredients except grenadine in a pitcher.  Stir well.  When mixture has settled, add a few splashes of grenadine.  Make a big production out of it, because the grenadine will sink slowly into the drink and look like blood, which is a yummy thing for your guests to think about at a party.  Pour into glasses over ice.  Garnish with more fruit if you like.  Note:  If at the beach, refrain from calling out “Who would like a Shark Attack?”  Trust me.


This post inspired by: 

Mama Kat's Writing Workshop

Prompt #5:  Refreshments anyone? Prepare a drink for us and share the recipe!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Electr(on)ics Are Trying To Kill Me

It began when I was small and my hand accidentally touched the electrified fence that surrounded a nearby farm.  One touch sent a jolt through me that causes me to eye with suspicion any wire fencing that I come across today.

Then I was 18 and living with a family in France for three weeks as an exchange student.  I needed to dry my hair after a shower.

I studied the metal end of my hairdryer cord that would go into the metal part of the adapter that came from Triple-A back home.  I had never used such a thing but was confident that it would work just as it was taught the previous weeks in French class between verb conjugation tests and oral communication practice.  I turned the dial on my dryer to the lower voltage setting, which you could do back in the days sometime between dinosaurs and Duck Dynasty.

The two pieces of metal found each other in the small, humid bathroom and I plugged the adapter end into the wall.  A shock fizzled from the outlet into the dryer, into my hand and up my arm.  I dropped the hair dryer and fell to the floor.  My knees failed about the same time the current zapped me.  No electric fence had felt like that. Luckily, the hair dryer had come out of the socket so I didn’t have to handle it again.  I took some deep breaths, stood up, and stumbled out of the bathroom to get some fresh air.

My hair air-dried the rest of the trip.

It’s happened a few times since then.  My son got a trick pack of gum for a gift.  Upon accepting an offered piece, the gum gives a little shock to unwitting recipients.  It’s the rudest thing ever.

Electrics have tried to kill me in other ways, too.

Once I came home to an iron my husband had used earlier in the day and had set out to cool.  I KNOW – my husband irons J.  When we returned home, I grabbed it from the metal side to put away and burned the hell out of my hand.  He had failed to unplug it before we left and quickly unplugged it when he saw it so I wouldn’t yell at him about leaving an iron plugged in while we were out.  I KNOW.  My husband irons. L

Once our toaster oven caught on fire, just to be mean.

It’s almost enough to make a girl go off the grid forever.  Electrocution, burning, and electrical fires really aren’t my thing, but I like what electric has to offer.  However, the recent issues I’ve been having with electrics – specifically, personal electronics – are handily reorganizing the way I like to do life.

My first iPod was notoriously temperamental.  Sometimes it would store music, sometimes it wouldn’t.  Syncing, a necessary evil, was a guessing game.  I still use it on my nightstand as an alarm.  It mocks me.  I reset the volume every day.  It blasts full volume without warning.

My new phone stopped working.  One day, I could get email and play games and look at Facebook.  You know, I could do all the things with my phone that the cool kids do.

The next day, I no longer received email, and the Facebook posts were from ten days before.  And forget about the games.  My new phone couldn’t keep up with the updates.  I removed all the apps.

Then today I tried to get my email.  It worked.  After four weeks of no email, now I can get email.  It’s a sick game and I am only a pawn.

I opened my Kindle to read Les Miserables, which is the bane of my existence.  I have been reading this book for months, and it is my opinion that Victor Hugo could have used a good editor.  That man was wordier than a mommy blogger hopped up on caffeine trying to write about how electrics are trying to kill her.

The Kindle was dead.  To make matters worse, it resisted charging. Nothing I tried, no cord I pushed into it, no wall adapter I used worked.  I had just charged the thing two days ago, and used it little since.

I went online to see if this is a regular thing and got Amazon’s customer service page, which took too long.  I had dinner to make and children to run around the countryside for several hours.  I left the page up on my computer and vowed to come back to it later.

When I got back I feebly pushed the button on the Kindle in a desperate attempt to resurrect the device.

It turned on.  I blinked at it like it had just insulted my shoes.

It’s then that I realized that I think I’d rather be on the receiving end of an over-electrified beauty appliance a hundred times than continue to be subtly manipulated by modern electrics.  Give me an electric fence, a burning iron; I can’t take the mind games anymore.


This post was inspired by my daughter, who advised me to "Write about how you're going crazy right now about your Kindle, Mom."  Thank you, darling.