Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Introducing Mustard Skywalker

Last week when Mustard and I were in Arizona, I sat my slacker family down and said, "Listen. I've been to all of the malls here. Arizona no longer holds any mystery for me. There's only one thing left in this state that I need to see. Tomorrow morning, we're all getting up early and we're going to the Grand Canyon."

"But it's really far!" they cried.

"No matter." I responded coolly. "I've made an executive decision. Mustard, prepare yourself. Tomorrow we're going to the Sky Walk. It's this cool glass bridge that extends, unsupported mind you, out over the Grand Canyon. And it's got a glass floor so you can look down like 4000 feet. It's going to totally freak us out!"

Mustard's little head whipped around so fast he almost twisted off his safety seal, "Did you say Sky Walk?" I nodded. "So once we go on this thing, we will be 'Sky Walkers'?"

"Yeah, I suppose so."

"This is going to be so awesome! Road Trip! .... Star Wars style." And he skated off singing the Imperial March.

"Whatever you say, little dude." I said, rolling my eyes.

Accordingly, we got up bright and early and started out on our trek. Mustard hasn't gone on a road trip before and he enjoyed it. He played the license plate game, and slug bug, but most of all he liked sitting up in the front "with the men".

He loved to watch the GPS navigation map and say, "Stay on target! Stay on target!" And then my brother would chime in with, "UH! But I was going to go down to Tosche Station to pick up some power converters!"

I guess it's because he's only had me to hang out with (and heaven knows I'm no male role model) but he really bonded with my dad and brother. They had all kinds of man talk going on up in the front seat. Football, yard work, power tools. That kind of junk. It was good for him. And I was happy to let them jabber away up there, while I chatted with my mom in the back seat about sophisticated topics such as books and the rockin swing coat I got in Mexico.

Mustard especially took to my dad. Here they are when we stopped for sodas having a veritable father-son talk.

It really was a long drive, and the last TWENTY MILES on a dirt road didn't help any. But we finally arrived at Grand Canyon West.

The Hualapai Tribe runs the show charging a pretty penny, but ultimately delivering an enjoyable experience.

Mustard enjoyed the entertainment provided by this native dancer and flute dude. But he was disappointed that they wouldn't play "Freebird". I had to let him pick out a Dream Catcher from the gift shop before he perked up again.

We boarded a bus to take us to the various vista points: Eagle Point, the Sky Walk, and Guano Point.

For some reason Mustard kept saying "Guano" over and over again. "Guano. Guano. Haha. Guaaanoooo." He is such an idiot.

We arrived at the Sky Walk and had to relinquish ALL of our personal effects before being allowed to go out onto the bridge. But it was seriously cool! It was hard to realize just how high we were, with no cars or people below to put it all into perspective. But occasionally a hawk would be sailing around below and then I'd grip the rail a little tighter and say, "Damn kids, we're like crazy high! If we fell from here we'd definitely die." They don't call me Captain Obvious for nothing.

Here's the Sky Walk ...

It was all very peaceful as we enjoyed the canyon winds and the raw power of the nature below us. Peaceful, that is, until Mustard got out there.

"YOU ARE NOT MY FATHER!!!!" he cried making light saber noises and thrashing around all over the bridge.

"Mustard, what are you doing?"

"I'm fighting the Dark Side, woman!" more thrashing and saber thrusts. "And HELLO!" he paused his slide tackles to tell me sincerely, "My name is now Mustard SKYWALKER!"

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wherin Thanksgiving Inspires Me to Give Thanks

Thanksgiving Vacation is sadly, so sadly, coming to a close. Le sigh.

In a way I'm sort of happy to see it go. As far as Thanksgivings go it was a bit of a rough one for me.

It all started at about 3AM on Thursday morning when I woke up and said to myself, "You know, I could really go for a nice vomit right about now. That would really hit the spot."

