This week’s Spin Cycle topic is laughter, so here is a list of things I think are funny:

  • The Princess Bride (No more rhymes now, I mean it! Anybody want a peanut?)
  • Airplane (We have clearance, Clarence. Roger, Roger. What’s our vector, Victor?)
  • This clean joke: So there were two muffins in an oven, and one muffin turns to the other and says, “Wow, it’s hot in here!” and the other muffin says, “OH MY GOD, IT’S A TALKING MUFFIN!!!”
  • The book Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. Pure genius.
  • These television shows: Flight of the Conchords, Arrested Development, Futurama.

And this:

I am such a child.

The Great Outdoors!

This week’s Spin Cycle is all about the great outdoors. Train Guy and I love the great outdoors. He’s a little more hard-core than I am. I think this is because he grew up camping with his parents whereas I most definitely did not.

My parents’ idea of “roughing it” is, like, a Motel 6. Or no, actually this one family trip we took to Jackson Hole, WY, the power went out in the hotel and each little drawer had a candle in it and my brother and I thought it was all very cool and exciting but my parents were a bit disgruntled because by the time we got to the lodge, the coffee was gone and there was no power to make more. THAT was roughing it.

One time when I was very young, my parents borrowed a friend’s RV and we went “camping” somewhere. My dad caught pneumonia, and to this day he insists on blaming the RV (too cold? bad night vapours? I dunno). Every single time I would bring up camping after that, Dad would say, “We WENT camping, and I got pneumonia, remember?”

Yes Dad, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the two events were related.

The majestic beauty of Yosemite

But there is one epic great outdoors experience my family had that will live on in infamy forever–our trip to Yosemite. We’ve actually been to Yosemite a couple of times, but this was the last time, and we don’t even need to identify it in conversation. It’s just, “Remember that time in Yosemite?” and everyone knows which time THAT time was. I was in high school and my brother was in his first year at college. It was Thanksgiving break so we headed out to the great outdoors for a nice family trip. We stayed at a hotel just outside Yosemite Valley (that point becomes important later) and it was really quite bucolic. We took a horseback riding trip where you stopped halfway through and made steaks over a campfire. I thought it was awesome, but Dad? Well let’s just say that Dad ever getting on a horse again is pretty much just as likely as him sleeping in an RV. REMEMBER THE PNEUMONIA??? Right, Dad, I remember.

Anyway, so there were some wildfires going on in the area at the time–nothing major (we thought), but the entrance into Yosemite Valley nearest our hotel (which you might remember was just outside Yosemite Valley) was closed, so we drove around and went in a different entrance. We had a lovely day enjoying ourselves–we rented bikes, did some hiking, whatever, but upon returning to our car to go back to the hotel, it seemed like there were a lot of people milling around. Like, A LOT.

As it turned out, those fires that weren’t a big deal turned out to be kind of a big deal. They blocked the only remaining exit, so we were stuck for the night. And sadly, we were pretty much the last four people in the entire Yosemite Valley to have been informed of this, because everyone went out and booked every cabin and room and tent and whatever was available for the night so when we went to do it, there was nothing for us.

Ladies and gentlemen, we slept in the minivan.

No room at the inn

Yes, my father, the man who claims that an RV gave him pneumonia, actually slept in our family minivan. Dad was in the driver’s seat, mom was in the passenger, my brother had the middle row (plus the cooler next to the door to prop his feet up on) and I had the back row. Now, I had a couple good advantages going on. One, I’m short, so the back row was relatively comfortable for me. And two, because we’d left home at some godawful time in the morning on our way to the park, I brought along my blanket and pillow. I was more than happy to hog both of these items, but my parents made me give one to my brother (I gave him the pillow).

When the park ranger told us that we had to sleep in our car and directed us to the area of the parking lot where everyone else who didn’t get the message in time were also sleeping in their cars, I kind of expected my dad to pull out the RV/pneumonia thing, but as I recall, he took it like a man. An unhappy man, who kept repeating that we HAD a hotel and it was just outside Yosemite Valley. But a man, nonetheless.

At any rate, we all snuggled up (so to speak) and then at dark o’thirty in the morning, we were scared out of our minds by the forest ranger tapping on our windshield saying that it was time to evacuate. Sadly, my dad’s foot had become wedged under the brake pedal, and after a considerable amount of effort to remove it, found that the foot was completely nonfunctional, so Mom had to drive us out.

It was kind of surreal, driving this narrow road with active fires on both sides of the road, but we made it out. And thank goodness we had a lovely hotel all lined up, right outside of Yosemite Valley.

Like I said, it’s the vacation that went down in infamy.

And despite sleeping in a vehicle, my dad did not contract pneumonia a second time.

Catch some more Spin over at Sprite’s Keeper!


This week’s Spin Cycle is Respect, and I’ll admit I’ve been having a hard time trying to pinpoint what I want to talk about. Like, we all want our children to be respectful, of both adults and other children, but we don’t want them to become mindless followers who don’t think for themselves. Where do you draw the line between respecting your elders (so to speak) and appropriately questioning authority, like if we have a second incarnation of Hitler or something? I truly hope that Mouse grows up to be someone who can follow his conscious, particularly if he’s being asked to do something wrong, even if it’s by an adult he’s supposed to be respecting. But who wants to raise a defiant, entitled spoiled brat? And where does respect intersect with things like politeness, manners, and just plain common sense? Want about inclusivity and tolerance? Respect and compassion?
How the heck do we raise kids to be all these things when I can’t even really define respect myself?!

For more R-E-S-P-E-C-T, head over to Sprite’s Keeper for the Spin Cycle!

