Friday, December 20, 2013

Guess Y'all Better Duck

You gotta keep your head down people.  It's flying everywhere.  And, if you work for A&E, this is the week to take your vacation.  

Raul Ibanez and Ahn Yong
fooling around.  Until someone
ended up crying.
I have not written DTC for awhile because I just haven't had anything too exciting to say or share.  The same old celebrity nonsense didn't seem worth ranting about (but oh my God, Kanye is trying hard to make me notice him). And, besides the arrival of Raul Ibanez and Ahn Yong there hasn't been too much fun/funny going on.

But now I have to pipe in with my thoughts on Duck Dynasty.  I just can't let it go because it is so beyond ridiculous and stupid!  Beyond!  And, it seems like everyone has something to say about it.  There are people in support of Phil's right to say what he wants without punishment and there are those that think he is disgusting and deserves to be fired.  I'm annoyed by the whole thing because this outcome for those statements is exactly what anyone could have predicted.  Why all the carrying on?

If you are not in the know - Phil, the family patriarch on Duck Dynasty made anti-gay remarks in a magazine interview.  For good measure, he also seems to think that black people were happy and had no issue with white people prior to be given the same civil rights that white people enjoyed (like voting and not getting beaten to death for no reason).  He is not in trouble at this time for the comments about black people, but rather for his anti-gay comments about homosexuality being a sin and comparing it to bestiality.

My issue is that I don't see what all the ruffled feathers are about (Ha ha, ruffled feathers, get it?...I didn't even do that on purpose...Really, I am a hoot).  The Robertson family portrays themselves as backwoods ignorant hillbillies.  So why are we all surprised and taken aback when one of them acts like an ignorant hillbilly? 
(note - Phil Robertson and many of his family members are actually college educated and have made a boatload of money running a company selling their special duck calls.  So, ignorant and small-minded, yes.  Stupid, not so much.) 

I have a friend on Facebook who is annoyed that Phil was suspended.  This isn't because she supports what he said but rather because she thinks that he should be allowed to think or say what he wants and that if people don't like it, they can show their displeasure by not watching his show.  Why should A&E be forced to suspend him just to show they are being politically correct?  I agree, in theory.  But, this is all business.  A&E is just doing damage control.

A&E produces a scripted "reality" show that shows us the life and times of coarse, unrefined
Hate the hair.
Cannot even look at
those beards.
backwoods folks who are not affected by all their money (hello Beverly Hillbillies).  These guys totally play up their whole persona (in my opinion).  As long as people watch it, A&E is happy and probably couldn't care less what these people do.  But, they can't risk losing viewers and advertisers from other shows just because of this one.

Now that Phil has thrown a wrench into things, of course A&E is going to react.  How could they not?  Forget what the people who work at A&E might personally think (I'm sure many were appalled).  The company has to do whatever keeps the money coming in.  A&E had to decide which action would appease the most people/piss off the fewest.

People say ignorant and hateful shit all the time.  The way we send the message to them that we don't like it is to stop giving them a platform to say it.  A&E wants people and advertisers to know that they are not going to put money into a show or produce a show that supports people who say and do hateful things (even if it's just because they think that's what the public wants from them).  They didn't tell Phil Robertson he couldn't say certain things, but they have the right to disassociate themselves from him if he hurts the other projects they support.

So, bottom can say and do whatever you want.  You just have to be willing to accept the consequences.  We all make those choices every single day with everything we say and do.  Phil Robertson felt that sharing his beliefs and thoughts was worth risking his show.  He may have miscalculated his worth to A&E, but he didn't say those things without a thought that some people wouldn't like them.  He didn't care.  He wanted to say what he wanted to say.  Good for him.  I bet he wouldn't undo it either if you asked him.
On the plus side, now you know exactly who are you dealing with and you can decide if you want to read or see or hear anymore from him.

Well, isn't that lucky?
What I think would have made this whole story more interesting would have been if Kanye piped in.  I mean, as the next Nelson Mandela he probably would have had a lot of deep and insightful shit to throw into the mix.  I personally am waiting to see what the next thing Kanye does that causes Obama to call him a jackass. Oh wait!!!  No, no, no.  Not Kanye!  We need Dennis Rodman!  When does he get back from North Korea?  He's the guy we need to sort this out.

**Next Up - the new social contract regarding winter holiday.**

Monday, November 11, 2013

We Have A New Addition

Ha ha, no, it's not a baby.  And PS, that's not even funny.  What's funny about a 46-old-woman adding a new baby to the existing line-up of an 18-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl?  Nothing.  That's what's funny about it.  You guys have a warped sense of humor.

Look how sad Raul
was before he got a
real home.
You know what is funny?  And beyond super awesome?  A 5 foot tall metal chicken.  That's right, I said it.  I finally found Raul Ibanez!!!  He is perfect in every way.  He is fun.  He appreciates a good joke.  He does not poop or make noise or ever talk back.  He is totally chill.

Just a little back story for you...about a year and half ago I read a post by The Bloggess.  She had written about how she bought a big metal chicken instead of towels.  It was the first thing I'd ever read by her and it was hysterical!  I was wildly amused by the idea of having a big metal chicken.  I mean that is something that is going to be funny every time you look at it.  Who wouldn't want one?  

I decided to name my chicken Raul Ibanez.  I like saying that.  It's very catchy.  At the time I picked the name, the real Raul Ibanez played for the Phillies, my home team.  Before I could find my own chicken (who knew it would be that hard), Raul got traded.  I don't remember where.  But, I kept the name, because I just felt that my chicken, who I knew would one day end up with me, was named Raul Ibanez.