This is weird for two reasons. First, it is against my religion to wake up in the middle of the night. Once I'm down, I'm down for the count. Second, puking my guts out isn't really my idea of a great way to spend, well, any amount of time really. And if it must be done, it should be done at a convenient time like when I'm at work or something. ("No, I will NOT rewrite that project proposal -- Baaaarrrfff! -- So there!") Puking should under no circumstances interrupt my precious sleep time.

So I was surprised at how nonplussed I was to trot down the hall to worship at the porcelain throne. I practically skipped there.

But even though the first trip was sort of my idea, my body took over after that and thought it was Great Fun to send me running, and I mean RUNNING whenever it thought I wasn't paying attention. The element of surprise was its favorite tactic, it seemed. From 3AM to 9AM my brother's house was turned into a track meet as I sprinted around corners and hurtled over couches in and effort to avert disaster.

So I spent much of the day in bed. It was essentially the Thanksgiving that was the opposite of all that Thanksgiving should be. No playing Mayflower with the kids that came over, no nonchalant picking in the stuffing, no decorative napkin folding. And most heart wrenching of all, no desire to eat so much I wanted to puke. Which is just wrong. So wrong.

And yet, oddly, I gave thanks. Many thanks, as a matter of fact.

I was thankful to be at my brother and sister-in-law's house for several reasons, but foremost among them was that since my SIL has been combating morning sickness they were well stocked with saltines and ginger ale. The closest thing I have at my house to invalid food is penne pasta and Diet Coke. I have no jello, no juice, no bread, not even any medicines that haven't passed their 'Use By' date. So I was thankful that I wasn't at my house where I would have ended up a dessicated husk of a person.

I was also extremely thankful to have so many hands on deck. I had a steady stream of people coming in to check on me. And I'm here to tell you, I may talk a big game about being a sassy independent single chick, but in the face of illness I'm a total wuss. I felt no shame about blatantly using my Mom to do the simplest things for me. I'd just lay there and yell, "Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom!" until she'd come check on me. And then I'd ask her to pass me my juice box. It's been a long time since I've been sick and had my Mom around to fuss over me (in that perfect not-too-fussy way that Moms have) and I took full advantage. I appreciated it so much I told her that I'd forgiven her for calling me the "weirdest of all of her weird children." And yes, I've forgiven her. But I have not forgotten. I will never forget. You hear me, Mother? Never! (Mostly because it's totally NOT TRUE! My brothers and sisters are so much weirder than I have ever been.)

So, all in all, it was a thankful Thanksgiving. Even though I wasn't thankful for normal things like a turkey leg and mountains of mashed potatoes and had to settle to be thankful for stupid stuff like 'good health' and a 'loving family'. Sheesh. Is that the lamest thing you've ever heard or what? Like I said, it was a rough Thanksgiving.

FYI, you'll be pleased to hear that Mustard wasn't put out by my illness. I caught him trying to make off with this pie while everyone was watching football.

Oh he tried to backpedal by telling me he was "bringing it to me because I didn't get any." I wasn't buying it, however. He wouldn't bring me pie if I were on my death bed. Fortunately for him, I didn't have the energy to stay mad at him, the little stinker.

I hope you all had just as Thankful if much less Pukey Thanksgiving as I did!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Polish Dog with Very Green Relish

Mmmmm. Lunchtastic!

America, it's time to talk about the dearth of excellent hot dog stands. It's not just for baseball games and NYC street corners anymore. The People need hot dogs.

Fortunately, there is at least one hot dog stand in Gilbert AZ doing its part to serve up a quality dog.

Step it up, America. Step it up. (You're not going to let GILBERT Arizona beat you on this one are you??)

By the way Good thing I'm eating every three hours here or I might have gorged myself on these. If I don't come home weighing 400 lbs it will be a minor miracle. Can you pass the tortillas?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Vacation Part Deux

What's this? I'm on vacation AGAIN?!? That's how it goes when you live the vida loca like I do.

This time I've jetted off to Phoenix, AZ for a little Thanksgiving hoedown.

