Saturday, July 30, 2011


The last few days have been relatively quiet, but I have learned a few important things…
  1.   “Letting Mama sleep in on the weekends” means that the child will attempt to try to be quiet by waking the mama up with notes. Not talking, can’t get mad… right?
  2.  Some libraries don’t charge late fees. I just paid a .60 late fee from 2004. Imagine what the interest might have added up to…
  3. Putting the 6 pound puppy on the picnic table while you sit outside reading definitely keeps her safe. However, when she comes inside, she feels it’s her God-given right to sit on the table during dinner.
  4. Saying or signing “time out” during The Quiet Game means that you lose. Period. There are no time outs, quiet is quiet.
  5. Just because they both have the word CORN in them, you may NOT put candy corn on corn on the cob. Some foods just aren’t meant to go together.
  6. It’s perfectly ok to have Daddy bring the girls to a movie without Mama. This way Mama can go to dinner with Skinny Bitch, where they can talk over each other for four hours and not complete a single story. This is what happens when you get together with a friend, without families, only once a year.
  7.  Sometimes you need to expand your horizons. I hate science fiction and thought I had no interest in The Hunger Games. Now, I’m dying to read the rest of the series. If you are reading this blog, I implore you to add this series to your “Must Read” list.
  8.  It’s not ok to fight with your sister while playing wii boxing. Bad things can happen.
  9.  If you would like to comment on the blog and there is no “little pencil” to click on (PINKY!), click “Comments” at the bottom of each post and you should be able to speak your mind.
  10. Eight pounds of blueberries is plenty. If Fly Girl’s beer isn’t flavored enough for her, she’ll have to suffer in silence. I considered going again today, but I already picked plenty enough last weekend. If EN really wants the 10 pounds he thinks he needs, he and Sugar can go together. It’ll be like a contest, who can have a tantrum first and lie down in the field kicking and screaming.

As you can see, life is quiet. We enjoyed the beautiful summer day outside. The girls swam, I read, EN puttered. Life is good. 

Ice Princess

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Spice Writes A Letter

Since my niece graduated from her night school program, things have been going pretty smoothly for her. She’s working part-time with two different jobs, but still has time available to hang out with her friends when she wants to. To me, that’s the definition of a perfect “last summer,” before the realities of working for the rest of your life set in.

I have tried desperately to overlook the periodic comments on Facebook about her “partying with Mom.” After all, she is 18, considered an adult even though she’s not legally allowed to drink. When I was underage, I shared a few drinks with my parents so it’s hard to say with absolution that I disagree with that behavior. I’m pretty sure that “partying with her mother” and having a beer with my parents are two different scenarios altogether, but again, she’s 18 now and it’s not my business. I’m sure that someone is teaching her how to behave responsibly when drinking, right?

I knew it was a matter of time before things fell apart.

Yesterday, Spice was with my mother while Sugar went on her play date. Of course Spice had a wonderful time being the only grandchild and my mom took her shopping. When they returned home, my niece was there, moving her stuff into my mother’s house. No one mentioned  whether my niece was upset, but it was apparent when I got there just how mad Spice was about the situation.

Spice: Mama, Tia was here. Her mother beated her out.
Me: What?!
Spice: I mean her mother got mad and kicked her out. She’s moving in here.

She then proceeded to stalk angrily through my mother’s house, fling the guest bedroom door open and said, “See, this is her stuff!” with her hands on her hips, Spice lectured me about how terrible she thought it was that my sister had kicked her child out of the house for not cleaning. She ranted on and on about how rude it was, how wrong… this little five-year-old found a reason to jump on her soapbox and rail about the injustices of the world. It really was quite something to see. Norma Rae was fighting the unions in the middle of my mother’s kitchen.

Then my mother said, “Spice asked me to help her write a letter.” A letter? Who would she write a letter to? I guess Spice was so fired up that she drew a mad face on a piece of paper and had my mother write: “Aunt E, You are so rude. You should not kick your daughter out of the house. Love, Angry Spice.” Then she had second thoughts about leaving in the word angry, so she asked my mother to cross that out. I guess she was afraid of sounding too harsh.

I left with my little firecracker, assuming that my mother filed that letter in a drawer full of things that would be funny in five years. But no. Norma Rae’s grandma thought the letter was so fantastic that she had my father bring it to my sister when he went to visit her.

I have not heard from my sister and Tiny Mike hasn’t mentioned the letter. I know I personally would not have given that letter to my sister, and am a little surprised that my parents did. In my head, it's a little much, the situation is not our business; if she had spoken to my sister like that, I would have been horrified. There is a teensy part of me that is glad that Spice spoke up about how she saw the situation. In a sense, she said what we have all wanted to say for so long. 

I wonder what else we can make her do. 

Ice Princess

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

No Longer "New"

First, welcome to Follower #8!!! Well have to hang out more so I can properly nickname you. Otherwise you'll be stuck with a boring one like "Jersey." ;o)

In the midst of this crazy heat, our family has gone from one play date to another for the last week. We have seen Skinny Bitch and her family twice, Boo twice, Pinky, Peggy and the Wood’s, Ultra and her family… and Sugar is with yet another friend today. Every day we have done something fun, only to be rudely interrupted by commitments like working for a living.

On Thursday night we met Pinky, Boo, Peggy and some others for ice cream. It was so hot that the ice cream turned to soup between the pick-up window and the picnic tables. Despite the heat, we sat and chatted for two hours. On Friday, the girls and I checked out our brand-new Hobby Lobby. I haven’t been to one in years and truth be told, I was completely overwhelmed. I didn’t buy a single crafty thing to do as I had intended… I bought the girls each a small something and got out of there quick. I was on overload-so many pretty items, so many cool things to do, where do I begin? I honestly have no business starting anything new until I clean my house first. Until then, I’ll blog, play games on Facebook and read books-those are the current activities keeping me from cleaning!

