Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Fat Man Has Left The Building

Well, the Fat Man has left the building. And he's also left a path of destruction in his wake. Sure, he looks all jolly and innocent in this picture....

But that was BEFORE Christmas. You know, he's hanging out doing publicity shots in the warm weather here in Texas while the elves (and Mrs. Clause, no doubt) are back at The Pole busting their arses, so to speak. What's not to smile about? But by the time he hit our house a week later, man, he was a mess. A Total Mess.

First of all, we had been tracking him on NORAD. We are like soooo not the first stop. The dude is not fresh by the time he gets here, believe me. He's tired, sleigh-lagged, slap happy, bloated, and rubbed raw from the chimneys. He's probably suffered a few dog bites, too. So honestly, how happy could he have been by the time he got here? Here. Where he was only halfway done.

First he woke up the dog. The Dang Dog. Was. Barking. Hysterically. This woke up the kids, who were hurried back to their beds by their dad who just happened to be sitting casually in the hallway outside their rooms. And Santa? All I can say is that I would have so much loved to have been there when he stood in the middle of our dark living room at 2:00 AM and popped up Jasper's Spiderman Play Hut. I would have LOVED to have seen the look on his face as it became apparent that the Play Hut was not the size of the previous Play Hut, which held 2 kids and stood about oh-3-feet-tall. It would have been funny to have been there as the Play Hut erupted much like a life raft does when the rip cord is pulled, into the middle of our very small living room made so-much-smaller by the big-huge-gigantic-tree. It would have been hysterical to have seen Santa as it dawned on him that the deluxe-let's-invite-20-or-so-of-our-friends-and-have-a-freakin'-party-in-the-hut edition Play Hut was going to damn near knock over the Christmas tree. I bet he was SOOprised to see that the hut was 5-feet tall with space for a loveseat and a couch, inside. Yes sir, I know he was surprised because I heard him cursing like a sailor in there in the dark with the dog barking and the tree swinging precariously back and forth, back and forth, making little jingling sounds as all the ornaments clanked into each other. It sounded (to me) like someone dragging a body across the floor as he attempted to haul it (fully erect as they say) into the den, where there was no tree and deposit it sideways and half propped up on the couch. Are you seeing this in your head? Are you?

After Santa recovered from what will forever be known in the North Pole as the "Play Hut Incident" he proceeded to unpack from his notorious bag, several other less dramatic goodies. Camille got an un-American Girl doll. She asked for an American Girl doll but Santa was like, "That is a ridiculous sum of money to spend on a doll. Only in America." I would agree. He left her an absolutely gorgeous doll that I have seen in Target (for about $20) named Alexis that looks just like Camille! She was even wearing Camille's favorite color (pink) with her hair all piled up on her head. She came with a casual outfit and a dressy outfit and Camille loves her to death. She has not put her down since Christmas morning.

Jules received his Nintendo DS Lite, which he was sooooooo expecting.

Joel's gift was a relief. In the mall, Santa had asked him what he wanted (in front of all the siblings) and Joel had responded with his low man's voice that he wanted some high-quality pens. You know, for his Manga art. Santa replied with an incredulous tone that sounded strangely Jewish, "What was that, boy? You want some high-quality pants?" Joel, who had been hoping to avoid a conversation with Santa entirely, just said, "Yeah. That's right." This had the little ones in a tizzy. They were so concerned Joel was going to have a pair of high-quality pants under the tree. They've been urging him to write a letter with a correction, stating that he believed there had been a misunderstanding and he didn't really want high-quality pants... This has been the topic of much conversation. Amazingly enough, there were no pants under the tree. And that crazy, magic Santa even left Joel a little flip video cam in his stocking! How did he know Joel wanted that? I know! Don't you just love Christmas????

Ellie had told Santa (after being thrilled that he had not asked her for the 3rd year in a row if she had a boyfriend) to surprise her. He did surprise her with a stereo IPOD docking CD playing thingy that I don't quite comprehend. So - it was a good haul but general mayhem has ensued since Santa's departure.