Some notes from my travels today:

  • I saw a middle aged woman in a CareBears sweatshirt (not really surprised since I was in the Midwest. I expect that sort of thing there. Just as I expect the scrunchies per capita to go through the roof.)
  • I watched my first television show in HD. In my opinion HD reveals more pores than I'm really comfortable seeing. I like my television stars blurry enough to make me feel bad about myself.
  • FYI, I am a Majhong GENIUS! 23 games played, 21 games CONQUERED. Would FreeCell dare to enter the ring?

And finally, this isn't technically from today's travel ... but it should be noted. And since I'm talking travel, this is as good a spot as any.

  • On the flight down to Cancun last week, the woman I was sitting next to started using her cell phone while we were landing. I realize that while it is against the rules to use your cell phone on a plane it isn't technically the biggest catastrophe you're going to encounter. But if there is ever a time to not use you phone, you know JUST IN CASE something could go wrong, I think during the LANDING would be that time. I'm just sayin.

Happy Thanksgiving travels to you all! I'll be bringing you updates from my stint in the Grand Canyon State.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Available for Adoption

For a while now I've been getting email from a Hanson family that isn't MY Hanson family. At first I was mildly concerned that Gmail was sending another Gretchen Hanson's mail to me accidentally. But then I saw this little note next to my address on the message:

And since everyone knows that Google doesn't make mistakes, I stopped worrying about it.

For the most part, they seem like a pretty normal family, sending notes about Halloween and Christmas visits and whatnot. I kept thinking I should let them know that Google thinks that I'm their Gretchen Hanson, but the messages are infrequent and devoid of any real personal information. It hardly seemed worth the effort. And honestly part of me wanted to see if anything interesting like Halloween pictures showed up. Then yesterday this exchange came through, and I can't say how happy I am that my inner voyeur won out.

First Ashleigh sent this message to the whole family about her boyfriend Jason not coming home with her for Christmas:

Hey family!

Not sure if or what you all were planning on getting Jason for Christmas this year, but just an FYI that he won’t be coming to Seattle this year (Please, hold back the tears
) so if you happen to get something that’s bigger than a gift card and don’t want to make me lug it on the plan back to LA (Please don’t!) feel free to ship it to our place via my attention. Just shoot me an email telling me its coming so I know to keep an eye out for it. I’ll wrap it and tell him who it’s from when we do our own Christmas the weekend of New Years. Sound good?

Next message from Ashleigh. (This one just to the siblings, which apparently includes moi):

Hey siblings-

Omigosh. I just got the BIGGEST email from dad regarding the email I just sent to everyone saying that Jason wasn’t coming to Seattle for Christmas. Apparently he thought my comment about “Holding back the tears” was my way of telling you all that Jason feels like an outsider…not quite sure how he got that, but it’s hard to interpret emails…so I just wanted to clarify with you all that that was NOT what I was trying to say. I was just trying to be funny. Jason’s not coming to Seattle for Christmas; it’s really not a big deal so I’m not expecting anyone to be upset. Dad seriously just sent me a HUGE email talking about all of the significant others of his generation in the family and how people have treated them like outsiders…goodness gracious! Can’t a girl be funny anymore!

So hopefully none of you guys interpreted my email as Dad did

See you all in a little more than a month!
Peace Out.

Brother Dave replies:
I just wanted to take this opportunity to tell you so you can tell Jason...that he is an outsider. We're all very happy that he is not coming to Seattle. The city is happy that he is not coming back. It's just better that way. We all feel that outsiders should remain outside. Mom even told me she'd rather spend seven Christmas' in a row at her place with Dad than have Jason back in Seattle.

And no. A girl can't be funny anymore. Not now, not ever. Girls aren't funny. They're not good at it. Nor are they good at sports, politics or thinking. That's man's work.

With Love,
Your brother
Brother Nate chimes in with:
Amen. I am not concerned with Jason's feelings at all...if in fact he even has feelings. I know a guy who loves to say, "Stop're hurting my feeling." Because he says he only has one.

Anyway, Dad's a tender flower sometimes. Let's all get him tissues for Christmas in case he gets misty-eyed over Jason not being here this year.