On Saturday, I took the girls blueberry picking with Boo and Ben. We were supposed to meet Boo at 8:45 and Sugar walked into my room at 8 am and announced (gleefully) that it was thundering and raining so we couldn’t go. I texted Boo and we decided to wait until later. Later came and we met at the farm at noon… because only smart bitches pick blueberries at high noon. I sweat more there than I did on that elliptical. Sweat ran down my back and butt and pooled in my pants until I looked like I had peed myself. Then Sugar had to have her annual Blueberry Picking Meltdown and lay on the ground screaming and crying that her belly hurt and she was going to throw up and she was so hot. I might have taken her seriously and been more sympathetic had I not seen that fit every other time we’ve gone.  Seriously chick, you hate blueberries and you hate blueberry picking, WHY DO YOU INSIST ON COMING ALONG? I finally said exactly that to her, “why do you come with me?” She had no answer, so we agreed that she will never again enter a field of blueberries with her mother.

We went home and literally spent the rest of the day in the pool. Yup, even I jumped in. Refreshing? Not so much. Given that the weather was triple digits for three days, the pool heated up to a balmy 88 degrees. At first it felt nice, but then felt a bit like swimming in soup.

On Sunday we joined Skinny Bitch and her family at a nearby lake where they are spending a week of vacation time. Crazy Bitch came out for a bit and impressed us all with a level of OCD that even surpassed my imagination. I’ve got nothing on her. Other than a bit of excitement between Crazy Bitch’s grandpuppy and Skinny Bitch’s dog (think puppy porn) a wonderful and restful day was enjoyed by all. The four little girls played together for hours on end with no fighting between sisters or between friends. My favorite line of the day came when I asked SB’s daughter a question when she said something about Spice and she answered, “I know my Spice.” I love seeing the girls so in love with their friends.

Monday brought a spur-of-the-moment dinner at TGI Friday’s with Ultra and her girls. I don’t know if the girls ramped up their energy in the cooler temperatures, or if they were just excited to see each other. Ultra and I were stuck at a table full of hooligans. No one sat through the meal, they stole each other’s food and they talked non-stop. The other patrons of the restaurant may not have appreciated their antics, but I’d say that the girls thoroughly enjoyed seeing each other. Ultra and I hid down at our end of the table and pretended like we had never seen them before. We totally should have sat at the bar by ourselves.

I think back over the last few days and find it interesting that suddenly, in my old age, I am putting together a circle of friends that I like, people that are mine. They aren’t friends of EN’s whose advances I have to fend off and haggish wives I have to put up with, they are in my life because I want them to be. I haven’t had a circle of friends like this since I was in the ninth grade living in Omaha. Back then we talked about movies and boys. Now we talk about childbirth, lazy husbands, transvestites and sex. I’d be willing to say they my friends are perhaps a little older and wiser than that group of ninth graders was. Opinions differ as to whether we are more mature.

Thanks to all of you that crossed my path recently… whether in person, via text, email, or even just a random post on Facebook. Finally after 20+ years in this area, I no longer feel like the new girl. 

Ice Princess

Friday, July 22, 2011

Tante Inge

People randomly pop into my head at the weirdest times, usually when I’m in the shower. If you ever want to make someone feel completely uncomfortable, mention that you thought of them in the shower. What I really want to know, is what the hell is everyone doing while they’re showering? I’m washing and shaving if I feel like it. If I’m missing out on something good, somebody really needs to clue me in.

Yesterday, WHILE I WAS DRIVING TO WORK, I thought of a woman that I haven’t seen in well over 20 years and probably haven’t thought of in forever either. I don’t know why she popped into my head, but I was sitting at a stop light and suddenly there’s Tante Inge’s face. I saw her so clearly, it was like she was standing in front of my car.

Tante Inge was actually married to my maternal grandfather’s brother, so she’s really my great aunt, not my aunt. When we lived in Germany, there was some family battle, so I never met Tante Inge as a child. When I took my Vacation Extravaganza at the age of 16, I became acquainted with Tante Inge, my cousin Britta and her siblings and I felt gypped that I hadn’t known them my whole life.

At 16, I traveled to Germany with my aunt and uncle, who had never had their own kids. We stayed with my grandmother, who must have been in her early 80s by then. Do you see how this is going to take a bad turn? Yes, there I was surrounded with people that basically had no idea what to do with a 16 year old. The two weeks in Germany while my uncle was there were bearable because we had each other’s backs. My aunt made him diet and complained about his smoking. So we’d head off to the downtown area together. He would hit the bratwurst stand for lunch and a beer, we’d smoke cigarettes, and then he would take me out for ice cream at the Italian place with the hot waiters. You may be thinking that my uncle was a bad sort, drinking and letting me smoke, but times were different then, everyone smoked, especially in Europe. I’ll have to blog about my beloved uncle another time, but suffice it to say that I begged him to take me with him when he left. And I still had another month with Rich Auntie and my grandmother.

There is nothing wrong with Rich Auntie or my grandmother. They’re wonderful women, but they were anxious around me. I tried to be the perfect ‘child,’ and would hit the local Army base bookstore and would read all day long. However, my funny ideas about showering and washing my hair daily and wearing clothes only once before washing them baffled my grandmother and aunt-even though my aunt had been in the US for 30 years by then. I’m not sure why she was so surprised by my spoiled American attitude.

My cousin Britta tried to include me when she went out with her friends and we had some fun times. Things started to go badly when I met up with a group of young Army guys. There was nothing bad going on, but Army guys stationed overseas generally have a bad reputation. They aren’t allowed to drink at home, so they tend to go a little wild when they’re in a country that allows them to consume alcohol. It was only natural that I would want to hang out with my fellow countrymen, and they wanted to hang with me as well. It worked as a band aid against the homesickness.

My desire to hang out with these Army guys caused quite the scandal and had my aunt and grandmother calling my mother regularly. It really was quite ridiculous, but I think my brilliant aunt finally decided it was ok if I met up with the guys if I was with a group and they were in a group and we waved from opposite sides of the street. Despite that buffoonery, I ended up keeping in touch with one of the guys for a few years.

While my aunt was busy pitching her fits to my mother, I would escape to my cousin’s house and hang out with her and her mom. Tante Inge completely understood my need to shower and wash my hair regularly and may have even let me do laundry there. She also cooked and baked all the time. She made a dessert with kiwi and meringue that was delicious. I’ve never had it again and I’ve never seen a recipe that sounds like what she prepared.  She even bought these funny little bags that she would fill with water and make “Eiswurfel” (ice cubes) for my soda.