Our "alone time" has been spent doing one thing since Santa left. Mi Esposo received The Matrix trilogy on DVDs. So we have watched a movie every evening. This will make, what.....10 years or so that Jeff has been trying to explain The Matrix to me? I try. I really do. But I don't entirely get it. But here's the kicker. Jeff doesn't entirely get it, either. He would never admit it. And he doesn't seem to need to "get it" because there are really long fight scenes and car chases in the movies and this makes him happy and he doesn't need any deep understanding of the plot in order to feel satisfied. Me? I need more. Long car chases and fight scenes are like long guitar or drum solos at concerts. After awhile all the women in place are saying, "Okie dokie - let's move on. Really. Like now."

So with The Oracle....I'm like, "So - is she like a person?"

Jeff says, "No! She's not a real person. She's in The Matrix."

"So, she like a programmer?"

"Yeah, she's like The Frenchman. She's a programmer."

"So is she plugged into the Matrix?"

"Yeah, she's plugged in."

"So she's physically in Zion lying in one of those chair-things and she's plugged in?"


"Then where is she?"

This stumped him. I could tell.

"I don't know where she is. Why do you care?"

"I just do. How can you not care? How can you sit here and watch this movie and not know whether The Oracle is a real person or not? I mean, is she simply a program? You know, like not real?"

"Yeah, that's it. She's a program. She's nowhere. She's just a rogue program."

"Then who made her?"


"Who wrote the program?"

At that point he got huffy and made some comment about how some people can't enjoy a decent fight scene and aren't happy until they've ruined someone else's Christmas.

Now let me tell you what I got for Christmas.

1. A wrapped Sonic kid's meal toy from Jasper, that I helped him wrap. It had 3 pounds of tape on it.

2. An alarm clock from Ellie because I can't see the one on Jeff's side of the bed so I never know if I have like 2 hours left to sleep or 30 minutes left to sleep and then I get all neurotic...

3. An Orlando Bloom calendar from my sister (I get this every year)

4. A Garmin GPS from Jeff because he is tired of me calling him when I get lost.

I was happy about the GPS thing. In fact, I was excited. We used it today. It has some kinks. First of all, it says that our house is in our neighbor's barn, which is across the river about 1 and 1/2 miles from our driveway. No problem. I know where my house is. It also has the wrong name of the road that we take to well, almost everywhere. No problem. I know the name of the road. While we were driving it very clearly said, "Turn Right" when turning right would have gotten us killed. No problem. I knew that. I put up with all of that because I couldn't wait to get home and magically make my GPS have a new voice. I have heard of these things, you know? I'm technically challenged but strangely savvy. I knew, for instance, that there is an Orlando Bloom voice you can download to replace the irritating female voice that is the same person who tells you how many new messages you have in your voicemail box.

But do you know what???? Jeff bought me a Garmin. A Garmin! Why should I care? I wouldn't normally care. Honestly. But Orlando's voice is apparently only available if you have a Tom Tom. A TOM TOM. I do not have a Tom Tom. Why don't I have a Tom Tom? It just sounds better, doesn't it? It sounds way cooler than Garmin. It figures I got the nerd-o GPS. Maybe it is better. WHO CARES? If you can't listen to Orlando Bloom tell you to go the wrong way down a road you've never heard of to land yourself in your neighbor's barn then what the hell is a GPS for anyway? WHAT??? SOMEONE TELL ME...WHAT IS IT FOR? All I wanted was to drive down the street with all my kids screaming in the car with Orlando there to remind me that I was still a person. A person with feelings. A person who could still occasionally spiff herself up a bit if she so chose. I wanted to hear his gorgeous voice with his delicious British accent saying, "Turn here, Love, and stay to your left. I like it when you stay to the left, you know." Is it too much to hear Orlando breathlessly say we've arrived at our destination as I pull into my neighbor's barn?

Apparently, it is. Bah Humbug. Next year - I'm talking to Santa - going straight to The Man, Himself. I want Orlando Bloom, dressed as an elf (it is more Christmas-y than a pirate) from Lord of the Rings, sitting under my Christmas tree.