Low five,
From Brother Dave:
I'm getting Dad tissues, a sweater with Jason's face stitched in the front made from 100% pure emotion and a years supply of dance studio passes
No disrespect to my biological family, but will this family PLEASE PLEASE adopt me? I know they already have one Gretchen Hanson but surely there is room for another! They like witty banter, I like witty banter! Think of the happy funny times we can have together!

Please. Adopt me.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Yo Soy Mostaza

Mustard had a blast in Mexico. He was off and running from the second we got off the plane exploring the beach and making friends with the locals. He certainly didn't need me to shuttle him around. I barely saw him, actually.

His favorite thing at the beach was climbing the palm trees. He thought it was hilarious to perch up there and holler out "Yo Soy MOSTAZA!" at all of the people lounging below. Mostaza, which is Spanish for Mustard, rhymes with Mufasa. And he loved saying it all Lion Kingy. Over and over again. It was SO annoying.

I was like, "Yo Doofus, I'm trying to take a nap down here. You're driving me crazy!" He wasn't about to let me rain on his parade so he gave me a cold look and said, "I'm sorry, am I confusing you? I am not 'Doofus'. YO. SOY. MOSTAZAAAAAA!" And then he doubled over laughing at how hilarious he thinks he is.

He has no respect for me. None whatsoever.

After an insufferable amount of time, he gave up the tree (and the shouting) and decided to get a game of Soccer going with some of the local kids. He played goalkeep, and did a surprisingly good job for someone who is only 5" high and has no arms or legs.

After his game, he grabbed a fruity drink and chilled out. Thank goodness. It isn't often that he's quiet ...

I asked him if he wanted to go shopping with me. And surprisingly, he said yes. I didn't think he'd be interested in it at all. But he said he was up for it ... but only if we didn't look at lame chick stuff. I told him I wasn't making any promises, and to get his lazy butt up and come get ready.

Here we are on our way back to the room to get ready. Obviously, we're both actively Bringing Sexy Back.

(Just a side note - See my visor? It's pretty sweet, eh? I was napping on the beach one day, and Camie poked me with a stick and said, "Hey! Here comes your Club walking down the beach." Groggily I looked up, and said, "What? These 3 old women? In the visors?" She nodded. "You think that just because they have visors, and I have a visor that we're in the same club?" I asked. Obviously pleased with her joke she nodded again and said "Yup!" I said, "A of all, that is SO not my club. And Secondly, I can't believe you woke me up just to piss me off. You totally suck." Let me just say that one of us now has a burned forehead, and it isn't the person that had a VISOR.)

So Mustard, oh sorry - MOSTAZA - and I headed into town to check out the Mexican wares. By and large it was a bunch of junk. A fact that one vendor refreshingly acknowledged when he said, "Hey guys, there's more crap inside". I gave him points for honesty. Mustard started off strong, admiring these little bobble-head turtles. He thought they were adorable and he ran all over the display table trying to keep all of their heads bobbing!

He kept this up until the shop owner glared at me and said, "BASTA!" Which translated, means "STOP IT, you annoying Gringos." After that, Mustard had no interest in shopping, and he dragged along behind me as if this were the worst torture he had ever endured in his life.

I was just about to tell him that it was his choice to come, and if he didn't like it, he could try to make his way back to the hotel himself. And it would be pretty interesting seeing a bottle of mustard hail a bus, so good luck with that you little whiner-face. When suddenly he stopped dead in his tracks and breathed, "Soooooo AWWWESOME!!!" I turned to see what he was looking at and saw this:

"Mexico is the COOLEST country!" he cried. And since he was transfixed by this wrestling poster, I happily left him to stare at it while I finished my shopping.

Speaking of things that transfixed Mustard, he was ADDICTED to the MTV. I mentioned before that MTV plays videos all of the time in Mexico. Both Mustard and I couldn't get enough. Here Mustard is rockin to Kanye's "Stronger" video while we are getting ready to go out.