Tante Inge thought I was a crazy girl with my long purple fingernails, bouffed-out 80’s hair, incessant chatter and bad dance moves. She shook her head and laughed every time I was around.  I realized yesterday when I thought of her, that I never thanked her for giving me what I needed when I was so far from home: a mom.

Tante Inge died more than ten years ago and I hope that she knew how much her kindness meant to me. I find it so strange that she popped into my head like that yesterday. I immediately sent an email to my cousin Britta to let her know, and also to say to her what I should have said to her mother all those years ago… thank you for everything.

I hope I wasn’t such a brat at 16 that I left Germany without telling her I loved her. When I left Germany after that visit, it was the last time I would see many of these relatives. I wish I had known that then.  

Ice Princess

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Senior and Stepmommy!

Though I really would like to keep my man-hater cap on for one more day, I worry about being mistaken for the President of the She-Woman-Man-Haters Club. I leave behind the discussion about what jackballs we are married to and move on to other stuff.

We were very excited to see EN Senior and Stepmommy over the weekend. I’ve seen Senior a few times, but haven’t seen Stepmommy since I went to spend time with them in November 2009 while Senior was undergoing chemo and radiation. The preparation for the visit always starts with drama, because Senior  tries to get our family together with Sissy’s. As I have blogged before, Sissy is extremely inflexible and any get together needs to take place at a time and place that is convenient for her (provided she has to put forth zero effort and no money). Given the recent drama I’ve had with my own sister, I wasn’t feeling so charitable. Besides, I’m always the chick who does the entertaining. We should all be invited to Sissy’s and I’ll pull one of her moves and offer to bring one cookie per guest as she is known to do.

As it worked out in the end, Senior and Stepmommy spent Thursday and Friday afternoon with Sissy and her family, and Friday evening and Saturday with us. A perfect solution as far as I’m concerned. I was amused when I heard that Sissy wouldn’t let her own father come to her house because it was messy. I told Senior and Stepmommy that next time they really should give more notice before visiting. Two weeks is simply not enough time. I was downright giddy when I heard that Stepmommy had actually spoken up to Mr. Sissy and told him that maybe he should consider selling his ridiculous number of motorcycles and cars and buy one or two cars that are in good running condition. I mean really, couldn’t a grown up come up with a logical plan like that on his own? Mr. Sissy, probably not… he’s the same guy that gave up the management position at the store he works at because they expected him to do hard stuff like adding up time cards. All those fractions and shit, who knew management was so tough?

Our visit with them was uneventful, but a lot of fun. We went out for meals to some of my favorite places. EN introduced our favorite waitress to “his parents” which is hilarious, given that Stepmommy is only about a year older than he is. EN and I laughed like hell while Stepmommy pretended to be mad. We got to shop (damn that Build-A-Bear and those stupid Smurfettes!) and hit Dueling Pianos again on Saturday night.

Stepmommy had said she wanted to see the show after hearing about how much fun it was, so I bought tickets when they said they were coming. I was a little disappointed in the well-behaved crowd, because that show is so much better when people get their drink on in a bad way (and not the Tambourine Man either!). They played some of the same stuff, also added in fun songs like Total Eclipse of the Heart and Freebird. I’m beside myself that Stepmommy is NOT a fan of either Freebird or Sweet Home Alabama. Don’t you face jail time or something if you are FROM Alabama and you don’t like Sweet Home Alabama? Us Yankees really dig that song and I may or may not have once been involved in playing that song on repeat in a bar for over an hour. Guess what? Every one of those drunk Yankees danced like hell the entire time.  

It should be said here that Senior is a VERY NICE man. One thinks twice about swearing in front of him, he’s so nice. I wondered how he would take the bad language that often comes out during these shows. That man lit up like Christmas when they played Cee Lo Green’s song and when the crowd started participating in The Right Stuff (I’m not sure what the goes on exactly, but it sounds like the crowd yells “Burn that mother fucker down”). He was like the good boy hanging out with the party crowd for the night. I do believe he had a lovely time. I know I caught him singing along to songs like American Pie and The Gambler.

This is what family visits should be like: fun, easygoing and drama-free. We hung out together and did a few things, but there was no set schedule. We had time to just talk and we had time to play, both with and without Sugar and Spice. Maybe that changes when you live closer to one another and feel more comfortable getting into each other’s business. All I know is that when the visit was over, I was happy with the time I spent with EN’s family.

And a big "Cee Lo Green" to the husbands that don't appreciate their wives singing. I will NEVER stop singing The Gambler, even if it does cause my own children to break down in tears and beg for mercy.

Ice Princess

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Husband is Another Term for Rocket Scientist

I wanted to blog about our weekend visit with EN Senior and Stepmommy, but recent conversations with several different girlfriends has given me inspiration to blog instead about the idiocy we encounter within the marital homestead. So girlfriends, sit back and enjoy and know that everything that is said in this post will be done without naming names. You alone will recognize your personal contribution.

I think the heat is getting to us all. We are less patient with our menfolk and itching to deliver a well-deserved dummy slap to our husbands’ foreheads. At least three friends have called, emailed or texted within the last week to bitch about what dipshits they are married to. I read and respond delightedly, knowing that I am not alone in this. I’ve gathered information from multiple reliable sources and these are the issues driving us crazy:

Money: Typically, there is one partner in the relationship that seems to be a little smarter with the check book. This means that one person looks like the controlling bitch, while the other spends money like he owns an entire orchard of money trees. Cars, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, livestock, tools… in any of those categories, having ONE is never enough. Husbands are firm believers in the saying, “He who dies with the most toys wins.”

This leads right into boys buying shit because they’re going to “fix it up and make money.” I’ll wait a moment while you stop laughing… This statement is totally and completely false and anyone with boobs (man boobs don’t count) knows it. The piece of crap that you want to buy is going to join the rest of the junk you’ve already purchased. Give a little time, rust and spiderwebs and the project is so much bigger than they thought it would be. Which means nothing will be done. The girlfriends now have basements full of broken stuff and garages they can’t park in. Our cars will be pelted with hail and covered in snow, but damn it, that pile of shit goes undisturbed in the garage.