That - or a really high-quality pair of pants.

Sardine Mama.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What Are You Expecting? That I Will Be Blogging TODAY???

I know! It is Christmas Eve! And I don't have time to blog for you. Because I was blogging for other people. Not that I don't love you. I do. But I have sick kids and unwrapped gifts. Priorities, people. Wanna see what I had to say about it? Check me out at Scroll down to moms' blogs. Mine is called "Social Skills". Click on my pretty face and read about my day yesterday in as how it relates to last minute Christmas shopping and The Dugger Family with their zillions of kids. Yes, I managed to make a connection...

BTW - what do I want for Christmas? Followers! I want followers to feed my fledgling ego. Is it that much to ask? I have 4 lousy followers! Well, they're not lousy. They are awesome. Truly. Awesome.

It isn't like I'm asking you to line up for paper cups of KoolAid. I'm not asking for THAT kind of a following. Come on. Make my Christmas. I have sick kids and everything.

HO HO HO and Happy Holidays! (I was gonna say Merry Christmas but now that people are making a stink out of saying Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays, I am feeling the need to be oppositional).

Sardine Mama

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Legal Again (Barely)

The gig is up. I am once again a law-abiding citizen.

The pressure was just getting to be too much for me. Every time I got behind the wheel all I could hear was Axl Rose singing Knockin' on Heaven's Door. Well, sometimes it was Bob Dylan. Either way, I knew my time was short. It was a good ride, though. Almost 3 months of living on the lam with an expired inspection sticker. But all that running has taken its toll. I am a changed girl. Innocence lost. You can't be outside the law for that amount of time without it affecting you in some way. I'm not sure how I'm affected. I'll have to have some time to think about that. But I'm sure I'm somehow hardened, immune to the softer things in life, more jaded in ways I didn't know existed. I'm sure it is only a matter of time before this new lawless monster lurking inside me creeps forth to do some dastardly deed.

But in the meantime, I have to make a zillion Snickerdoodles for a cookie exchange.


Snickerdoodles are pretty much my favorite Christmas cookie. I don't know why. They are simple. My kids don't really like them all that much. Aha! That must be it.

I'm done with cute and catchy blog titles. I made it through Typical (or Titillating) Tuesday, Less Wordy Wednesday, and Thrilling Thursday. Yesterday was spent getting my house ready for my yearly turn at hosting my bunco group. I hadn't cleaned since Thanksgiving so it was a godless mess. Therefore I couldn't think of anything even close to nice that began with "F" for Friday. So I skipped it, altogether.

I did not do a particularly fabulous job hosting bunco, which I called BuncHO HO HO because I am cute with words that way. We did our yearly ornament exchange in addition to consuming margaritas and my favorite wine of all time, Casal Garcia's Vinho Verde. I used to waste a lot of time mixing my own margaritas at social events, as I am particular about my margaritas. I am a tequila girl. I can't stand margarita mixes that are too sour and cause all the glands just below my jaw line to explode in protest. I am usually completely unaware of these glands and I prefer to keep it that way. I actually prefer my margaritas very plain and shaken (not frozen - I HATE them frozen). But I have found a pretty good pre-mixed margarita, Salvador's Premium Margarita (alcohol content 15% so this is the real deal). I'm sure it doesn't have Patron in it, but hey, how much do you really want to spend for a bottle of pre-mix?

For dinner I served up tamales, a Tex-Mex Christmas favorite. For sides, Jeff made (before he escaped with all the kids) a mango pico de gallo and a rice and black bean salad with apricot dressing. I also set out some refried beans, and I have a favorite brand of those, too. Do not EVER come near me with a CAN of refried beans. Homemade are best, but if you haven't got the time or inclination, a bag of Santa Fe Bean Company's dehydrated beans are pretty darn close. I prefer the black beans, simply because they have more nutritional value. I lined the bowl with tortilla chips, put a little dollop of sour cream, sliced avocados, and some shredded cheese on top, and bingo - it was done.