Now, you'd think that Mustard's night life would be a little dull. But, oh no, he went out practically every night. Hooking up with his "hombres". Seriously, he'd say that (he's such a nerd!) "I'm going out with my hombres tonight. I think we're going to that beach-side club we saw earlier. I hope there are some Honeys there." I was like, "Whatevah. Just so I don't have to bail you out of jail."

These are Mustard's "Hombres" ...

They're all a little too spicy for my taste. Trouble makers, every one of them. I prefer his American friends: Tartar, Ketchup, and Mayo. But I've given up trying to control Mustard ... he does what he wants when he wants.

So that's it. Mexico was AWESOME! Mustard stayed out of jail, didn't get detained by the HazMat people in and out of the country, and all in all made the trip even more fun. Not surprising since he always makes things more fun ... that's just how he rolls.

Mexico Requires Too Much Math

Even under the best of circumstances I'm not so great at math. I recently took an assessment test that asked me a lot of complicated math problems which I did quite handily, so it's not that I can't do math ... it's just that I CANNOT be bothered. I will only do math under extreme duress or if I am the only possible person available to do it. Usually I'll just stare at the dinner bill until someone just tells me how much I should leave for a tip, and Voila! doing math is avoided once again. So far this strategy has worked like a charm.

Camie isn't a mathematical wiz either (for a while there we were outsourcing our math to one another - I handled subtraction, while she had addition. It worked very well), so you can imagine my distress while in Mexico when we had to convert Real Money into Mexican Pesos for practically EVERY TRANSACTION. It was a special form of torture. And I don't mind telling you, I was a first class moron at it.

The conversion wasn't really that difficult - like 10% - the only percentage I can actually handle. But I could never figure out if it was up by 10% or down by 10%. It continued to eluded both Camie and me for the entire vacation. Secretly, I was glad it wasn't just me ... I hate being an idiot by myself. Here are a few examples of our bumbling. Just for your reference, 5 Dollars = 50 Pesos.

The first night at dinner our waiter brought his little hand held credit card machine to the table, which, incidentally, I really like from a security point of view. But it sure made my "stare at the bill until someone tells me how much to tip" strategy seem especially awkward. When it became apparent that I was on my own for this one I started looking for the Tax so I could double it. BUT THERE WAS NO TAX! (at least as far as I could see). The only option at this point -- much to my horror -- was guessing. Even at this point I wasn't about to do actual math. So I just looked up at him and asked $7?? I have no idea if that was even remotely close to 20%.

Out at the most sucky bar, Senor Frogs, Camie and I bought some RIDICULOUSLY expensive drinks. And, I was so proud of her, she accidentally gave the bartender a 30 CENT tip instead of a 3 dollar tip. The place was so sucky and the drinks so overpriced I felt that this was a case where bad Math was doing a good deed.
Camie haggled a vendor down to $15 dollars for some little presents, but then tried to only give them $1.50.
I tried to give a waiter a 500 peso tip, or $50, when really I wanted to give him $5.

Ugh. Don't these people know that when I'm ON VACATION the last thing I should be required to do is perform basic MATH? That's why I go on vacation, so I don't have to do anything I don't want to do! Duh.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Mexican Minutes

Here I am, blogging from the beach. Well the lobby actually. While lovely and charming in every other regard, our hotel doesn't have wireless access in the rooms. Y'all should feel extra special that I felt compelled to trek out to the lobby to bring you this little sneak peek into the trip so far. The lobby, as far as lobbies go, is pretty nice. It's an open air plan so I'm enjoying ocean breezes and a poolside view while I write this. But still, it's not as convenient as say writing from the balcony of my room. In my underoos.

Anyway ... the important thing here is that I'm in MEXICO!

A couple of interesting things about Mexico and me.

