30 July 2011

Some random pictures since I can't be bothered with a real post

It's been a strange week.  That's all I have to say really.  In lieu of a Wednesday post which is approximately 3 days late, here's a collection of photographs from over the years.  Yes, I was a lot thinner back then.

 This is me playing tambourine (badly) at the Harp in 2001. 

This is myself and Jeffity Jeff Jeff at Champions in 2001.  We switched hats.  Yes, I know I owned the lame hat.

This is my father who will smoke cigars in the rain if the moment calls for it.

Lemmer, myself and Beefsteak - still at Champions in 2003...or 2004. 

My sister and I at some museum before she left for a 6 month stint in Australia.

My cousins Sean and Shannon - and me (hence the shirt).  I was 58 here and collecting Social Security.

San Fransisco 2008

My favorite picture of Beth and me of all time.  I just remember laughing until my stomach hurt...and I don't even know what was so funny.

With all group shots, I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb here.  But maybe you'll be distracted by what was considered fashion in the 90's.

Japan - 2002

Colorado - 1993  (That's a Dead Milkmen t-shirt under that thrift store blazer - rwoar!)

Milwaukee Airport - don't even ask me what I was thinking with that hat.  All I know is that I'm laughing so much because I'm actually stuck.

Every Sunday in my early CA days,  I used to go to Studio Cafe on Balboa to drink blue drinks with whomever decided to show up.   I envy my own tan.

Just to round things up, here's my son on his first bus ride. 

I'll have a proper post later this week.  I swear.

21 July 2011

We should all come with subtitles

For every busy week there is an utterly dull one and I’m afraid this is one of those weeks. I think the most exciting thing we did this past week was to see Harry Potter in the theater (sorry, cinema). Honestly getting out of the house is such a hassle sometimes that getting to see anything at the theater (sorry, cinema) has kind of become a big deal. Anyhow, I am an unashamed Harry Potter fan so I can boldly say that I enjoyed the movie (sorry, film) very much and yes, I did cry. If you read my last post, I suppose this doesn’t mean that much as I tend to cry at everything these days. Don’t even get me started about when I realized that we were out of vodka the other night.

We did also go to Andy’s cousin’s house for a child’s birthday party on Saturday. This is the first time that I’ve semi-socialized with strangers of the general British public in months. I say “semi” as it was a child’s birthday party and children tend to butt in at all points in conversation. I did realize at that party that my social skills have gone to utter crap in the last 5 months and that the general British public still thinks that Americans are unquestionably the Kings of Fat – ignoring of course their populations expanding waistlines (and can you blame them for the quality of chocolate here?). The highlights of my attempts at socializing were as follows:

1) I actually uttered the words, “Oh thanks mate!” in that offended but not really offended tone of voice. This was said in response to the Americans=Fat conversation but what makes this a highlight is that I used the word ‘mate’. I was utterly mortified about it once it left my lips. I don’t use the word ‘mate’ because it’s not in my American vocabulary. I might say “Aye Aye Matey” when I board a sea faring vessel because I’m obnoxious like that, but I don’t say ‘mate’. I tend not to even use the word when I’m discussing copulation by the animal kingdom which surprisingly I do all the time.

2) I still can’t understand half of what people are saying to me as when real live British people speak, they don’t have subtitles running under their heads like the people on television do. Yes, I run the subtitles pretty much constantly when I’m watching TV here. I used to blame this on Henry crying all the time so I couldn’t hear the TV properly, but now I just do it because I’m to lazy to listen that hard. I KNOW. This brought me in a world of hurt as at some point during the conversation on Saturday someone said something to me that apparently was very funny in regards to my accent (as everyone around me cracked up) but I didn’t understand a word of what he said so I just laughed along. I figured it was a better response then whacking him up side the head with the birthday cake platter. Err on the side of caution and all that. Of course when I asked Andy about it later he said he couldn’t remember the comment. Likely story!

3) I still need to get used to being greeted by the semi-hug, kiss on the cheek thing. I always forget and give the full American bear hug. I also turn my face all weird when receiving the kiss (giving them a good sniff of my hair) and of course forgetting to kiss back until it’s too late and end up kissing empty air right in front of the person who has already pulled away. I hope you can imagine that in your head because I’m sure it looks fabulous.
Not to be tried by Americans.

And that was the highlights of my week. Exciting hey? On an unrelated note, if you have a baby and they are nearing 3 months of age, get them one of these LifeFactory teethers. Like, right now. We got ours as a shower gift and it’s now on Henry’s list of All Time Favorite Things: Food, sleep, clean shorts and Ringy. That’s what we call this thing – Ringy. I’d like to point out that LifeFactory has not asked me to endorse their products – because they wouldn’t like what I’d have to say about their entirely useless, overpriced, hard to wash bottle – but the teether? Life saver. Get one. It’s cheap too, so you know, bonus.