I intended to make a creamy cilantro sauce for the tortilla chips but just plain ran out of time because I'd spent part of the day when I should have been cooking holed up in my meditation nook with my latest Anita Blake (Vampire Executioner) book. That means I also didn't make my Orlando Bloom bunco cards. I like to put Orlando Bloom on my bunco cards because he is adorable and I just adore him because he is so adorably adorable. And young enough to my son (or son-O as I like to say on the bunco cards). I prefer him as an elf or a pirate but I was going to find a pic of him in a Santa hat or something adorable like that for his adorableness to shine through in a Christmas-y way. But I ran out of time due to the stupid vampire books I am apparently addicted to. Dang. Stupid vampires.

When I was managing to clean and cook I did it like Anita Blake (vampire executioner) with Jasper's confiscated plastic sword stuck in the back of my tee shirt. I occasionally whipped it out from behind my back (just like Anita) to stun the children into submission. This was mostly ineffective. They were stunned; no submission, though. It was highly entertaining and made me feel rather powerful and I think that I might wear a plastic sword more often. I didn't understand the appeal until now. I kinda "get" Jasper now. Plastic sword. Cool. I might try a light saber next but the sword just feels so right in my hand...but never say never, right?

Well, I really am off to bake Snickerdoodles now. Possibly armed with a sword. Yeah...that is sounding pretty good.

I will soon be a contributing blogger for My page isn't up and running, yet. I'll let you know when it is and you can visit me there, too. I'm not sure what I'll be like there. Alter ego, maybe? Hmmm...we'll have to wait and see. I've been doing so many dangerous things, lately.

Love a Very Heavily Armed Sardine Mama

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thrilling Thursday

OK. So it is Thrilling Thursday. Thrilling is one of the few adjectives I could think of that starts with "th". But it is appropriate because today I am quite the thrill seeker. Some of you might not know this about me but I am, indeed, a blood rushing thrill seeker. Blood rushing thrill seekers aren't all that rare, actually. But PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE blood rushing thrill seekers are. That's right people, my inspection sticker is still expired and I'm driving all the way into the city to take the kids on a train museum field trip that seemed like a good idea when I signed up for it. Back to thrills: My sticker expired in September. I tried to get my car inspected in November but the guy expected me to have an up-to-date insurance card on me, which is just plain stupid. I would expect a person with an expired inspection sticker to also have an expired insurance card. The guy at the station was being unreasonable. So that was a failed attempt. Now I am getting kind of used to living outside the law. I sorta like it, ya see? I'm on the edge, ya see? Living dangerously, you know? What makes it even better is that I am kinda flaunting it - just "in your face" at the coppers because I DRIVE A BUS.

I wonder if I'm getting overconfident?

Sardine Mama

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Less Wordy Wednesday

Wow! I posted yesterday AND today! Amazing. And I'm going to be cute and do a Wordless Wednesday. Except that I've already done some words, here. 26 words, to be exact (now 31) and so there went the "wordless" part. Dang. I am not good at being wordless. And it goes so good with Wednesday. How about Shorter Post Wednesday? No. That doesn't work. Fewer Words Wednesday....OH! LESS WORDY WEDNESDAY! Yay! I have invented "Less Wordy Wednesday". You heard it here, first, folks. It is going to spread like wildfire. Along with Titillating Tuesday (or Typical Tuesday - depending on whether it was titillating, or not).

So here are some pics since I haven't posted any in awhile. On Thanksgiving weekend we went to Houston St Fair. It is a monthly thang in San Antonio. On Houston Street. It is a fair. I bet that is why they call it Houston St Fair.

Anyway, Houston Street is by the Alamo....which was crowded on this particular day.