First, some of you know that I speak Spanish. This was a side effect of serving an LDS mission in Chile. Don't feel bad if you didn't know that I speak Spanish, it is a fact that I don't share readily. There are ample opportunities to hablar in my neighborhood, but I avoid it like the plague. It just isn't something I feel comfortable doing. But oddly enough, here in Mexico I'm proclaiming my Spanish skills far and wide. I am surprising myself at every turn as I chat up vendors and cabana boys in Spanish. In fact, the whole South America - Spanish thing is really taking me back to my mission experience. But in a good way, a reminiscent way. Not in a "get me the hell out of here right this minute" way.

Second weird thing about me in Mexico is my fixation with the time. In my normal life I don't care very much about the time. None of my clocks (except my VCR) say the right time. I don't wear a watch. I don't think I've been on time (whenever that is) to work in years. And I'm generally not too stressed if I'm late arriving at certain places. I just don't get all worked up about the time. You'd think that I would be thriving here in Mexico but I find myself wanting to know what time it is all of the time. Heaven forbid I don't know the exact hour and minute while I'm laying on the beach!

The fixation started on Saturday night when we got into our hotel and I couldn't figure out if my cell phone clock had updated with the time change or not. Was Cancun on Central Time? Do they do Daylight Savings? Does that make it one hour or two? There was no clock in the room to compare with, and so I had to count backwards to see if the pieces fit together. We'd arrived at 7 pm, and my clock said it was 10 pm ... had it really taken us 3 hours to get through customs, listen to the sales pitch offered to all naive tourists, and take a long shuttle ride? It seemed like 3 hours was too long, but where was the proof? (Let me also note that I was SERIOUSLY sleep deprived since I'd gone to bed at 5:30am the day before ... which is another story all of it's own.)

I felt like one of those time-deprived psychology experiments. I kept asking Camie what time she thought it was. Of course this did not drive her crazy at all. After going on at length about what time I suspected it was she threw up her hands, brushed the sand off and went and asked someone. We found out that my clock was one hour faster than the local time.

You would have thought that knowing the time would have made me calm down. But it didn't. Instead I started in telling her what we'd been doing at various times during the day. "That means we were on the beach by 9AM! We had gotten up at 6AM. We went to dinner at 5:30PM. We might as well have joined the Senior Tours Bus and gotten the early bird special." I cried.

Fortunately, we did not make that mistake today. Today it was out of bed at 9AM, on the beach at 10AM, and dinner at 8. Like normal people.

Also on the agenda for tonight is dancing. One great thing about Mexico is that MTV plays actual videos. We've been glued to it! It's got me totally ready to shake my bon bon. I can't remember the last time I saw a music video, let alone five or six in a row. Way to go Mexico!

Just for your information, Mustard is having a blast. I'll post pictures when we return on Wednesday. But the boy is all over the place.

Until then ... hasta! (see that Spanish? I just can't stop myself!)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Today I Am Thankful For

  • Seat warmers in the MINI. Most worth-it upgrade ever!
  • Swedish Indie-Pop Rock (Jens Lekman and Peter, Bjorn & John HOLLA!!)
  • That it's casual Friday so I'm wearing sneakers and my cool new Busted Tees t-shirt. Green is totally my color.
  • Lunch is coming up soon. I love lunch. Mostly because that means it's also Diet Coke time.

But as great as a Diet Coke will be, I'm even more thankful that in 24 hours I'll be on my way to Cancun for 5 days on the beach!! You know how I LOVE the beach. And you know how I love partying. And you know how I love laying around reading (which is how I'll be spending my time on the beach between fruity drinks and sand castle building). And I'm sure you can imagine how much I love being on vacation. So maybe if you roll all of these loves into one big giant LOVE BALL you will understand how very, very excited I am to go!

I'm bringing my laptop, and fully intend to do some "blogging from the beach". But if coverage is spotty ... well, I'm sure it won't be my fault. It would never be my fault.

Hasta chicos, nos vemos en Mexico! (No se habla?: See you foolios in lovely Mexico!)