 Get in there mate!


14 July 2011

Magical Festival Playgroup...or something

So, it’s been a busy week. It actually ceased being a busy week on Monday but I was too damn tired to write about it yet. For easy reading, I have broken up the week’s tidbits into sections.

SECTION ONE: Where Andrea and Roland come to visit and I do touristy shit

Andrea is my oldest friend from California. Roland is her English (from the Isle of Wight) husband. They have a 7-year old son, Oliver, as well as two of the most well behaved teenage boys I’ve ever met in my life that they are legal guardians of. The 5 of them decided to grace us with their presence during their month long whirlwind tour of the UK. Andrea and Roland are teachers so they have the much envied summers off to do this. (!!!) We met up with them for dinner at their B and B last Thursday and on Friday I met up with them solo to do Liverpool’s famous Magical Mystery Tour. If you haven’t guessed, it’s a tour focused on the Beatles – driving past where they lived and grew up.

Find the boy that is screaming in his head, "Please don't make me get on that bus!"

Now, I’m a Beatles fan but I’m not a fanatic. I think it’s pretty cool that we live a few blocks away from Penny Lane but I honestly couldn’t tell you if the Sgt. Pepper album came out before Yellow Submarine. That said, this tour would probably be the shiznik (that’s a real word spell check!) for a die hard fan but I was pretty much bored shitless (Though I thoroughly enjoyed sitting next to Andrea for two hours shooting the shit. That’s not something I get to do very often anymore). I also felt bad for Andrea’s brood. I think as a kid if someone tells you that you’ll be going on a Magical Mystery Tour you would fully expect to see something magical or at least a bit mysterious – you wouldn’t expect to be sitting on a bus for two hours looking at houses that look just like all the other houses because some dead guy lived there, like, a BILLION years ago. We did get to see Strawberry Fields which I had always sort of questioned if it was a real place but as Andrea’s eldest said, “where are all the strawberries?” I felt a bit disappointed that there wasn’t – strawberries that is – even though I know damn well they are in season right now.

Seriously, where are the strawberries?

I turned Oliver into a SuperLambanana fan.

After the tour, we all headed back to our place where we met up with Andy, Andy’s sister, and Andy’s mum. Andy’s mum was generous (read: fucking brave) and offered to baby-sit the under 18’s while the grown ups went out for a few drinks. We went to the Penny Lane Wine Bar (note: this area doesn’t allow pubs so pubs, like the Penny Lane Wine Bar, will call itself a “wine bar” when we all fucking know it’s a pub)(just so you don’t think we are pompous types that like hanging out in “wine bars” discussing our stock portfolios). The 5 of us sat outside shooting the shit and I had a marvelous time even though it was too short of time and we were being rained upon. But we were back early – very much sober and responsible – and Andrea and family parted ways. I miss her and them very much already.

 Andrea and Sal

Roland and Andy

SECTION TWO: Where we go to the Crosby Festival and I don’t puke

On Sunday Andy, Henry and I drove up to Crosby to meet Andy’s mum and sister to go to the Crosby Festival. I have probably mentioned my love of festivals and I was pretty excited to see how the English do things. Having only been to one English festival now, what I’m about to say is probably terribly inaccurate of ALL English festivals, but let’s pretend that the Crosby Festival represents ALL English festivals – just because we can.

The first difference I noticed between how the English do things and how the Americans do things is the lack of food here in England. The festival was of pretty good size (about twice the size of a church festival for comparison sake for my Wisconsin folk) but it only had one van selling ice cream and another, slightly larger van, selling hot dogs, burgers and chips. No cotton candy, no corn on the cob, no funnel cakes (!!!). They also only had a single van selling beer – but you had to stay in the roped area around the van to drink your beer, you couldn’t wander around with it. Had I realized that I wouldn’t have ordered the large pint of beer – only to slam it when the natives (read: Mum and sis) were getting restless. Anyhow, they have the same impossible to win carnival\church festival games including one where the prize was a real live coconut. A coconut! (Having no idea what I would do with a coconut, I decided not to play). I did play one game where you pull tickets out of a spin-y thing and if your number matches the number on one of the prizes, you win said prize – and managed to win 2 prizes, some lotion and an Elvis puzzle. An Elvis puzzle! What luck!

In the center of the festival, they had the live entertainment which ranged from show dogs to high school dancers wearing leopard print swimsuits to men with chainsaws making surprisingly awesome furniture in 5 minutes.