Inability to Perform: I’m not talking about sex. I’m talking about the level of incompetency displayed by men when it comes time to clean a house, prepare for a party, or God forbid, run to the grocery store to pick up a few items. Here are a few of my favorite stories:

-The husband that says, “Perhaps you’ve gained a little weight” when the wife asks if he washed the laundry in hot water.

-The husband that is sent to the grocery store for four items and texts his wife at least four times and still comes home with the wrong stuff. This is further compounded when the husband that comes home and says, “This item doesn’t even exist.” He is then so belligerent about being right, he will go back to the store with a diagram of where to find said object so he can take a picture to prove it’s not there. No words are spoken when the husband returns home with the non-existent item in his little paws.

-Several friends have shared variations of this story, so I gather this behavior is universal and doesn’t change even after you’ve been married or lived together for a long time. This behavior will occur during the preparations before a big party. Your partner will be so eager to help that he will follow you around so closely that if you stop suddenly he will crash into you. He will incessantly chirp, “I want to help. What can I do to help?” Seriously? This is the 15th fucking Christmas party we’ve had together and you still don’t know what to do?

-Alternatively, there is the husband who watches his wife run around, preparing for an annual party while he “stays out of her way.” She’s seething with anger and ready to catheterize him with a garden hose when he sweetly says, “Looks like everything’s coming together great. Need any help?” Yes, thank you Ass Monkey, go open the door for our guests.

Using Their Words: I hate hearing a mother say that to a child, but I can totally see a wife saying to her husband, “Don’t use your words. Ever.” If you, as a man, feel like giving your wife well-intended advice and you need to start off with a modifier like, “Not to sound like a dick, but…” or “No offense but…” it’s probably in your best interests to keep your stupid mouth closed. As soon as we hear those phrases, we go into planning mode. We are giving careful thought as to where and when your funeral will be and what fabulous outfit we intend on wearing.

And then there are the stupid questions like, “Do you want a divorce?” Who is dumb enough to ask that? Even better, is the offended look they get when you don’t answer, “NO” fast enough (because you spent a moment daydreaming of said divorce and post-divorce cougarish activities). Just for asking that dumb question, they deserve to be told YES! Please, just stop talking and sit there and look pretty. That’s one of the two reasons we married you.

I thank my girlfriends for thrilling me with their recent experiences. We all know that NONE of this ever happens at my house. Life is all cupcakes and magic wands at the Ice Castle. Surely you are mistaken if EN wanders by and you think you see that magic wand firmly planted "where the sun don't shine."

Ice Princess

Monday, July 18, 2011

Going Upscale

Now that I'm part of Blogher, I've decided to go even more upscale. Oh yes! I've had several complaints from my twelve readers that even when they follow, they don't get notified when there's a new post.

I'm happy to say that I found a tool and installed it on the blog. Look to the right of your screen and you will see a spot where you can enter your email address and be notified every time I post. This is directly above where my  merry band of followers is listed. Now if I could just get the Blogher stuff to show up properly... sigh.

It was a crazy fun weekend and I will blog about it... probably tomorrow. Lots of good food and drink, fun company and yet another round of Dueling Pianos. My brain is feeling a little melty and unable to string together words that make sense.

I'm spending today playing Mahjongg Dimensions on Facebook. It remains to be seen whether this will help my brain feel less melty...

Ice Princess

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fairy Tales

I don’t mind saying that I’m insanely jealous when I leave every day and the husband, girls and dogs are all still snoozing away. When I walk out the door, I’ve already been up for an hour, getting ready for work. One doggy eyeball might pop open to watch me leave, but generally everyone is still sleeping. A quiet morning is what I like, even though I’m really pissed to be leaving the house full of sleeping people.

The girls have spent the bulk of their summer in the pool. I fully expect that they’ll turn into the mermaids they pretend to be any day now. Their fingers and toes are permanently pruned and they are blissful. They get along spectacularly in the pool and encourage each other to learn all sorts of new tricks. Sugar jumps off her boogie board and tries to do flips. Spice does some weird thing and ends up looking like a turtle stuck on her shell. They shout “Watch this!” over and over again until I’m ready to scream, but in reality, if all I have to do is glance up from the smut I’m reading, life’s pretty good!

I’m not a fan of the pool and almost never get in, maybe one annual chunky-dunk after I get liquored up, but that’s it. I really wanted a gorgeous, expensive in-ground pool but the number of zeroes in the estimates made me drop that idea quickly. The girls love their little above-ground soft-sided pool and so do their friends.

I remember how much fun summer was as a kid, no obligations, no schedule. Life was good and you played outside until you were forced to go in. I’m so jealous that I’m stuck at a desk every day while the girls play. Perhaps that’s what made me do what I did during dinner last night. I was looking at the girls and realized that Spice’s ear looked a bit like the inside of a seashell. She caught me looking at her and our conversation went something like this:

Spice: What are you looking at, Mama?
Me: I was looking at your ear to see if I could see the snail.
Sugar: What?!
Me: Oh yeah, you have snails living in your ears. You didn’t know that?

At this point, Sugar’s eyes were wide with horror and intrigue. Spice said, “Mama is telling stories.” So we talked more about it and I said that the snails only poked their heads out at night and I figured they would have noticed that since they spend every summer night sleeping in the same room. Spice starts feeling around inside her ears…

Spice: Yeah, I can believe snails live in my ears.
Me: Oh yeah? Why?
Spice: Well, it feels like a little food dish right here (points to the inside of her ear). That’s probably why we keep potatoes in our ears, so the snails don’t go hungry.
Me: That’s right. Snails are HUGE fans of potatoes.

Later on as I was getting them ready for bed, Spice stopped what she was doing and said, “Shhh, Mama! I can hear the snails!” When my children start talking about the voices in their heads, I totally take the blame and we’ll say it’s snails and not schizophrenia due to bad parenting.

A big bunny delivers eggs and candy every Easter. A fat guy brings presents every Christmas and some crazy broad collects their old baby teeth. Now snails in their ears. What’s next? 

Ice Princess

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I Heart Books!

I have always loved books and will read every chance I get. That was the worst part of being a student over the last several years. I never had a chance to read for pleasure. Since I finished school in December, there’s no telling how many books I’ve read.

