December 27, 2011

My Second Grade Self Re-Visited

Here we go my friends, the obligatory resolution post...with a twist.  I make ridiculous resolutions, for example here was the last.  Still working with short and sweet, I've no time for lengthy resolutions.  Besides, I'm 3/4 perfect in my mind.  I've come to the realization that I could actually interchange my current resolutions with that of my second grade self.  Interesting and disturbing.

1. Grow some Boobs:

Yep, I'm still waiting.  Seems once upon a time they were nice, then I had kids and they ruined them, so I'm patiently waiting for either some kind of miracle-like crazy gene reconstruction, or stem cell research to 'go there'.  Sure I could always get a boob job, but who's gonna pay for that?  Octo-Mom?  Seems a boob job would cancel itself out after having eleventy-hundred kids.

2.  Ride My Bike Around the Neighborhood Alone:

Sweet Jesus, 2nd grade self, preach it.  Yes, I would flippin' love to have twenty two minutes to myself to take a bike ride alone, without worrying about a wobbling kid on training wheels and the tricycle dare devil trying to race on-coming traffic.  When Dad lets you go, savor that sweet, sweet freedom; because all too soon you'll be a single Mom with two kids crying about her darn bike.

3.  Get a Boyfriend:

I suppose this could go either way, depends if it's a Boy's Against Girl's day, or vice versa on the playground.  Second grade self is boy crazy, old-ass self is not. Old-ass me doesn't care, and that might be a problem. You see old-ass self is sick of men and would live a long happy {lonely} life without them, but that's no fun...and when I say no fun, I mean *wink, wink* Second grade self and I haven't had the talk yet.

Second grade self is scared but she can be fearless.  She doesn't yet understand heartbreak and love is very pure, she has not been betrayed or abandoned.  Old-ass self is "bitter", she will deflect every suitable bachelor that comes along and pick out his flaws to protect herself.  I'm going to have to sit these two down and have a talk with them; I'm sure we can meet in the middle.

Disclaimer: To the single mama's lashing out at what might be misconstrued as desperation at first glance; rest assured it is not.  I have standards, and limitations, but my ovaries are tapping their watch and just turned in their retirement plan; so I need to perhaps give this a bit more attention.  Believe me, I'm too fabulous to dabble in desperate.

4.  I hate Laura McNeil, a.k.a the Bully:

Yeah, believe it or not that is a resolution.  You see bullies are no fun.  Took second grade self a little while to realize that bullies are just insecure, and prey upon others to make themselves feel better.  Bullies cause stress, anxiety and pre-mature aging, they just aren't worth it and will oftentimes back down when stood up too.

I still hate Laura McNeil.  Some people have a way of leaving a scar on your soul, that seems to never heal.  But that scar reminds me that mean people are damaging, and I won't have any part of that.  Wait, I'm kind of mean though, do you feel damaged?  Bet y'all have a super secret BGOMS reader support group.  Anyway, mean, nice, crazy mix of both; I decide who is privy to this glorious mess.  But it is word of warning that I like to surround myself with supportive people who don't bring me down, so if you do; you've been warned.  I didn't say people who didn't agree with me, I like it when people have their very own opinions and can speak for themselves, I do not like it when they speak ignorantly on my behalf.

I pretty much knocked my resolutions outta the ballpark from last year...except maybe the ponytails restriction, but I have cut down.  I'm serious.  Okay that's a lie, I totally relapsed and put my hair in a ponytail 4/7 days a week.  The first step is admitting you have a problem right?

So let's have it, what are your New Year's Resolutions?  OR, what was a resolution from last year you made and did you keep it?

December 20, 2011

The Nutcracker: When Something's Just Not Right

Disclaimer: This post is full of stereo-types, assumptions, my opinion and general crossing the line-ness.

Tis the season for Tchaikovsky and the Nutcracker. I'm a Nutcracker junkie, as are my kids. I'm sure we've seen every version out there. Today I tackle The Nutcracker Motion Picture, by The Pacific Northwest Ballet. I'm not going to critique the dancing or music; but rather point out a rather troubling inkling of pedophilia by Uncle Drosselmeyer. I'm sure if you were alive in the 80's you've seen this.
While watching this particular version this season with my children I found myself raising my Mommy-brow at Herr Drosselmeyer. Drosselmeyer is portrayed many different ways in adaptations of the Nutcracker, sometimes as a grandfather, uncle, magician, or family friend. You see it's always a family friend right? So I'm only referencing awkwardness and glaring perviness in this particular adaptation.

This guy is a creep, yes, in a pedophilia type of way. Yes, I really just said that. If you were to judge a book by its cover or stereotype pedophiles; this guy’s the ticket. Nothing about his portrayal in this film is right. I wonder what the director was thinking here. They've found the creepiest, crazy haired loon, put a huge hook nose and an eye patch on him and then dressed him in pink. I can read between the lines. Eye patches are mysterious; they usually mean there has been an altercation of some sort. Maybe one like an 11 year old year scratching your eye out?

I found only one good clip of the show, but my point will be made. The awkward exchanges are during the first two minutes of the clip, so you're off the hook after that.

Please tell me it's not just me? There is compelling evidence here right?  That's only a snippet.  The dude is pouting in the corner. What grown man does that? Wait, rephrase. What grown man pouts in the corner because he is not getting the attention of an eleven year old? Clara is visibly shaken and disgusted by him. Even Clara's Mother forces her to participate in an awkward dance with Drosselmeyer, which makes me kind of sick to my stomach. Drosselmeyer is visibly entranced with his niece, and jealous of a dang hunk of wood Nutcracker. It's all too strange for me to take in. I know I cannot be the only one jumping to these conclusions.