Oh! And they had elephant rides. Yes, elephant rides! At a small little English festival even!

Right before we left, Andy and I decided to go on the ‘Sizzler’. The ‘Sizzler’ is your typical spin spin spin make you sick carnival rides – the kind of ride I love the best. We paid our two quid each, put my sunglasses in my purse, and sat myself in the ‘car’ to be the one who got squished by all the g-force. Had I have known that the English, not paranoid about pesky lawsuits and the whatnot, would spin that ride faster and longer then I thought was possible for a carnival ride I would not have sat in the ‘being squished’ seat, nor would have put my purse (with sunglasses) between Andy and myself. It’s been a good long while since I’ve felt sick from being on a ride. I didn’t puke, but I did pretend to.

SECTION THREE: Where I took Henry to play group and cried

This past Wednesday I decided to take the Henbot to a play group. This wasn’t because I particularly wanted to sit in a semi-circle with 30 other women and infants singing song after song about “fishies”. I went because I got paranoid while filling out Henry’s baby book and it got to the part in which I was suppose to list Henry’s current play mates and all I was could list was the cat (which is a farce really, since the cat doesn’t “play” and more just “bites” and “scratches”). So I swallowed the last of my pride at ever being cool again and went.

It was exactly how you would think play group to be. The infants were doe eyed and smiley. There were songs and clapping and “ooohs” and “aaaaahs”. There was a little pool filled up with a half inch of water to splash in. And yes, there were puppets. Henry loved it all. I imagine that if he knew how to talk he would say something profound about it, like, “I never knew it could be like this.” *Sigh* We’re going again next week.

Oh yes, I did mention that I cried. I didn’t cry buckets. I more cried like the cry you do when you see that stupid fucking Sarah McClaughlin commercial for abused animals and it gets to the part where the wee kitten has its one eye sewn shut and all of a sudden you want to save all the animals in all the lands – even the ones that don’t need saving really – and waaaaaaah! I cried like that. I don’t know why. I seriously don’t know why. Was it my child was happy cry? Was it “I’m finally out of the house” cry? It’s hard to say. I suspect it was a tearful good-bye to my ability to ever look anyone of my childless friends in the face again cry. But that’s just a theory.

04 July 2011

Britian's Newest Cheesehead

So I went to America and it was good.  I’m not really going to say much about America as I’m pretty sure 99.9% of my readers are either American or have at least been to America themselves.  Besides, it was a trip to Wisconsin to show off my son to all my family and friends. There’s very little to describe.  I will however give you the Total Flying with an Infant Experience and display a bunch of photographs of Henry with various members of my family as that is all I apparently took pictures of.   I know, right?  Three weeks absent from the blog and that’s what I’m giving you.   No wonder no one leaves me comments anymore.


STEP ONE: Pack one ginormous suitcase filled with all of your clothes, all of your infant’s clothes and any spare room you might have, fill up with chocolate and other assorted British delights.   Pack your carry on (which once held your PSP, games, gigantic headphones, and 3 books that you never read because the PSP is so awesome) with just enough diapers, formula, bibs and bib cloths to last you and your infant a half a day and wonder why there isn’t enough room for just a single book (not that you’ll need it).

STEP TWO: Arrive at the Manchester airport and check in.  You will be told your bag is overweight but they’ll let it slide.  You will ask for the bassinet that’s first come\first serve (the number one reason you have come to the airport 3 hours before your flight) only to be told that this particular airplane doesn’t have bassinets.  Ticket lady will tell you that she will try to get you an empty seat so you can take the car seat on the plane.  She will also confirm that it is absolutely OK to bring your honking ass stroller all the way to the gate and they will load it there.

STEP THREE: Say good-bye to your husband and panic.

STEP FOUR: Make it through security with barely a nerve intact.  There will be a point where you will be wearing one shoe, grasping your screaming infant, trying to tell the security person how to collapse the stroller more (which you have to use two hands for and you will be trying to demonstrate only using one hand and a screaming baby) and wondering why you suddenly don’t care that your precious laptop is just SITTING THERE waiting to be stolen if someone – please fucking god – someone doesn’t help you soon.  Security will also make you open half of the formula bottles you have which means that 2 of the bottles will go bad before you can use them.

STEP FIVE: Buy Duty Free.  Eat sandwich.  Get decaf coffee.  Feed and change infant.  Pray infant stays asleep.

STEP SIX: 15 minutes until boarding, confirm with agent that you do in fact have a spare seat next to you and it’s OK to bring on car seat.   You will be so grateful, you almost make out with agent.

STEP SEVEN: Get on plane and sit for 8 hours.  Infant will handle flight better than you do (if you are particularly afraid of flying) and will only cry when hungry (normal).  Infant will also give you strange look during landing when you are grabbing on to anything available, letting out a yelp if the plane does so much as a slight turn. 