And here are two more defenders of the Alamo. All Texas children (even aging bald ones) are natural-born defenders of the Alamo. It's our version of national pride. Because, you know, we used to be a Republic. I know I sound all smart and everything, spouting Texas history, and since I homeschool my kids they are also smart and everything about Texas history. That is why when we drove past the Alamo a few months ago, Jules said, "There's the Alamo." And his brother answered, "That's not the real Alamo, you idiot." Ahhhhh. Another proud parental moment. Joel had apparently been looking at the Alamo his entire life while under the impression that it was FAKE. That is why all those people flock to see it.

Here is a pic of Ellie and friends we met up with. She is missing John (only boy in the photo. he is the one without breasts) because he decided to up and go to POLAND. The REAL Poland. Not one of those fake ones you find lying around where people sell sausages on a stick (well, in Texas we mostly roll them up in tortillas and call them Pollacko Tacos). He has been teaching himself Polish and he up and hopped on a plane. His mother is beside herself with whatever it is mothers feel when their 18-year-old sons run off to Poland. We hear he is having a great time and he is a great photographer so we're looking forward to seeing and hearing about his fantastic adventure when he returns.

So the reason for our jaunt to Houston St Fair was mostly to see our friend perform. Sarah is a 17-year-old singer/songwriter. She will quite possibly be famous someday so this is yet ANOTHER thing you are seeing here first (along with Less Wordy Wednesday).

Check the tube to hear Sarah singing my favorite song, Sarah's Song.

I'm signing off as a particularly less wordy Sardine Mama.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Typical or Titillating? Your Choice.

'Tis Tuesday. Just a typical Tuesday. Typical. Tuesday. That's kinda cute in a bloggish sort of way. You know how some people do the Wordless Wednesday thing? Maybe I could do Typical Tuesday. Hmmm..... Or maybe Tirade Tuesday? That sounds more exciting. Or Tuesday's Tirade? OR to use my favorite word - "Titillating" Tuesday? Let me evaluate this.

What would I write about that? It is a typical Tuesday. Ellie had homeschooled piano students over. So that was a blending of dressed, bathed, and awake-and-already-at-piano-lessons homeschoolers with my crew of pajama-clad but slightly awake and wandering aimlessly or still dressed from yesterday but sound asleep in bed homeschoolers. The two groups find each other fascinating.

I should be at the store - I do that on Typical Tuesday. But I truly hate going to the grocery store. Hate it hate it hate it hate it hate it. Sometimes I just go in and put like one thing in my cart and get all depressed over what all I still have to load in the cart and then I just want to curl up and take a nap which is what I usually do when I'm overwhelmed only they frown upon that in the grocery store. Camille and Jasper usually accompany me to the grocery store and that is unpleasant at best and miserable at worst. I buy them donuts from the bakery which I remember to pay for over half of the time (yay for me!). I could go on and on about the grocery store but let me just say that there is a dent in the steel post by the "buddy buck" machine and it is from my forehead. The "buddy buck" machine is a torture device where children repeatedly stick little paper dollars into a slot so that the machine can pick up a little plastic bubble with a sticker on it and drop it down the chute for the kid to pick up. There is always a line at the buddy buck machine. The little paper "bucks" rarely go in the first time and they are being pushed in by pudgy little hands that belong to people screaming, "No! I want to do it myself!" If the buck does go in, the machine has to make several attempts at picking up a bubble - and all of this is while my groceries are thawing.

The other thing I do on Typical Tuesday is take Camille to dance class. The first Tuesday of the month is Watch Day at dance class. I know this is horrible but I hate Watch Day. It just isn't all that entertaining. OK - so it was with Ellie since she is my first born and everything she did/does is new and exciting and garners all my attention. But Camille is the 4th kid and hasn't managed to pull a new trick out of her hat, yet. I am tired of acting excited about successful somersaults.