At any rate, this movie can not only become a wonderful tradition, but also open the door to conversations about stranger danger, safe and not-safe touching, and usually if someone looks like a super creep, you should go with your gut.

What do you think? Creep or Crazy? Maybe both?

{Disclaimer: Sexual abuse and pedophilia is no laughing matter.}

December 17, 2011

I Keep Forgetting My Kid Has Autism

Sometimes I forget my son has Autism. Yeah, I know, but don't get in a tizzy just yet Autism parents. After diagnosis, it is all you can focus on, the behaviors, routines, stims, speech, diet, therapies; how do you forget that your son who you drive a 70 mile daily roundtrip, 5 days a week to therapy has Autism? I suppose over time, it becomes less Autism, and more of who he is. I don't want to say my son is Autism, he is not. I suppose I have conditioned myself to look past those behaviors and his struggles so much, that I see him for him. A smart, funny, loving little boy. I suppose those behaviors that once stood out, commonly referred to as, "red flags", fade to gray overtime.  {At least in my mind}  So when Autism rears its ugly head, and not just rear, but comes knocking with fangs and fire, I'm shocked back to reality. And then I think, ugh, Autism.

I usually don't write much about Autism. As I've said before, this blog is my escape from Autism.  But it does and should find its way here, it's woven through our life.
This week Autism kicked my ass. Hey Autism, could you have waited a week, until I didn't have crazy cramps, headaches and bloating? Of course not, Autism is a bastard. I wish I could take a vacation day. Yeah, I'm calling in Autism today, maybe some Autism PTO, or a half-day; I'd kill for a half-day. A day when I don't have to say, "oh, he has Autism”, to explain away a strange behavior, or run after him even though he's five, or prompt him to answer a stranger asking him a question because he didn't even realize they spoke to him, or make sure nothing on his plate touches anything else.

I don't want to fight with him to wear mittens when it's 20 degrees, although I know it's because of his sensory issues he can't wear them and not because he's difficult. I don't want to change his jammies 3 times because the top doesn't match the bottom’s pattern exactly or switch socks 12 times until we find a pair that doesn't hurt. I really don't want to hear him repeat his Christmas list 20 times in 3 minutes, and answer my questions with scripting from Cars 2.

But this week Autism sucker punched me: The boy has this, "blanket", or better described as germ-infested-grayed-out-disintegrating-piece-of-"material" that used to resemble a blanket. Somehow it found its way to school. This is not allowed, for I know if blanket was lost, there would be hell to pay. But alas, snuck it into the backpack when I deviated from the morning routine and went to the bathroom. Well, wont' be doing anything foolish like going to bathroom again!  I didn't notice until that evening, and blanket was nowhere to be found.

Me: Dude, where's your blanket?

The boy: At school.

Panic. You know those red lights and sirens, waaaaahhhh, wahhhhhh, Danger, this is an alarm, you are screwed, Mom, good luck and don't dive of the back porch. That's my inner voice panicking; calm on the outside, sweating and hyperventilating on the inside. The boy was playing with matchbox cars; he clearly does not understand that blanket will not magically re-appear... This wasn't going to be good. So here's how it went down:

Me: Okay time for bed.

The boy: I need my bwhanket.

Me: I know buddy, but blankets at school. No blanket tonight, we'll pick it up in the morning.


I want my bwhanket.

Me: I know, bud. But Mommy can't get it right now, school is closed.

The boy: My bwhanket, my bwanket, Mommy find for me. {Crying}

Okay, so imagine the above 29 different ways. You can explain all you want to a kid with Autism, he just didn't get it. And it didn't help that the blanket is a calming item to him, a stim and a chewy. Screwed. The anxiety quickly escalated, to whimpering, and scripting, him, not me. He didn't stop crying and talking until 2 am. There is no worse feeling as a parent than when your child is melting down and can't stop, and you don't know how to stop it; because reasoning doesn't work. When rocking and hugging only make things worse, when he covers his ears because my quiet voice is hurting him.

I did as much "therapeutically" as I could, but when he is so over-stimulated, only time will bring him down. And only exhaustion can make him sleep. Even with Melatonin.

Luckily, blanket is back, and we are back on schedule.

On these days, I remember Autism, and I curse it for the pain and stress it causes. I lay awake, even though exhausted replaying the meltdown in my head and thinking how I could have handled it differently, and how I will tell his therapists tomorrow. I think about how I should be blogging about this everyday and educating people about this disorder; no epidemic that affects 1 out of 89 children. I think about all these things and wonder if I'm doing too much, or not enough. And I think was there something I did? And then tell myself to go sleep because I know I didn't cause this, but desperately want to understand why, and hate that there is no answer. I think of the parents who will find out their child has Autism today and how they will mourn the loss of the child they once thought they would have.

So on these days, I remember Autism. I look at my son with tears in my eyes for the hurdles he has to overcome and I look with gratitude that he has come so far and our days like this are few and far between. I am thankful that most meltdowns can be managed in minutes not hours, I am thankful he will wear yellow again and shirts with tags, I am thankful that he has words to express himself, where there once were none, I am thankful that he hugs me and says, "I love you, Mommy", because so many parents with these kids will never hear their child say that.

I am grateful that Autism made me slow down and realize how beautiful life's potential is, and how if I didn't stop to notice these small things, I would miss everything.