STEP EIGHT: Safely on the ground in America, kiss infant repeatedly telling him that you are so happy that his little life didn’t get cut short by a fiery plane crash and if we do die in a fiery plane crash on the way back, at least he will have seen a cheese curd.

 Henry is extremely disappointed the in flight movie is "Country Strong"


STEP ONE:   Pack your ginormous suitcase with all of your clothes, all of your infant’s clothes and the 80 billion new baby outfits acquired from relatives and trips to Target and Old Navy.   Shove in a jumbo bag of Cheetos for husband and all the other Target swag gathered over the week.

STEP TWO: Arrive at Chicago O’Hare and check in.   Bag will be 8 pounds overweight and they will charge you $60.   There still won’t be any fucking bassinets.   Agent will say it’s unlikely there’s a spare seat next to you.  Oh, and by the way, you’re stroller will be 10 pounds over the suggested limit and you won’t be able to take it to the gate.  This means your infant will ride in his car seat on one of those baggage trolleys making you look like the most white trash mother ever.

STEP THREE:  Go outside and smoke 4 cigarettes in a row from pure stress.  Really nail in that white trash mother image.

STEP FOUR: Go through security.   Basically this will be a repeat from Manchester but Chicago has this awesome device that can check formula and food bottles for drugs, explosives and any illegal immigrant you might have hiding in one.  

STEP FIVE: Change infant in airport bathroom and see the largest cockroach known to man.   All women in said bathroom will scream like little girls…including yourself.

STEP SIX:  Board plane with car seat.  Once on plane realize that not only is there not a spare seat next to you, but the agent fucked up and sat you in the middle of two gigantic old men instead of the aisle seat as requested. 

STEP SEVEN:  Panic.  Begin crying.  Realize that there is no way that you will be able to handle sitting in between two fat old men with an infant for 8 hours.   Air hostess will try to help but your panic is so bad that you start moaning, “Let me off this plane, let me off this plane, I need to get off, I need to be off this plane.”

STEP EIGHT: Actually get off plane.

STEP NINE: Go to agent and ask if there’s any way to change the flight.  You will be told no.  Try to explain baby situation in between two fat dudes to agent through rivers of tears.  Agent said that the best you can do is try to convince one of the fat dudes to sit in the middle seat in the row opposite.  Realize this will never happen but know that you will have to get on that fucking plane and suck it up fuck up.

STEP TEN: As you are about to try to squeeze yourself and your infant in between the two old fat dudes (and almost knocking one of them out with the car seat you are still carrying), agent will run aboard the plane and let you know that two people didn’t show up for the flight and THANK YOU FUCKING JAYSUS there are two seat together to move you and your infant to.   She will also say sarcastically as she leaves, “You really need to buy an extra seat next time.”   Sarcastically say back, “Next time I’ll bring my husband.”  Plane passengers will chuckle.

STEP ELEVEN: You will realize that you’ve actually held the plane up with your dramatics.   Your infant will sense how unpopular you are and will scream for the first hour and a half just to help out.

STEP TWELVE: Infant falls asleep finally and you have a glass of wine on Xanax. 

I hope you have learned something from these editions – and not just that I can be a right pain in the ass if things aren’t going my way.

And now, the pictures:

Auntie Shannon and Uncle Adam

Morning exercises with Grandpa

Henry loves the ladies - mainly Auntie Maggie and Grandma

Two best friends and their babies

He really wanted to wear this home...

At Conejito's

Henry and the Milwaukee skyline

What happens when I leave my sister and brother to babysit.

I grew up in this house.  I was too chicken shit to knock on the door and ask for a tour.

Calm before the big ass storm.

My cousin and aunt drinking Baileys through a Twizzler licorice stick.

Ten days of heavy eating and drinking and my double chin is unavoidable.  Ach well, last day out sans baby hanging with Jeffity Jeff Jeff.

"I miss daddy!"

Being back in Wisconsin was great.  By day three I no longer needed a belt to hold up my pants.   I had Mexican food at least 4 times.  I went to Target no less than 5 times.  I drove…that’s it, just drove (I miss driving).  I marveled how cheap everything was yet I took awhile to get used to tipping again.  I wore shorts every single day.   I put half & half in my coffee.  I refused to touch any chocolate as I now know it’s inferior.   Two words: Ranch Dressing.  And the weirdest thing of all, I was practically elated to see a toilet bowl filled up half way.   I know, right?

 What?  He chose this outfit himself.  I swear.  And put up the background.  Really.  Just to wish you all a happy 4th.