Under Pressure

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I hate those blogs and websites that start playing music automatically (I’m looking at you, Disneyland, and not just because I can see your fireworks from my back porch). So rather than that, I’m putting you in control of the music! Press play and then continue reading…

This week’s Spin Cycle over at Sprite’s Keeper is about stress, and you know, everyone talks about stress like it’s a bad thing. Because it is. I mean, every mom is intimately familiar with stress, and the mere mention of the word tends to force litanies to spew forth from maternal mouths everywhere about how, well, stressed we are. Not to mention the havoc it wrecks on our bodies. We get stomach aches and headaches (or worse–migraines!). In a cruel twist of irony, stress begets insomnia, robbing us of precious sleep just when we need it the most. The irritability, moodiness, frustration, overwhelmed feelings, and often depression makes us perfect candidates for “asking our doctor” about that drug with the peppy name (what was that called again?). Or my personal favorite–canker sores, not to be confused with cold sores (canker sores are not caused by a virus and are the ones that happen inside of your mouth, often brought on by stress). I could go on and on, but instead I’d like to talk about a different effect of stress–stress that brings out the best in us.

Are you enjoying David Bowie, by the way? Thank my friend Colette.

Anyway, I’m going to take a moment to brag here and just say that I am awesome in catastrophic situations–earthquakes, tornadoes, house floods, that kind of thing. I’m not so great at ordinary, every day stressors, but if a plane crashes into your living room, I’m the gal you want doing triage and crowd control in your driveway. No, really. Like remember Y2K, the Disaster That Never Happened? Well, it didn’t happen to most people, but my parents were vacationing in Australia and right before the clocks flipped to midnight and a new millenia began, the water company servicing their house cut back on the supply, so if the world ended or if their electronic equipment failed, they wouldn’t all drown. Or whatever. But then, of course, they turned the water full-force back on, which blew a gasket under the bathroom sink of my parents’ vacant house and proceeded to flood their unattended home for about 10 hours before I happened to swing by.

I’m glossing over the part of the story where I actually lived out of town but was down for the New Year, and was so horribly hungover I decided to go crash on the couch at my parents’ empty and quiet house and watch the Rose Parade or something.

Instead there was a flurry of excitement as I got a neighbor to turn off the water main, called the fire department and then one of those cleaning crew people, and dialed my parents in Australia at whatevero’clock in the morning to say, “Hi Dad! Happy New Year! Now don’t panic–I just need to know who your homeowner’s insurance agent is.” And once the crisis was solved, I patted myself on the back, took some ibuprofen, and took a 12-hour nap at my friend’s house.

A pressure cooker, for when you don't have all day

You know, when a disaster happens, some people completely flip out in the moment, and others jump into problem-solving mode, get sh*t done, and freak out later. I’m the second kind. So is my mother, actually. Maybe that’s where I got it from.

But I’ve also found that a lot of moms are the second kind.

Yes, we’re stressed. Yes, little things can get to us. Sometimes our lives get so overwhelming. Sometimes we’ve been up with the newborn for so long it’s impossible to tell who is crying harder–Mom or the baby. Sometimes we scream at bystanders (varying degrees of innocence) over what seem like truly minor things. But when push comes to shove and everything goes to hell, you know who I want by my side? A mom.

Also, emergency personnel. And my husband.

But definitely a mom. Because even if we can’t fix everything, and we really can’t, no matter how hard we try, moms know how to pick up the pieces at the end. And this, I think, is what stress brings out in us. That ability to weather a storm and still have a tissue to share and a shoulder for a friend to cry on. Moms get stressed, but we also thrive and sometimes do our best work under pressure. I think that’s one of the true talents of a mom.

So if you’re rattled by an earthquake or just watched a tornado pass by or your house has flooded, give me a call. I’ve been there, done that, and I’m great under pressure.

The Scrivener

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Spin Cycle: Quotable Quotes

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Thanks everyone for playing along! Correct answers are in bold below!

I just love the Spin Cycle over at Sprite’s Keeper, but I rarely get a post up in time. So I’m getting an early start! This week’s Spin Cycle topic is quotations. Don’t we all love quotations? We use several in our daily lives in this house. See if you can identify them. First one to get them all right wins…my praise and admiration.

However, if you want to win a real prize, it’s not too late to enter our Conveniently Green Giveaway!

On to the quotes:

  1. You know those times where there’s a certain stink in the air, so you A) lift your child up to take a whiff at his bottom (something I swore I would never do), or B) pull back the diaper to take a peek, or C) actually get the kid in changing position only to find an empty diaper? We call those moments, “Sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Macbeth
  2. When something turns out to be a much heftier task than anticipated (such as a major diaper blowout): “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” Jaws, of course!
  3. Got any cash? “I WANT MY TWO DOLLARS!” Better Off Dead
  4. “It’s business time” Flight of the Conchords
  5. When trapped in the snow: “[Name] lay there like a slug. It was his only defense.” A Christmas Story
  6. “I wouldn’t touch that with a thirty-nine-and-a-half-foot-pole” How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  7. “Mutha Ucka!” Flight of the Conchords again
  8. “I wish you could meet my girlfriend, my girlfriend who lives in Canada” (or just shortened to “He’s the kind of guy who has a girlfriend in Canada”) Avenue Q–see it!
  9. “And now, a commercial directed toward the elderly” This was a very brief one-liner in a recent episode of 30 Rock when Jack is on the tv talk show.
  10. “That’s what she said” The Office

Take your best guesses, and leave your own favorite quotes in the comments!

Head over to Sprite’s Keeper for some more Spin Cycle.

The Scrivener