I am grateful.

December 15, 2011

The Do's and Don'ts of Blog Splortation

You read the title correctly. Blog Splorting. Never heard of it? Neither had I until I read Autism Army Mom's post, Things I've Learned from Blogging: A Pre-Mortem, circa July. Little had I known that I was already knee deep in Blog Splortation. Lynn has a fabulously hilarious blog, and I highly recommend reading it and the 22 Splorting comments that occurred that day. 
Blog Splorting, as coined by Lynn, is when you leave a sasstastic remark about a previous comment/commenter on a blog. Still confused, allow me to elaborate. We will use an excerpt from Beard and Pigtails most recent post commentary:
{Context of the Post was boogers on a church hymnal }
Christina M said...
Gross. I'm staying away from your church fo sho. Funny that you and Pigtails both cracked up though. Pretty sure putting boogers on hymnals is a sin somewhere.
Beard said...
No kidding, Holy water couldn't wipe away the filth that is Song #49.
Christina does stuff like that I'd imagine. She'll never know I wrote that. Bad thing about cracking up in church...hard to stop it.
Beard said... 
Yeah, Christina never checks back on comment responses. So we could call her a chronic hymnal wiper and she'd never know it. Nor sue us for libel.
About this time I receive a message from Christina.
Christina: Did you just say something about me on Beard's blog?
Me: No.  {Yes, that was a flat out lie; the jig was up boys and girls.}
I quickly fashioned the following response, because Christina is straight up Ninja. Well and she had just written a post on blogging vs. journalism and libel vs. slander.
I've been advised by counsel to retract my above statement, and say publically for the record that Christina is an upstanding young lady and wouldn't do such a thing. Besides, it was probably my kid anyway.
Christina M. said...
Heathens. Both of you hymnal corrupters.
Touché, my friend.
So there is one example, usually I don't retract my splorting, but I had splorted Christina a few times this week already, research for this post of course. She's a good sport...or splort?
You can always splort on your own blog. For example, I will usually reply to every comment.  If you didn't know that, you better check back, or subscribe to comments. I might have said something about you. Don’t worry, most of the time I just say you’re precious and cute.  

Someday, not long from now, in the New Year, I will move to Word Press and leave Blogger behind {you heard me Blogger} and you'll all get your replies in your inbox. Until then we can splort. Here is an example of how I splorted my BFF on my own blog:
Context for this comment is that I had mentioned the irrevocable damage birthing and nursing children had done to my boobs, and nonchalantly mentioned in a post that there may have been a boob show down to see whose girls were worse for wear. Of course hers, because she had twins plus one, no brainer. But I didn't name names. Actually, I have a lot of friends with twins; this twinning thing is an epidemic.
Wishing she was Anonymous BFF said-
Babe! Some of your non-blog, non-twitter friends do read your blog regularly, though it may not be daily. And I’m just going to assume you’re not talking about my ta-tas!
Cari said...
Awwww, Ali, thanks for leaving a comment! Really, thanks for reading my blog sweetie.
P.S. I was totally talking about her boobs!
See? She is none the wiser, although I just gave myself away. And Ali is smokin' hot by the way, and she has better bras and boobs than me too, darn it. Deep down, you want to get caught; it's too much fun not to.
It's nearly impossible for me to splort Christina and Beard anymore; they've caught on to my shenanigans. So that's where I'll tactically splort someone in a response to someone else, here's a peek.  Note, Beard had already commented earlier in the thread, so I thought he'd never check back, wrong.
@Pepper- Thanks, I'd high five you some ibuprofen if I could. Maybe all my blog friends are on the same cycle; Beard included.
Beard said...
"Maybe all my blog friends are on the same cycle; Beard included."

Oh jeez, manpons, are we going there in this thread?

And for the record, Beard, you never know, you just never know here in crazy town.  I could be writing a post on it as we speak.  Splortation within a post.
You see the best part about blogging, are the comments. Heck half the time they are funnier than the post. I'm just going to say, if I know you and we read the same blogs {triberrrrrs}, good chance of me splorting you. Heck if I know OF you I'll splort you.
Splorting might just be one of the single greatest ways to increase multiple views, readership and comments on your blog. You put the fear of God into people. And well, you're engaging your reader.  They'll check back, they always check back. Geez that Lynn is a manipulative mastermind!
But what if I can't think of anything smart or funny, you ask? Well that could pose a problem. I always think I'm smart and funny, which is unfortunate for you. But when in doubt, you could always say, "That’s what she said". Overused, yes, but better than wracking your brain for the not so perfect line. That should only be used in dire emergency, I have faith you can do better. Splorting doesn't need to be mean either. For example if you said, "that's what she said, asshat." Well that's just not necessary, now is it? You should also keep everyone's "Mamas" out of it.  And for goodness sake, don't splort drunk; don't even comment drunk, bad form.
Splorting is not for everyone; in fact some might consider it mean. And not every blog should be splorted. Use common sense when enacting splortation. I'll never splort you until I get to know you, too scary to splort a stranger; they may not understand and then you have this conversation:
Random splortee: Cari, I don't even know you but you are a meanie and need to keep your trap shut! Maybe instead of being a smart-ass you could add something of value to the comments. I think this is a cry for help.
Cari: I was just splorting you, come on. *sigh and crocodile tear* Oh yes, I cry.
So off you go, into the blogosphere with new knowledge in hand. Splort on, my friends.
Disclaimer: All of the above may be 100% accurate, or I could be making this all up. Splorting may or may not really exist. 