Last Tuesday we got a preview of the dance costumes. This is very exciting for most of the moms, but not even vaguely "titillating" for me. I rarely participate in the costume discussion but I did put my foot down at the suggestion of changing from nude to white tights between sets. The other women were surprised to hear the sound of my voice since I rarely open my mouth about the costumes. I just quietly stated that I refused to change tights and that was that and now we're going with nude tights. Since that went over so well I also went way outside of my comfort zone and boycotted the fairy wings in favor of a tiara.
a) wings are a pain in the a**
b) wings often come with glitter
c) i hate glitter
d)I LOVE tiaras. If I could get by with wearing one on a regular basis I really, really would do so. I can trace this tiara fixation back to my teenage years when my parents refused to let me try out for Peanut Queen (yes, I said peanut) because they didn't want to deal with the responsibilities that went along with serving in such a royal capacity for an entire year. And now I am crippled with a tiara fetish. I want one. A pretty sparkly one. Whenever I see young royal teenagers (whether it be the Pickle Princess or the Turnip Queen) I want to go and rip the tiaras from their up-do's and stick them on my more deserving and slightly graying head.

The dancers will wear tiaras (no fairy wings). I think the mothers of the dancers should wear tiaras, too, and I just might suggest that today at dance class.

OK so then home to dinner and laundry and blah blah blah ....Typical Tuesday.

Let's try a TIRADE TUESDAY on for size.

Now that the election is over I am having a hard time getting worked up. I'm not sure I can get motivated enough to go on an actual tirade. Think think think think think...

I've got it!! Poor customer service. Let me do a quick smear. I have had two less than acceptable experiences in a row at La Madeleine's, recently. And I hate that because La Madeleine's is a cool place to go and have a cup of coffee and an eclair with friends without the stress and pressure to empty a table. You can just sit next to the fire and visit as long as you'd like. Except that the last two times I've gone they haven't had eclairs, which I like almost as much as tiaras. As a matter of fact, I would love to eat an eclair while wearing a tiara. But I digress....the hubby and I went into La Madeleine's and suffered through the usual brief confusion about where to order....entrees at the first register, other stuff (like the spinach pochette I always get) at the counter. When we sat down we were startled by a loud noise and looked up to see a very angry cook purposefully slamming pans around while muttering to himself. He was TOTALLY worked up. The next thing we noticed was a blond girl stomping around the tables slapping a wet rag across their surfaces and angrily scraping chairs across the floor while muttering to herself. This went on the entire time we were there and so much for a nice, relaxing ambiance. The manager was nervously skittering about acting like he couldn't see it.

The icing on the cake was the cook slamming Jeff's entree onto the counter and hammering on the bell. The blond girl purposefully ignored him and the bell. We waited and waited and waited and nobody ever went to get Jeff's plate. I finally got up (Jeff was willing to wait it out and see who would finally be forced to pick up the plate but I was no longer enjoying myself). I went to the counter and picked up the plate. I commented to the angry cook that it had been sitting up there quite awhile and he glared at me and said, "Do you want me to heat it up?" and I said no because I wanted to get out of there.

Would you believe we went back? And it was the same cook, minus the blond girl, and the cook was in a good mood and very quietly cooking up a storm. But when I went to order the Field Greens salad, I was quite shocked to see wilted and slimy greens sitting in the bowl. I pointed it out to the server who made a face and said, "Gross," and then asked me if I wanted any. I obviously chose something else, but pointed out the disgusting greens to another employee who said, "I know, I wonder how long they've been there." The spinach pochette was cool and the desert I got (noel cake) was stale.

So I am sad to say we will not be going back to La Madeleine's unless they offer me some kind of incentive which is unlikely at this point because I have wasted all this energy on the blog post and now am too tired to write an official letter of complaint.

So that is my tirade. What was my third option for Tuesday? Oh yes. Titillating. I'm still reading the Anita Blake Vampire Executioner series. I'm on Narcissus in Chains. Anita has added a FOURTH man to the mix. Well, he is only a man part of the time. His name is Micah and he is a wereleopard. He is a fine addition to Jeane Claude the vampire, Richard the werewolf, and Nathanial (also a wereleopard). There is also Asher and Damian (both vamps) but they have yet to get in on any official action. So that would be it for titillating.

That's it for Tuesday! Let me hear from you! Shall it be Typical, Tirade, or Titillating?

Much Love from your Typically Titillating Tyrannical Sardine Mama