Many years ago, Fly Girl told me that I should become friends with Ultra (formerly known as Payton’s Mom. Name changed because she’s the only person I know besides me that drinks Michelob Ultra because she LIKES it!) because she is a huge reader too. Our friendship was really cemented over Water for Elephants. We’ve swapped book ideas many times since.

I have been a fast reader and have enjoyed books since I can remember. The Air Force school I attended in Germany was huge with kindergarten through second grade in one section, with their own library. If memory serves me correctly, I read all of the books in that little library well before the end of second grade, so I got to go to the big kid library by myself every week. I can’t confirm this to be true, but I remember being very little and going upstairs by myself a lot. It could just be that I got kicked out of the little library for being obnoxious, both situations are equally likely.

I read all through junior high and high school as well. I started with Sweet Dreams romances, then Sweet Valley High, then moved on to Danielle Steel novels.  When we were given books to read in school, I’d read them in the first week and have nothing left to do for the rest of the term, except examine said books for symbolism, imagery, etc. I really should have insisted that the teachers give me all the assignments up front. Everyone else only had to read those dumb books once, I had to reread them multiple times to do the assignments. Totally unfair.

When I started working on my Bachelors a few years ago, I was excited to see that I needed a Literature class and tried to fulfill those credits with a  Popular Fiction course. I was told by Sarah Smiles that I could do that, but would still need an additional course to fulfill the “global marker” requirement.  She told me to take World Literature instead. I told her I would hate it, she told me to take it anyway. I psyched myself up for it by deciding that I would write a term paper (still hadn’t read the syllabus at this point) about Jackie Collins. She writes literature (I consider smut to be literature) and comes from a different part of the world. In my head, I was already justifying any criteria set forth by this professor.

I went to pick up the required text and was complete alarmed by the THREE VOLUME SET. Holy shit, we have to real ALL that? Once I read over the syllabus I settled down a bit. While some weeks required heavy reading, we certainly weren’t expected to read every single page. And here’s the biggest shocker of all… She, who enrolled in this class kicking, screaming and foaming at the mouth-loved it! This course ended up being one of my favorites. Some of the stuff we had to read, I intensely disliked, but I loved Medea, Oedipus and One Thousand and One Nights (short versions of all). And the pieces I didn’t like? Well, I had to respect those too. The professor made everything wonderful and gave great explanations about the readings. I propose that everything be rewritten with modern language so it’s easier to understand. I was also shocked (SHOCKED, I say!) by the sexual innuendo in the poetry written centuries ago. If you get stuck taking some class on interpreting poetry and you just can’t figure it out, think sex and it’ll all come together (no pun intended).

I almost always have a book going, and I almost always finish anything I start. That’s when I wear my rose-colored glasses. I’ve read some really stupid shit, hoping that something great will happen. Many a book has been tossed across the house, and still others have been put in the freezer (you must be a fan of the TV show "Friends" to understand this reference).

If I read a book that I like, I will read everything that author has ever written, usually back to back. This is never, EVER a good idea as you can really get sick of an author’s style and end up hating them. If I hate one book written by an author, chances are, I won’t read anything else they’ve written. I HATED Back Roads by Tawni O’Dell and my mother beat me with Sister Mine to get me to read it. In the end, she was right and I enjoyed the book.

I have not read anything in the currently-popular vampire genre. I have zero interest. I need books based on some level of reality. I have tried to get into the Sooki Stackhouse books, but I simply can’t. I’ve heard there are some incredibly steamy sections and the promise of reading that still doesn’t do it for me. I wouldn’t be opposed to someone grabbing a copy of one of the books and paper clipping the good parts though.

Last week, I reached an all-time low with regards to books. I was in the middle of a book and it sucked. Like a junkie needing my fix, I started looking around for something better to read. At the very same time, a Facebook friend posted something like, “Harlequin Romances ain’t what they used to be.” Oh really, I thought… so I did a little surfing and came across several interesting sounding categories. I might have to dig in, just for fluff reading of course. The minute Fabio goes ravishing some violet-eyed, raven-haired chick with heaving bosoms, I’m out.  

Ice Princess

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How to Complain Properly

As a child, when I heard my parents or paternal grandparents complain about something, there were no holds barred. You said what you wanted, whether you sounded like a rude prick or not. Obviously, I saw my parents do this more than I witnessed my grandparents, but I know they did the same. I come from a long line of rude complainers.

When I moved out on my own, I practiced this same tactic. If my utility bill was wrong, I called and screamed at the poor soul that answered the phone.  If I felt wronged in any way, I’d kick up a big fuss about it, after all, that’s what I was taught. I remember when I worked at Sears and brought my car in for some work. The night manager didn’t know me and didn’t realize I worked there when he called to tell me that the initial estimate was wrong and the actual work would cost a lot more money. So, I did what any girl of Polish/German descent would do. I marched down to the garage and I cornered that little manager and yelled at him. I may have even poked him once or twice.

I’m happy to say that I won, I got my way. But as I walked back to my own department, something occurred to me. I looked and sounded like a complete asshole doing that to some poor guy. We weren’t alone in that area, so everyone watching must have thought, “What a shrew!”

Fast forward a few decades and I find myself intensely disliking confrontation of any kind. (Why I took that mediation training is beyond me… a topic for another time.) I have had the good fortune of being around my parents and sister when they complain about things. Their method of doing so makes my skin crawl. So I try not to complain. Ever. I’ve eaten many a crap meal for fear of complaining and having someone spit in my food. I’ve had multiple Lemondrop Martinis that were rimmed in salt rather than sugar. I sit there and I eat and drink and never utter a peep. I would die first.

Since I married EN, it’s been his job to do the complaining. Here is the justification I give for giving him the shit work: EN is genuinely nice and he comes across that way. When I play nice while righting a wrong, my bitch face shines right though. The genuinely nice person should speak up. Over the years, he’s finally started taking on this task without waiting too long, so the complaint doesn’t matter anyway. He scored a free printer when he called the manufacturer and complained about something. His persistence got us away from one bad propane company and got us into a fuel-buying co-op. He’s done really well.

So when I was pissed off the other night about the $1 juice boxes at Sugar's skating pary, I said that we should complain to the rink. This is married talk for, “It’s your job, call and say something.” Somehow (I know it was the beer talking) I volunteered to make the call. I conveniently forgot about that and texted EN yesterday to ask how the call went. He said I was supposed to do it. Great.  