Also special thanks to Lynn, Christina, Beard and Ali for putting up with me and giving me permission to post this, blame them.

December 12, 2011

Blogs or Posts I Won't Read and Why

I'm feeling particularly cranky today. In fact, I'm pretty sure I could track my menstrual cycle by my rant posts...yeah, sorry TMI. But I've been blogging for awhile and there are some posts that I cannot bring myself to read. Even from some of my dearest, sweetest, most talented bloggers. This is just my personal take, what you do and don't do is your prerogative; I already suspect you may have low standards, as you are reading my blog.

Disclaimer: This is my opinion, doesn't mean its right or wrong, just the way I feel, blog on people!

Without further adieu, here is my list of things that will make me exit your blog post:

Asking for handouts:

Seriously don't act appalled. I've seen this and it rubs me the wrong way. You know you'll see the little Amazon/Pay Pal widget in the sidebar. These bloggers aren't asking for money for the kids in Africa or blogging for birth kits, no, they are asking for money for cameras, engagement rings and just handouts for you getting the pleasure of reading their blog. If you're selling your wares or books, I'm cool with that. I just can't justify giving you my hard earned cash for some jewelry you  'want'. You know I have a sophisticated palette, maybe I'll add a widget so you all can pay for my fancy cheese addiction. NEXT....

Stealing Recipes:

I love to cook ya'll. I am a recipe whore. I probably own more cookbooks than the local library. That being said, if you have a recipe to share, every other day, I'd like you to make it and tell me about it {kudos to the bloggers that do, I'm reading}, don't  just copy and paste the picture and send me to another blog. Making that recipe could be good blogging material. Did your kitchen burn down, did you slice open a finger, and how many times did you go to the store for forgotten ingredients or curse out Martha Stewart?  Just me? I think not.

Product "Reviews" and Giveaways:

I don't even click on the post if you're reviewing or giving something away. The day someone gives away and all inclusive vacation to paradise, I'll be there, until then, I don't want to read another canvas print review, sorry. Glad you got your free print, I just don't want one. I get solicitation to "review" products all the time. But sorry Hallmark, me buying 3 of your books to review and give away on my blog isn't my kind of deal. I even passed up free zoo tickets, possibly a moronic move on my part. Word of warning, I will be doing another I love you cheese company "thank you" review soon because they keep sending me cases of expensive cheese; hypocrisy at its finest. That cheese company has me right where they want me. Smart, very smart.

Now if the utility company would like me to review, oh, electricity, I'll make an exception, for a discount off my bill of course. 

Book Reviews:

Okay, I'll probably read your book review. I like books and contrary to popular belief, I can read. So I thought I'd do a quick book review here for you.
My kid's fave

"This was a nice, easy read. I highly recommend it."

-Bubble Gum on My Shoe's first official book review


I'll admit that I am a couponer. Not a coupon Nazi, who has time for that? Nevermind.  Plus with my son's very restricted diet and the fact that I cook and don't buy frozen dinners by the truckload, useful coupons for me are near obsolete. I have my sites that I check for the organic coupons and am on email lists for the things I need. That stuff is expensive; I need all the help I can get. But I won't be needing coupons for 18 cans of creamed corn for a dollar, so I'll probably pass. Thanks for having my best interest at heart though.

Vote for ME:

To end, I thought I'd put a linky up just so this is a well rounded post, and we could all piggyback; but I don't know how to do that, and I'm lazy. So I'll talk about one more thing that makes me stabby, voting. This is a tricky area. Why? Because I have fully pimped and begged for votes for "TOP 25 BLAH BLAH BLOGGER" and what did it get me? That pink circle over there in the sidebar. That's it! Can I just say how stressful those stupid contests are?  Yes, I let myself get swept away in the excitement of it all, and come on if you blog, you love validation.

You almost have to beg for votes so you don't look like a loser and come in dead last.  There are top notch marketing manipulators masterminds behind these Top Blogger shenanigans.  So sincere thanks to all who voted for me daily, weekly or once to shut me up. If I like your blog, I'll vote for ya, sure I will, once or twice, but then I'll forget. You reminding me every day....well that just might make me not want to vote anymore. And hey if you need votes for an Extreme Home Makeover, or a kidney transplant,  I will be loyal to a fault.  But the buttons at the end of every post? Please. For what? Is that really necessary? 

This post is dedicated to the Tribe of No.  See my Triberr badge over there, you could give me a click...I'll be taking that down in two days.  How about giving me some Klout?  Don't you know all of this stuff is accurate?

December 07, 2011

The Coldest Hell on Earth

Okay maybe "coldest" is an exaggeration; I don't live in the coldest place on Earth, but its cold. And snowy. And sometimes I like to complain about living in Minnesota. I have no one to blame but myself for living here, and actually, I don't mind it most times. I'd take the cold and snow over heat any day. Odd as I'm always cold, but that will just have to be analyzed later along with my many other dysfunctions and abnormalities.
There is lots of fun to be had in the snow: Skiing, building snow people, and snowmobiling come to mind.  I don’t ice fish, I think that is crazy and no amount of 6 six-packs could sway me.
I tend to get a little perturbed after the first few snowfalls, and here's why:

Someone knocked out the baby with a snowball,
she'd get you back if she could move her arms..or stand.
It's all fun and games until the baby someone gets a snowball in the face. Oh, never had a snowball in the face? Let me tell you friends, it feels like fire! It makes you want to throw something and yell at small children. Just speculating. If there is one rule of snowballing, you steer clear of the face. Heck even snowballs to the groin aren't so bad with all the padding from the snow gear. Again, just speculating. At any rate, don't do it unless you want someone to hurt you.