(BTW, I was planning on taking Mustard along ... you know how fun he can be. But I'm not sure I'll share our antics, since y'all thought I was crazy. I haven't decided yet. Persuade me.)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

An Open Letter to My Lunch

Dear Salad,

Hi, it’s me. I’m really sorry I didn’t trust that you would be good. I should have trusted you. I don’t have much of an excuse for myself. I guess I’ve just been burned before. Pathetic, right? Especially considering your amazing ingredients! The pomegranate alone should have sealed the deal. Add in the crispy apple pieces, the pecans, and the goat cheese? Don’t even get me started on the goat cheese. How could I have doubted you when goat cheese was involved?

I feel like an idiot.

If it makes you feel any better I’m kicking myself now for being so reluctant to eat you. I mean, I let TWO bunches of romaine disintegrate in the fridge while I was coming to terms with your “saladness”. I can’t tell you how much I wish I could go back in time and save those two bunches. If anything died in vain, they did. I hope you never have to come face to face with a mystery bag in the crisper drawer like that. It really changes a person.

Anyway, I loved you. I just wanted you to know that.


Monday, November 5, 2007

Mustard and I Celebrate Guy Fawkes, Bonfires, and Smores

I'm telling you, I have to watch Mustard every minute. I came home from work today, Guy Fawkes Day, to find him in him already in his Guy Fawkes costume.

I was like, "geez Mustard, can you relax for a few minutes? Let me eat some dinner? Maybe take my shoes off? I told you we'd celebrate ... but chill, man, chill!"

But he was worse than a damn puppy yapping around my heels while I put my chicken nuggets in the oven. "Don't you think those nuggets would be better Flame Roasted? Doncha? Doncha?" I didn't.

Ever since I told him about how fun Guy Fawkes Night is he's been driving me nuts. Personally, I think he just wants to light things on fire. He's such a boy that way! If you aren't familiar with this most excellent English holiday it involves burning things in effigy and fireworks - which is basically the recipe for an awesome holiday, people. Leading up to the day kids ask for money ("A Penny for the Guy?" ) to buy their Guy effigies or fireworks. Apparently, Fall is the international season for sanctioned child begging; Americans ask for candy, English ask for money. Go figure.

Anyway, Mustard is WAY excited to light some stuff on fire. (I didn't have the heart to tell him that his costume was pretty creepy, but I made him take it off for the burning part, I didn't want him to have an accident since he's plastic and all.) I asked him if he had prepared our Guy effigy while I was at work. He had:

I said, "Alrighty then, let's get this party started! Mustard, prepare the traitor!"

Mustard said, "Guy Fawkes, I hereby skewer you in the name of the Parliament People, and Burning, and S'mores!" And he was soundly skewered. "Wench Gretchen, prepare the bonfire!"

"Don't call me wench, if you want to keep doing this."

"Sorry. Bonfire Mistress, Is the bonfire prepared to receive the traitor?"

"It is." And it was.

"Then cast him in!" Mustard cried. (he's really enjoying this. It's making me mildly concerned. )

As Bonfire Mistress I cast poor Guy Fawkes to his toasty doom .....

Guy, you are smelling delicious. And your flames are quite impressive!

Ever the classy executioner, Mustard chants, "Burn! Burn! Burn! Burn!"

As Bonfire Mistress, I declare Guy's final moments of flamitude should be carried out in the sink.

"Burn! Burn! Bur ... Wait, don't stop burning!!! .....

..... Hey, Mistress Bonfire .... he's going OUT! What do we do? "

"Nothing Mustard, we just say 'Happy Guy Fawkes Night' and clean up the mess you made."

"Not me. If you need me, I'll be taunting the carcass. .... HA! Stupid Guy Fawkes ... I fart in your general direction. "

"Ok, have a good time. But don't quote Monty Python, it really shows your age. (And your lameness). AND If you make any S'mores out of the body, be sure you share. And don't touch the stove, it's still hot and you'll melt."

Seriously, I have to watch him every second.

Happy Guy Fawkes Day Everyone!

The Ballad of Captain Underpants

It occurs to me that, even though I've referred to Captain Underpants before, I haven't actually filled you in on how he got this name.