I called the rink in the afternoon and I was beautifully behaved, if I may say so myself. I smiled the WHOLE time I was talking because they say you can hear a smile over the phone (whatevs). I also used "nice voice" the whole time. I told her the party was wonderful and everyone had a great time THEN I mentioned the ridiculous charges from their required vendor. Then I said something nice again, this is called “sandwiching” for those of you not in the know.

The lady I talked to seemed stunned by what I told her about the charges. She thanked me for calling and thanked me for not screaming. She said that she would call her vendor and do something to make things right. I didn’t want anything free, maybe a teensy refund on the solid gold juice boxes, but I really thought the management of the skating rink should be aware of their vendors charges in the event they didn’t know. She said she called me back.

24 hours later, I have heard nothing. I totally should have gone postal on her.

Ice Princess 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Belated Skating Party

Consider yourself warned. Every time I have a party, this pisses me off. So every time you read that I’ll be having a party, know in advance that sooner or later, I will bitch about this happening. I should properly tag these posts so you can ignore them if you are so inclined.

Sugar’s birthday was back in May and she desperately wanted a party that her BFFL would be able to attend. I tried to set up several movie dates, but BFFL didn’t want to see the movie that Sugar wanted to bring her friends to. Then we tried to set up a sleepover, but BFFL’s social calendar was too full to accommodate this extra activity.

Fast forward through graduations, recitals, field trips and travels, and months passed and Sugar went without a birthday party. She brought it up fairly regularly so I finally suggested an ice skating party as a fun way to beat the summer heat.  We decided to rent the ice for an hour so there was no limit to the amount of kids she could invite. We could also include siblings and parents and make it a family night.

She came up with a list of 45 friends and I either emailed or sent an invitation to via Facebook. Still others I had to actually call because I didn’t have their email addresses. Long story short, I heard back from less than half and of those, most were unable to attend.

I hate, hate, HATE rude people and ignoring an invitation that asks for an RSVP is just plain rude. It’s apparently become standard in today’s society. I guess RSVP now means: let us know if you are coming. If you can’t attend, just ignore the invitation and the hostess will just know you aren’t coming. I guess I missed that fucking memo. It takes 30 seconds to hit reply and type “unable to attend.” I wonder when we became a society of people too busy or important to respond to an email. They all have kids themselves, they MUST know how excited kids are about parties. How the birthday girl will say, “Who else did you hear from? Can they come?” Perhaps my children are odd and that’s not how every other kid behaves when there’s a party being held in their honor. It devastated me to have to say to Sugar, “Sorry I didn’t hear back from most of the asshole parents of your friends.”

We spent Saturday morning coming up with the perfect playlist and song order. Then we picked up the cake, had a late lunch and took a nap. Despite the low turnout, the kids (and parents!) seemed to have a wonderful time. Even the teen that told her father she wouldn’t get cold skating around in a tank top never left the ice. We all laughed a lot, especially at my expense. My entire family can skate and I can barely wobble across the ice. I think it hurts others to see me try to do something athletic. EN’s friend Doug and I sounded like a couple of senior citizens… oh my back, oh my ankle, oh my feet. Skinny Bitch and Killjoy treated us all to a race. Killjoy only *thinks* he won. What guy wouldn’t let his wife win? Seriously!! Boo fell spectacularly and Spice took time out from speed skating to laugh at her. That’s my kind-hearted cherub in action.

After the skate, we enjoyed pizza and a belated birthday cake. Here’s the other thorn in my side about having these “destination” birthday parties. Many places force you to buy the food and beverages from a specific vendor. I am generally happy to do this, but yesterday’s bill for pizza, soda and juice boxes lit me up. Their vendor charged us $1.00 per juice box. The same fucking juice boxes I just saw on sale at Walmart for $1.77/10-pack. You do your own math and figure out the mark up. I don’t want to know. Next time I’m smuggling in my own Capri Suns.

Of the people that were supposed to show up, three families didn’t attend. No phone call, no apology, no nothing. I can’t decide if that’s even ruder than not responding at all. This makes my child watch the door, waiting and wondering, “Where are the rest of the friends that said they’d come?” Thank you for bringing disappointment to my kid. My sunshiny kid faltered just a bit, but bounced back quickly and enjoyed the friends who made it out for her party.

With a little push from Skinny Bitch, I did call one of the No Shows out on her behavior. This is a woman that we mutually know. A gal that tells Skinny Bitch all the time how close she and I are, even though we’ve barely spoken in a year or two. I texted her today to say, “Sugar wanted me to tell you she is sorry you weren’t able to come yesterday.” Her response? Drum roll please… “Ok, no prob.” I’m guessing she either didn’t read my text or she’s a bigger bitch than I thought.

The next time you get a party invitation for one of your kids, respond right away… Imagine, it could be your kid waiting and wondering, who’s coming to my party? 

Ice Princess

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Good Things...

Big changes, they are a-coming!

I am so very pleased to announce that I’m pregnant. HA HA, that’s a big fat lie. Did you believe me? You should know better… I’m just fluffy!

For real this time, some of you know this already, but some don’t. In June, I sent off an application for my blog to become part of the Blogher Publishing Network. I have received an “official invitation” to join and filled out all the required paperwork yesterday. I believe there may be one final step to the application process.

What does this mean? It means that you will be able to find me on, but I’ll still be here too. It means that I’m on a list of people that can opt in to review products and books… doesn’t that sound like fun? I’ll have things to blog about when I can’t come up with ideas on my own. No more emails from y’all asking if I have a brain cramp! Ads will also appear on my blog. They will be located in the sidebar, feel free to click on them, or not.

It also means that if I post something they find interesting, my blog could be featured on their site. Imagine that! It means that my blog will be one of thousands on Blogher, rather than one of millions on the ol’ Internet. Perhaps I’ll snare a few more faithful readers, not that there’s anything wrong with the twelve that check in daily.

In the meantime, stop by and check it out! There are some great blogs on there and they’re all even categorized by interest. It’s really quite cool and I’m honored that my blog may become part of that.