Grocery Carts
 That's right, as if it's already not hard enough to steer those bad boys with two broken wheels teetering and spinning mid-air.  No, you have to push that steel beast full of groceries {10 bags because you didn't want to go to the store while it was snowing...for the last 6 days} through a slushed out, 2 inches of snow. I liken it to a sled, there are no wheels spinning, there is no traction. You really have to put your back into it. What's that? No, here in the tundra we don't have young grocery boy types who push our carts to our cars for us, we are the martyr type and like to bag it all ourselves and haul it out alone. Oh and while you're pushing that rusted p.o.s to your car, your kid will inevitably lose a mitten. I don't even suggest a "kid-friendly car cart" in this'll never get home.
This is nothing...a taste if you will

Man's Work

Shoveling snow is back breaking work, that's why I make my Dad do it. Seriously, I shovel, I just always wanted to say "it's man's work".  You could always get one of those fancy snow blowing machines, but people, that's not easy either, especially when it's negative cold as hell outside.
Unburying your car is payback for all the bad stuff you've ever did in your lifetime. A gentle dusting I can handle, 6 inches of wet heavy snow is an entirely different story. It's not fun, and then the snow gets in your gloves and all over your coat, and it will take you 10-15 minutes and you'll be running late. It's cruel and unusual punishment, and I will be happy to have a garage again in a few short weeks. Be kind Mother Nature, I beg you.

The Gear
The investment into how many pair of mittens, hats, scarves alone, is like money flushed down the toilet. "Where’s your hat?" becomes your new mantra, along with, "you left your mittens where?" And you have to be the early bird and buy the "good" mittens, that are waterproof, before they are all gone by September 1st. We aren’t playing around here, we hoard the good mittens. Those knit gloves will last you like 2 hours and get you frost bite. I think Minnesotans get up earlier in the morning, and here's why, you have to put all those darn layers on your kid, then they have to pee, so take it off and then do it all again. We’re talking snow pants, boots, hat, gloves, coat and scarf, everyday...every time you go outside.  Yep, you'll wear it all when it's 29 below outside.

My car could be under there

One more piece of advice: Don't eat the yellow snow.  In fact, just keep walking.
So friends, thar she snows. Do you live where there is no snow? Some tropical oasis like California or New Mexico?  Don't tell me how warm it is where you are right now, I might snap. Does it feel like Christmas without snow? I'd miss that. It has its beautiful moments.
Fellow snow people, what do you hate most about the snow?

December 05, 2011

Bubble Gum On My Beard: To Infinity & Beyond

Single parenting a child of the opposite sex can lead to confusion, anxiety and perhaps drinking.  How long can you drag your son into the women's restroom with you?  How does a single Dad manage to buy the correct bra size when guys seem to have some genetic malfunction with the bra latch-ability alone? 

I've invited Beard, from Beard and Pigtails, over to help tackle the gender issue.  He's a single Dad raising a girl, and I'm a single Mom raising a boy.  {Psst. I'm over on his blog today.}  I asked if he wanted to make an even trade, and swap kids, but no dice.  Pigtails is pretty cute, I guess I'd keep her too.  According to our posts, we really don't have any answers to offer you, but maybe a glimpse of what's to come mixed with some been there, done that.

Oh, and Beard's been here before, so you can catch up here and right here.

Bubble Gum on My Beard: Solo Parenting to Infinity and Beyond

What does the future hold for this dad raising a little girl? She'll be a teen in four summers, which is also when my hair will give up the brown.

None of us know what's up there beyond the bend, but it's fun to squint ahead.

Soon she'll be surfing the curfew line and compulsive begging for a cell phone as I flick away her pimply boyfriends.

First bra (for daughter, not me) and Cousin 'Shelle (Aunt Flow's daughter) dropping by as Pigtails huffs the crabby hormones.

So many questions.

Will my kid seek me for girl advice or opt out and confide in her mom? I hope she'll come to me.

Will she latch to good friends and stay sweet? I've found I can help shape the gang she hangs out with by carefully selecting the school I drop her in. But will what I've taught her stick when she's let into the wild at college?

Will her mom set reasonable boundaries or will I fight a tide of indifference and loose expectations on the other side? I hope my kid doesn't side with the parent that's most lenient.

Will she take after her dad and have a hankering for running or will she choose chess club instead?

Will I marry or end up a bearded guinea pig recluse?

Who knows?
Who cares.
Fun times await!

Pigtails and I will hike and bike, run and repel.

Camp beside mountain streams, sailboat ocean swells and burn red on the beach.  Rail Europe and chronicle our adventure, Beard and Pigtails one-two keyboarding the blogosphere.

Maybe we'll take in a foster child.

So far, so good with this man raising a daughter. Surprisingly, she didn't mark down a wallet on her Christmas wish list, and has yet to mimic me shaving my scratch. Although I'd better get a handle on that burping thing at dinnertime. We both laugh after ripping a good one. I can only imagine how that first date of Little Miss Mega-Belch will play out.


Thanks for guest posting Beard!

Now friends hop over to Beard and Pigtail's and see how I managed to whittle writing the word penis down from eight to one!  That's talent folks.