The Cap’n is a nice guy. Despite the fact that he’s not my brand of nice, he really is very nice. So I feel a teensy bit bad saying that I find him annoying, but if he weren’t so rigid I think we’d get along better. But he is way too uptight. Seriously, the dude is a diamond factory. Perhaps I should illustrate:

At dinner on our first date: “Would you like to get an appetizer? I generally don’t get appetizers, but today I feel like splurging.”

At an outdoor picnic type event he pulls paper cups and a bottle of grape seltzer water out of his backpack, he said with complete sincerity: “Sometimes when I’m feeling adventurous I like to mix this with regular grape juice.” To which I replied, “You’re a wild man.”

In an email received before going to a sporting event: “I should probably warn you that there are some security restrictions at RFK. They won't allow you to take a backpack or large bag into the stadium, or any food or drink.” And he included the link to the rules, in case I didn't believe him. I wanted to tell him that I’ve been to public events before, but instead I told him I’d leave my duffle bag full of hoagies at home.

There are many things he does which, if I liked him, I’d find him very charming. But since I don’t like him, I find him very annoying. Things like sending me Dilbert comics or … um … well, that’s probably it.

So it was at this picnic type event that the Cap’n got his name. [FYI, I generally nickname all of the chaps I date, or people that speak in church, or ride with me on the Metro … it’s more fun that way, and I can talk about them in code.] The Cap’n was standing up stretching, and I was sitting down in a chair, and as I looked to my left I saw distinctly that he had tucked his shirt – HIS T-SHIRT, not his undershirt, but his T-Shirt INTO his underwear. All the way around.

T-Shirt … Underwear Band … Shorts

And I sighed and said to myself, "I am an attractive, fun, intelligent girl and THIS, seriously THIS?!? is what I have to deal with? ” And I shook my fist at the sky before resigning myself, rolling my eyes, and sighing again.

And thus he was dubbed Captain Underpants.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Battles, on picking them wisely

You should know that …
  1. I generally don’t favor the enforced regulation of things. It usually just complicates things that aren’t very complicated to begin with.
  2. I realize there are usually good reasons for wanting to have things regulated. Chicken lip and lead content stays down, and honesty and human decency goes up.
  3. I am a big proponent of people being responsible for themselves.

With that being said … have you people heard about the movement to ban (yes, I said BAN as in to LEGISLATE AGAINST) cupcakes? It’s true. Innocent, fun loving cupcakes. In other news, Christmas is canceled.

Alas, many school districts are banning cupcakes from schools in order to keep kids from eating so much junk.

As a friend of the cupcake I think this is an outrage! What did cupcakes ever do to you, besides being completely adorable little packages of sunshine and happiness? More importantly, why single out cupcakes? Why not regular cakes – especially those nasty sheet cakes with the grody frosting flowers? Those are disgusting; I’d happily see a ban against those. Aren’t they teaching discrimination by being sizists?

Moreover, if we’re SOOOOO worried about kids getting fat maybe we should make some health inducing changes rather than banning the poor little cupcake. Here are a few I’ve thought of, just off the top of my head:

  • Math class could be turned into Mathercize. It’s brainy! It’s jazzy! Times-tables mixed with jumping-jacks; it’s a win-win!
  • Make the fatasses run a couple laps around the building after the pledge of allegiance.
  • Add an extra “Work Out Recess”. Any one standing next to the wall gets tazed.
  • What about PE, people?

I’m no parent, so far be it from me to offer any advice for children, but we aren’t doing them any favors by banning a FOOD. (if the reaction to banned cupcakes is anything like the reaction to banned books, we’ll have kids sneaking into the backroom at bakeries and overdosing on buttercream and white cake.)

I love cupcakes, but I know that if I eat cupcakes I’m going to have to move my chub around a bit more than usual. It’s just the way it works. And if anyone takes away my cupcakes, or my future kid’s cupcakes, you better watch your back. If there’s anything I take seriously it’s cupcakes.