Ice Princess 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Renaming the Sisters

Some days, the nicknames I have given my girls are bass-ackwards. Yesterday was one of those days. I picked the girls up from my parents and both seemed to be in decent moods. They had spent the afternoon decorating my mother’s backyard with ribbons and colored paper hearts. It looked quite festive.

Before leaving, I asked the girls to clean up their various messes and then we were on our way. As we pulled into the driveway, I got a text from my dad asking where Spice put the new water bottle my mother had bought her. If he was texting me such a question, I figured my mother was probably on the warpath.

As Spice is known to smuggle (ok, steal) stuff out of their house at times, I made sure she brought this beloved new bottle into the house and didn’t have it with her. She said she left it on the counter, so I told him that and suggested a few other places that he could look for it. Sugar gloated, knowing her sister was in trouble. I went back and forth with my dad and Spice started to get more and more upset about where she had left the bottle. I finally told her that if she didn’t tell me where the bottle was, she wasn’t going swimming. I’d rather deal with mad Spice than my mother. What does that tell you?

Spice offered up a few more places where the bottle might be and went upstairs to get her swimsuit on, certain that she’d be able to swim. I heard Sugar follow her up there and say, “I don’t know why you are putting your bathing suit on. Mama said you can’t swim.” Just then, my mother called. She was laughing and said that she found the water bottle in the freezer. Spice must have gotten confused and put it in the freezer rather than the fridge. Sugar was behind me and I could hear her giggling. She said, “Wasn’t that a funny trick I played? Hiding her water bottle?”

Really, you little devil. You knew your sister was in trouble and you even followed her around to remind her she was in trouble… and still you didn’t feel the need to ‘fess up? I sent them outside so I could get my thoughts in order. I called them back in and told Sugar that I thought she had been a little mean to her sister. It’s ok to play a trick on someone, but when they get in trouble, it’s time to let everyone know what you did. If you confess quickly enough, it’s funny. If you wait too long, one person is in trouble and everyone else is mad. The rest of our discussion went like this:

Me: I think I need to take something from you, to punish you for being mean.
Sugar: Ok, how about my iPod?
Me: Fine. It’s mine for a couple of days.
Spice: Well then I won’t use the iPad either, since we are being punished.
Me: You aren’t being punished. You didn’t do anything wrong. (This time, I muttered under my breath.)
Spice: Yeah, but I want to feel the same as Sugar feels.

Come again? You want to be punished along with your sister? Let’s remember the last time Spice got in trouble… The greatest way to punish her is to make her go without her evening snack. I swear, the last time this happened, Sugar happily scarfed down her own, then asked for what Spice didn’t get to have.

Ice Princess 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Cookies and Cat Food

I started off willing my “Minute of Nothing” to continue yesterday morning, but felt a little guilty doing nothing after telling the girls there was no way in hell they were swimming until AFTER the messes they created in their bedrooms and the family room was cleaned up. I even added in the extra threat of “I’m inspecting” this time too.

I started puttering around, cleaning up other areas of the house. I didn’t do enough work in any particular space to make things appear neat, mind you, but I did rearrange some piles of crap. I even shredded a bunch of stuff so the piles are a teensy bit smaller. Really, I need to figure out what needs to be kept and what doesn’t. I don’t want all this clutter any more.

I then tackled the checkbook and was thrilled to see what my balance looked like with no daycare payment. What I should say, is that it was always my choice to work and paying for child care goes along with that decision. I don’t argue the amount I paid or the care my girls ever received, but it feels good to have that expense off the budget for the summer.

The girls finished cleaning and hit the pool. I spent several hours on the deck playing, “Mama, watch this!” as the girls performed amazing stunts in our little pool. I forced them to get out a couple of times, but waited until their lips were Smurf-blue and their teeth were chattering. Without evidence like that, they’ll scream that they ARE NOT COLD. They insisted on having lunch outside and I was amused to see that Spice put on her crown as a matter of routine, just like Sugar puts on her glasses. I guess when you are royalty, you must flaunt it. Perhaps introducing Spice to “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” was a bad move on my part.

Early in the morning I had a post on my Facebook that one of the packages arrived in Afghanistan. This inspired me to make the cookies that the girls wanted to bring to the firemen for driving them to school. The girls made cards and ate cookies and I had two big platefuls for them to bring today. I have yet to hear how the drop off went. I do know that Spice did not get the opportunity to lay her googly-eyes on the hottie fireman. I’m sure she’s disappointed.

Since Bella went missing back in May, I started following these ridiculous pages on Facebook. They really aren’t ridiculous, they are so very sad. I see posts from the Florida Boxer Rescue and have fallen in love with both London and Beaumont only to see them die because they weren’t saved from neglect earlier. I am on the list for a dog recovery site, and I see all the dogs in my region that are lost, then found… sometimes dead, sometimes alive. And my heart breaks every fucking time. It only made sense then that when I saw that the local animal shelter was looking for canned cat food, I asked EN to pick some up when he went to Walmart with the girls today. I’m also smart enough to know I would not have left the shelter empty handed, so I asked him to drop the donation off today.

So wow, yeah, I’ve totally tooted my own horn here and made myself sound like the giving-est person in the world, what with my cookies, junk food and cat food. Call me Mother Teresa. I think I did this stuff to assuage my own guilt. I wrote recently about wanting to fight and I duked it out with my mother last week. What shithead fights with their own mother? ME!

I guess I must still have a lot of anger about what went down with my niece and her “graduation.” I may have said a few snarky things like, “I don’t understand how she has money for a nose piercing, but can’t afford to pay her own tolls every week?” And, “Why did she bother signing up for beauty school? She’s not even going to bother attending.”

Oh yes, my behavior was delightful. I need to learn to keep my fucking mouth shut and just keep baking cookies and buying cat food.  

Ice Princess

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Minute of Nothing

It was a dreary looking day here today and we waited all day for the rain to come. The girls had no desire to go outside, so they stayed busy in the family room building a tent and watching movies. I sat on the couch with a book that I’ve been trying to get through without much luck. The main character said, “I need a minute. Of nothing.” It struck me then, that that’s exactly what I needed for this weekend.