November 28, 2011

Get Me A Match And Some Eggnog

Just so you know I’ve had this post written since before Thanksgiving; since some of the stores were playing Christmas music in October. A bit of clarification before I proceed, I am a lover of Christmas music. LOVER! It's sick and wrong and I will play it year round. But there are some Christmas songs that in my humble and refined opinion should be banned from the Musac and 24-7 Christmas music station forever {and that might not be long enough}. We all have personal preferences when it comes to music, but these are the top three for me:

"Christmas Shoes"  Bob Carlisle

The rundown: Poor kid wants to buy 'Christmas shoes' for his dying Mom laying up in the hospital so she can look pretty for Jesus, or dance with Jesus.

Shut up Bob! Really? Really. Yes, if I was in the store with the poor kid, I would absolutely buy the shoes for him because he only has a dime. What monster would not? I get it, I get the whole 'could be worse' scenario, but Bob, you don't need to make me burst into tears every 25 minutes {statistical rotation of Christmas Shoes} because I have no power to turn it off.
I don't know, maybe I've been hormonal for the last five or so Christmases, but that song makes me have a teary breakdown. I don't want to hear it anymore! Pipe in some Santa Baby {which I hate} because at least I wouldn't feel like I wanted to dive into holiday traffic. Don't guilt me into the Christmas spirit Bob, I am already having an anxiety attack trying not to make eye contact with the Salvation Army person as I walk past. This is a whole other post entirely, I'm not lying, and I just gave at the last store.

Anything Jewel

The rundown: Jewel does Christmas out of desperation, and it involves yodeling and jazz the same song. Spare me, I can barely stand her any other time of the year, I need not be subjected to such things.  Had there been a top four, Mariah Carey would've made the list as well.

"Wonderful Christmas Time" Paul McCartney

This song makes me twitch. I don't know if it's the synthesized whatever the heck that is, but it makes me want to punch something; and I'm not violent! I think people might snap while holiday shopping due to hearing the same politically correct 10 Christmas Winter songs over and over.  I am not saying Christmas music causes or advocates pepper spraying or gun use, that's just straight up crazy people.

If you haven't heard any of these lovelies, you'll have to You Tube it, but you've been warned.  I WILL NOT provide the links to such annoyance on my blog here.

What Christmas song(s) drive you to drink more eggnog than you should?

November 23, 2011

What I'm Thankful For 10 Years From Now....

Let step in a time machine, oh maybe ten Thanksgivings from now and see what I'm thankful for shall we?

Absolutely thankful I won the lottery...that could NOT have come at a better time. The $250 winnings paid for my kid's orthodontics appointment.

I'm thankful that my car is still going strong with 367,000 miles on it and I haven't had car problems in 9 years, except for the whole horn thing.

Thankful for my friend, Christina, who I live on a farm with, in hiding, because we've single-handedly pissed off the entire blogosphere and after the third witch hunt we knew we had to go underground.  Seriously, pitchforks?

Thank GOD the cause of Autism was discovered, and it's eradicated; thousands of therapists lose jobs, and now have blogs.

I think the secret to me not having one wrinkle in these 10 years is directly proportionate to the wine and chocolate intake.

I'm still humbled by all the hub-bub about me finding a cure for cellulite; I stumbled upon it really as I was just puttering around the garage.

I'm thankful I'm not the black sheep of the family anymore, and the crown has been passed on to younger more naive siblings.

Thankful to all the hot men with-jobs-who-love-kids-don't-have-commitment-issues-or-wives-or-girlfriends, I've dated...wait, even a time machine is not a miracle worker; gonna have to refer to Jesus on this one.

Thankful for my kids, the two loves of my life that brings me peace, joy and absolute insanity.

Thankful for my friends, who are more like my family and support me unconditionally and without my need to ask for help.

Thankful for my family who puts up with me, and still reads my blog even though I have 5 readers.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving, my friends, hold those near and dear to you, close your eyes, take a breath and embrace how truly, truly, blessed we are.

November 21, 2011

What I'm Addicted To Now: Part 2

I've come to a realization that I have many addictions.  I'm not ashamed to admit it, so I might as well put that to good use and blog about it.  A series is born: What I'm Addicted to Now.  I've already done part one, black cardigan sweaters, so now I give you part two: The Twitter.  I never said they were exciting addictions.

If you're reading this blog, there is a 65.3502% chance you are also on Twitter. If you are on Twitter, there is a 56.9834% chance {these stats are totally accurate, by the way} that you may have a slight addiction to 'the Twitter'. Follow me on twitter @bubblegumcari. I'm known in social circles as the "Twitter Monster" and  "enabler" amongst other things, like "the pretty one".  But it's not my fault, Twitter is like crack and I might be your dealer.  Twitter should actually pay me for all the kids I hook.

I am confessing to the world here and now, Facebook, I really don't like you much and I've been cheating on you with Twitter. You heard me!  I'm not quite sure what to do on Facebook anymore, Zuckerberg, the subscribing and timeline have confused me.  But as you all know, I just use Facebook to pimp out my blog, yep, sorry 'bout that, and thanks for reading!

Naturally Twitter takes some getting used to, no more blathering on in a status about recipes or re-posting something because you think no one or everyone will repost it and you do it out of guilt so you don't look like an insensitive ass. Nope, you have a sweet little 140 characters to get it all out there. Call it a challenge if you will; perhaps this is why Twitter attracts snarky types like myself. Need a pick me up? Check Twitter. Got time to kill, or should be working? Check Twitter. Want to get into a conversation about something totally ridiculous like Christmas lights? Twitter is for you.