I’ve been going so hard for so long, working on my degree all the while working full time and being a wife and mother. I tried hard to not lose sight of my goals while making sure my husband got to continue doing what makes him happy, and my girls stayed involved in their various activities. Sometimes there were things we couldn’t do and events we couldn’t attend, but we all tried awful hard to do as much as we could. I think we all handled it well, but who knows, the girls may end up in counseling as teenagers for their shitty childhoods.

The months of May and June brought weekends packed with activities. There were graduations, rehearsals, recitals, separate trips for both EN and me, etc. At the end of last week, everyone at work talked about their plans for this long holiday weekend. I said that I had plans for Saturday night, but the rest of the weekend was wide open. Maybe it was only a few weeks ago, but it feels like a like a lifetime ago that we had a couple of days off with no obligations. We had no one to visit and no place we needed to be. All of a sudden today, I felt like I was free at last!

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed all of our recent activities and last night’s trip into Boston for shopping, dinner and seeing West Side Story was fantastic. Every time I go to Boston, I’m reminded of how much I love that city and that I really need to share it with my girls.

Today was a completely lazy day. We spent the afternoon hanging out while watching trash TV once the girl’s movie was over. I introduced them to the crème de la crème of crazy TV… My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. If you have not tuned in to watch this debacle, you simply must. There’s nothing else quite like it. Sugar said repeatedly, “Oh my word!” while watching the antics during the reception. Spice seethed with envy over the outfits worn by the bride, bridesmaids and mini-brides (young relatives of the bride that wear matching bridal gowns. Their dresses even come equipped with fake boobs!). We also tuned in for an episode of Say Yes to the Dress, after all, what little girl doesn’t want to look at women trying on wedding gowns?

After the excitement of those shows, I really needed an additional minute of nothing, so I napped. I woke up craving the white-trash lasagna that Spice loves so much (plain Ragu, no boil noodles, hamburger, ricotta and mozzarella). She claims it tastes like candy and I can see her point. The sauce is hardly seasoned and a little sweet. It is also completely smooth, which assures the girls that I haven’t tried to smuggle gross stuff into the meal.

After our dinner, we hunkered down for more trash TV, but the evening unexpectedly turned inspirational. We watched Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. This episode centered around a soldier from Fort Hood that had been injured in the mass shooting in November 2009. Sugar and I cried through most of it and she kept saying, “It’s so sad, but so happy at the same time.” Then, because we hadn’t cried enough, we watched Undercover Boss. The focus of this episode was Baja Fresh, which I had never heard of. After seeing this show, I would like to become a frequent customer of this chain, no matter how fat I get. The owner that went undercover had the biggest heart ever. He was so touched by the employees he met that he donated money, scholarship funds, educations and even a franchise opportunity to one young manager. It’s proof that money doesn’t change everyone.

And so… my minute of nothing is expected to continue tomorrow. The weather is supposed to be nicer and I’m sure the girls will want to spend the day in the pool. I’ll sit on the deck and supervise their pool play. Perhaps I’ll clean up a little or do some laundry, or not. Perhaps I’ll let this minute of nothing last just a little bit longer. 

Ice Princess

Friday, July 1, 2011

Farmer's Market

Last month when I was in Omaha, my friend and her husband suggested going to the local farmer’s market on Saturday morning. This isn’t something they normally do on a Saturday morning and it may well have been their first time at this farmer’s market in the Old Market section of Omaha.

I absolutely loved being there, even though the weather wasn’t that great. There were loads of customers, vendors, musicians and free samples! In some spots it was as crowded as the mall at Christmas time. But here, there’s no rushing, pushing or attitudes. Everyone smiled and waited their turn. Perhaps it was atmosphere; perhaps it was simply that I was in the Midwest… where people seem a little friendlier.

I was surprised at how much produce was already available. There were tomatoes, salad mix, kohlrabi, radishes, just loads of stuff. Other vendors had homemade soaps, bread, pies, honey, flowers, meat. A local Greek restaurant had a double-sized stall and had a crazy selection of baklava-did you know you can get this in a variety of flavors?! They also had freshly baked pita bread. Some of the samples we tried were little bits of heaven.

I don’t think I had been to a farmer’s market since I was little and went with my parents. I was disappointed at this one because I was leaving in two days and really couldn’t see buying all kinds of things. That didn’t stop me from indulging in the free samples-oh, that honey wheat bread with butter.

I’ve always *meant* to take the girls to a farmer’s market and going to this one gave me the push to take the chicks. I recently found out about one that is held every Friday about 15 minutes from our house. The girls and I checked it out today. For some reason, they felt the need to dress up for this excursion and Sugar put on a sundress and Spice donned a favorite tutu. I guess we never get to be the family that just blends in. Sigh.

This farmer’s market was much, much smaller than the one in Omaha. There were less than ten vendors and hardly any customers, even on this gorgeous evening. We aren’t lucky enough to have a lot of produce to choose from yet, but vendors were selling breads, pies, dog treats, eggs, cheese, jams, etc. They also lacked a variety of samples. Spice spotted the only offering and dug right in, then tried for seconds. Why hasn’t her mother taught her any class?

This is where I out myself. Ice Princess does really have a heart. She only plays the mean cold bitch on TV. I felt bad for these people. There were only a few other customers, and I felt so sorry for the vendors spending their time, selling their wares and no one was really buying. They are our neighbors, trying to run their own businesses and it breaks my heart when I hear of local growers closing up shop because they can’t make ends meet. So we bought stuff. We pissed through the cash I had on hand like we were drunken sailors at some exotic port of call. We bought dog treats, jam, bread, seasoned seaweed salt (from the sample lady, I was totally obligated) and some chocolate dipped marshmallows with pretzel sticks. We bought from nearly every single vendor. I congratulate myself for not going near the vendor selling sweaters and scarves made of alpaca wool. Had I approached that stall, I surely would have walked away with a pashmina wrapped around my neck. Because I need a scarf in July.

EN was disappointed that he couldn’t come along with us, so I texted him to tell him how it went. I told him of my need to buy things because I felt obligated. Wouldn’t you know, the nicest guy in the world has exactly the same issue? No wonder we live in a house full of random weird shit. No wonder he has a second motorcycle that doesn’t run, bought from a coworker in poor health. God forbid Mr. and Mrs. Kindheart ever win the lottery. We’ll just be sprinkling money all over everyone else. At least the freeloaders in our families will benefit.

Ice Princess