Twitter is also a self-esteem booster. For example, I have 589 followers on Twitter and I've only been tweeting since May of this year. Good or bad, I don't know.  Pretty sure half are spam bots; but that's neither here nor there, I like it and it makes me feel loved. After all that's 589 tweeple that took the time to press the "follow" button because I said something either totally hilarious, brilliant, or completely ignorant. Or maybe they like my blog, or follow me because someone brilliant told them to; surround yourself with funny people that are smart, that's all I'm sayin'.

You can follow celebrities on Twitter too, quite the moment if they follow you back, none for me. But I did have a celebrity tweet moment with Lisa Remini from King of Queens. I replied to a tweet of hers and she responded! We're tight now and I call her LeLe, although she doesn't know this. Went down like this:

Go big or go home Remini! ;) Haven't lived until you've been to Twitter jail.

Leah Remini
LOL. That's how i do it!!

See? I'm famous.  Love ya, LeLe!  I might tweet stalk her just a little.

We've already covered that blog friends are real friends, they are some of my besties. How about Twitter friends? I'm going to say yes. I have met phenomenal communities of tweeps via Twitter, from Single Parents to parents of children with Autism, to dazzling bloggers.

Which brings me to my point, how I spent my Sunday night on the Twitter and why I laughed and cried so hard I almost peed my pants. Those crazy Autism parents got on a hashtag roll! Hashtag you say? Goes something like this #. Then add verbiage, #SingleParentsTalking OR #youmightbeanautismparentif, this allows you to view any tweep in the conversation, whether you are following them or not.

So last night, about 5pm, I was on the Twitter and saw the hashtag #youmightbeanautismparentif. Naturally I participated in this, for HOURS, and so did the Twitter Autism community. It's still trending my friends. Tweeps were getting tossed into Twitter jail left and right and reaching following capacity.  I've said it once and I'll say it again, parents of kids on the Spectrum are some of the drunkest funniest people I know. It was no doubt one of the best times I've had on Twitter to date, {love you #SingleParentsTalking too}. I want to share a few of my favorites, oh, and you might as well open a Twitter account, because the Dalai Lama, the President and MC Hammer are on Twitter.  Why aren't you?

you always talk like you are in a social story....."And that's ok"

♪ ♫ CyMbaLine ♫ ♪
you know what day of the week it is by the professional you have an appointment with

Leah Kelley
if you can recite the Jedi Code from memory and use this to encourage self-regulation strategies in your home...

Elise Ronan
if you know what ABA, IDEA, ADA, OT, PT, SPD, all mean IRL

Jodie Collins
the answer to "What would you like for dinner" is "Something round"

 You grieved for the child you thought you would have, but rejoiced with the one God wanted you to have.

Thanks to the tweeps that participated in the #hashtag throw-down!  You're my tweeple.

Many thanks, props and a Bravo to @RaisingASDkids and @manyhatsmommyMI the brains behind the #hashtag!  Worth your follow, as are the other tweeps mentioned above.

If you leave a comment, leave your twitter handle too, so I and others can follow, connect and stalk you on Twitter!

November 16, 2011

If You Can't Blow It Out Here, Where Can You Blow It Out?

That title is my Vince Vaughn-ism for the day {From the movie, The Break-Up, site seeing scene} so knock it off pervs.  But let's move on shall we? On to my rant of the week, because if I can't blow it out here, where can I blow it out?  I have been seething about this for weeks. So warning to the squeamish, this isn't your normal post about sweaters and stuff, it's a departure for me and gritty as I'll ever get {boy I keep upping the ante here}. But I encourage other Single parents to take the ball and run with it and do their own post on the topic, even if you don't agree with me, because I'd like to hear it.

That's not Beard, it's Vince Vaughn
It started innocently enough, as a guest post for my friend Beard, about Single Parent Self-Esteem, short, sweet and to the point,  with a little bit of Jerry McGuire bashing. But definitely edited. So let's get to the meat of the issue here. Skank-a-licious Single Moms and why you give me a bad rap! Now, there is such a thing as skanky single dad too,  I'm going to leave that alone for now. I'm a woman; I'm going to speak from my point of view. You may call me bitter, I very well might be; but I do have a point. I'm also mildly attractive and have a good to slightly annoying personality, so I fall in the "able to get a date range". This is not being cocky, it is healthy.

If I already haven't proven it time and time again, I am accustomed to making an ass of myself, I host the Single Parents Talking tweet chat on Friday nights. We consciously try to make an effort not to whine about exes, dates, or lack thereof, loneliness and such, but I have made quite the discovery since starting the chat. Since the chat is on a Friday night, we may tend to draw in a crowd of parents that aren't on dates, mostly because these parents have their kids full-time. It seems parents who split custody have more time and the resources to date; and that's just a fact. No hard feelings.

But here's what starts making the blood boil. Single parents feeling sorry for themselves because they are home alone tweeting with me about corn and yoga and not out with some guy who looks like a glittery vampire! Sure, I know, bottom of the barrel and such, but I really am nice, sometimes funny, if anything entertaining. So these parents feel like "losers", their words, not mine, because they haven't been on a date in....well awhile. That makes you a loser? That you have been working your ass off taking care of your children and are dog tired and are trying to keep a roof over your head and not spending your money on babysitters to go on dates? Nuh-uh.

Okay, how many married people have been on a date recently with their spouse? And I surmise they aren't getting any either, just sayin', you know what I'm talking about marrieds. Why do we feel as a single parent that we need to be out, "playing the field" or there is something wrong with us?

Here's what. I'm rather tired and irritated at the amount of single parent blogs reliving their sexual escapades. And to add insult to injury here, they have record number of readers and often boast about how people will ask them for advice. Look, I'm no Dr. Ruth, but pretty much anyone can get some, not that hard, there are always willing participants. But really? It's a vicious cycle of flirtation, seduction, some kind of unsanitary sex somewhere usually inappropriate, and then the fall-out, boo-hoo what's wrong with me followed by the man bashing when it all comes crashing down and he didn't call you. Puuuuhhhhlease, stop.the.madness.

Did we not learn anything from High School and College? Oh, and p.s. don't use that an as excuse either, that you were some child bride and never got to sow your wild oats, you're an adult now.

So this gives Single Parents a bad rap. Single Moms are NOT a sure thing dudes! We all aren't so lonely and pitiful that we're going to give it up.  Maybe, just maybe, I'd like to get to know someone first? I am divorced, and guess what, I just might have learned from my mistakes, so why would I complicate things by jumping in the sack with you? I was married for 8 years and still didn't know that guy...going to be a while, my friend.  And speaking of complicated, where do you even have sex?  Not at my house, and NOT with my kids there. Refer back to inappropriate places to have sex.

I know I'm going to get reamed for this too, but from a woman's point of view, okay my point of view, sex without some kind of emotional connection does not exist. Sure, try to convince me otherwise, but it doesn't. If you have found a way, congratulations, I guess, but I'd rather have meaningful sex anyway as opposed to empty sex. Just sayin'. Sure don't we all miss sex and have needs and blah, blah, blah.

Single Moms, if it was your daughter, what advice would you give her? What kind of example would you like to be? A strong woman that values herself, respects her body, doesn't need to fill herself up with empty sex and frivolous dates with guys that treat her like crap to fill the hole in her heart because you pack your kid up every other weekend, or are still hurt and broken from divorce, or feel like you can't do it alone.

I'm going to say it again, you are good enough. And there is someone out there that will see that, and will love that about you if you give it the chance and don't settle for Mr. Right Now. I'd rather be alone and happy with myself, than with someone and unhappy. Learn to be by yourself and love yourself, that's the greatest gift you can give your kids.

{Use the hashtag #SingleParentsTalking Friday nights, 9pm CST, on Twitter}

Skanky Moms and Dads you are invited too, despite my rant, I still love you.

Now, the comment section is open for discussion, if I haven't offended you terribly, or made you stop reading with my outrageous usage of run-on sentences. 

November 14, 2011

Blog-je vu and I'm Probably A Prude

So despite all my wishing, Monday is here again. Today I feel like I have blog-je vu. I started typing a post for today that I swear I've written before...early Alzheimer's, fatigue or the brilliance of my beautiful mind maybe? Good thing I have this blog as a record of all the stellar literature that is Cari! After searching two pages, I decided to chuck the idea, as it was depressing and I was thinking, "Wow, I really wrote that?” No worries friends, this week I will be posting on grocery carts and skanky Moms, so I may have had a brief light bulb moment, but nothing’s going to change around here. Sorry.  Besides, the posts are already scheduled, and I haven't the time to do some kind of Oprah-esque blog transformation, perhaps making this blog readable and/or enjoyable.

So for your Monday enjoyment, if you're still reading, that is; I've decided to compile a short list of things I've never done. In the process a startling revelation was revealed that I am also a prude. So maybe skanky Mom isn't so skanky and it's just me? No. Prudey McPrude or not, she's skanky. Alright here you go friends, happy Monday!

Things I've never done:

-Flashed or mooned anyone. Lucky them. Public service, really.

-Never been to jail. I'd die there, just sayin'.

-Never actually met anyone raised by a pack of wolves or that lived in a barn. Mom, you've got some 'splaining to do.

-Never hula danced, belly danced or been within a 100 foot radius of a stripper pole. It's more a sanitary issue for me really; do you think they disinfect those?

-I've never had a robot. Face it they are smarter than me.

-I've never seen or read Twilight. Glittery-type vampires don't appeal to me.

-I've never been fishing. No desire here.

-Never worn a stiletto, I'd break an ankle.

-Never given all the money in my wallet to a homeless person. I should do that; you should too, just once.

-Never cooked live lobsters, kind of freaky.

-Never been on a tugboat, again, I could live the rest of my life without crossing this off the list.

So there you have it. Riveting. And I've told you tons about myself without actually telling you anything at all.  Have a great Monday!
Feel free to share something totally random that you've never done, I'm sure you can do better than me.

November 08, 2011

Mom vs. The Cat: A Daughter's Plea, You Decide

Monday my kids were home from school sick.  Naturally we did what any normal household does on sick days...we vlogged!  What started as my daughter interviewing me quickly turned to a conversation about pets, i.e. cats, and why she needed one.  My children beg daily for a furry friend.  I told her to convince you, America, to convince me to get her a cat. 

Seeing as it was Election day today yesterday, this post is perfect post for such an occasion.  But also seeing as it is no longer election day, the polls are closed.  Enjoy this piece of cinematic-no make-up-wearing-cough-cough-hacking genius.


*NOTE*  The cuteness behind the blog, Beard and Pigtails, vlogged a response to Audrey's cat plea.  Despite the fact that I'm being ganged up on by children here, it's worth a peek.