I looked and looked for my own chicken.  But alas, none was to be found that was more than 2 feet tall.  That's cute and all, but not funny or useful.  I finally found one online for $800.  Um, no thank you.  Sigh.  This went on for over a year and half.

And then...there he was!!  The Party and I were visiting LG and The Boss (TB) (click here if you don't remember why that's their names) in Rehobeth Beach.  We were just walking along and there was Raul Ibanez!  I went right into the store he was in front of to ask the price.  Way better than $800, but not as low as I was hoping.  I needed to think on it a little.  Well, the more I thought about it, the more it was totally worth it.  I mean it's a big 5 foot tall metal chicken!  Years of enjoyment would be mine.  

The Party, who is a little skeptical about fun, couldn't believe I was really going to buy Raul, but I did.  I told Party it could be my Chanukah present.  That seemed to help him reconcile the expense.  I also told him that really, it was a bargain.  If I had wanted a piece of jewelry for Chanukah, that would have cost more money and I wouldn't even have enjoyed it as much.  This is a gift that will make me happy every day and he didn't even have to think up something to buy me.  Honestly, he really should have thanked me.  I think I'm going to tell him that.

We had The Party's car with us, which Raul Ibanez wouldn't fit in, so LG took him to her house at home (she had her SUV).  Essentially, LG fostered Raul for us for two weeks until we could come get him.  They spent a lot of quality time together and Raul really adjusted well to domestic living.

This morning, Raul's first day home, The Party says to me "There is a big chicken in the living room."  "I know!  Isn't it awesome?!  Didn't you totally smile when you saw him?" "No.  He scared me.  I think he moved a little."  "Oh my god!  Do you really think he moved?  That would be so cool."  Party just looked at me and went into the kitchen to get some coffee (not for Raul I might add).

LG taught Raul some life skills.

Raul Ibanez practiced his soccer.
He hopes to play travel next year.

Even the best chickens sometimes
get into trouble when they are
not being supervised.

Finally, Raul is relaxing in
his new forever home.

Friday, September 13, 2013

You Know How To Take The Reservation...

" just don't know how to hold the reservation.  And that's really the most important part of the reservation, the holding.  Anybody can just take them."

For those of you who are a normal age, you know where this quote is from.  And, the scene was very funny except for the part where the whole thing was kind of true and therefore, not funny.  A paradox, if you will  (Look at us using fancy words and concepts).

I thought of this quote the other day when I had to call a restaurant back in order to keep my reservation.  WTF?  I called you in the first place!  Why do I have to return your confirmation phone call, that I missed, just to keep my spot!?!?  It's all I can do to get my sh*t together enough to call and make reservations and doctor and hair appointments in the first place!  Now I have to add to that the panic of calling back ASAP so as not lose my reservation?  No thank you!

Restaurant:  Hi! (fake cheery voice) We're calling to confirm your reservation (that you made less than 24 hours ago) for 7 people at 8:30pm tomorrow.  You now have 1 minute and 16 seconds to call us back before we give your table away.  Go.

Me:  Wait.  What?!  I'm in my car.  I can't look up the number and there are no red lights between here and my house!  I cannot reach my Xanax.  I'm seeing white.  Deep breath.  Deep breath.

Some places will call and "remind" you of your appointment or reservation and ask you to call back IF you CAN'T keep it.  That's great.  Reminding me of anything is always a good idea.  Example of why:

My Mother:  Is it okay if I stop by your house tomorrow between my appointments?

Me: Of course.  Just so you know though, I will probably forget, but you can still come.

My Mother the Next Day after letting herself in while I am upstairs:  Hello? Hello?

Me:  Aaaaaaaahhhh!!!  What!?!?  Oh my god!!  Oh.  It's you.  Hi.

So, you see all reminder phone calls are not bad.  Just ones I have to return/acknowledge.

OMG!!!  Someone just called my name!  I'm totally going
to be killed!  I also have this same level of reaction when
someone walks up quietly next to me when I'm reading
 my book and starts a conversation in a normal voice.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Being One Is Not The Same As Having One, But It's A Blurred Line

I'm a little late to the party, but I still feel compelled to share some thoughts about this
Just FYI, this isn't Alan Thicke,
Growing Pain's Dr. Jason
Seavor.  I don't think he
would be amused.  At all.
summer's stuck-in-your-head-catch-yourself-singing-nasty-lyrics song.  There has been lots of buzz about both the song and its accompanying video.  Yes, Blurred Lines.  I would bet that by this point Robin Thicke himself is sick of singing it and hearing it.  Yeah well, serves you right dude, you started it.

I managed to ignore the song the first half of the summer.  This is mostly because I happened to, for some reason, only ever catch a bit or piece of it.  It never got my attention and I'm not a Robin Thicke follower, so I just didn't pay it much mind.  Then The Party stepped in.  He told me he had watched the uncensored video for the song when he went to see what the big deal was.  The big deal is that the video has mostly naked girls dancing around.  Teeny tiny bottoms and no tops.  Party seemed more amused by the Jimmy Kimmel spoof of the video (though no doubt he wasn't at all troubled by naked boobs in the other one).

Off I go to see if women everywhere should be outraged.  And then, before I found the video, I found the best thing!  Okay, not the "best thing," but way better than the video.  I found the Jimmy Fallon and The Roots sing along with Robin Thicke video.  Totally Beyawesome!  Jimmy Fallon and The Roots have a few videos like this.  They are in a little tiny room with classroom instruments and a guest "star" and they all sing whatever song together.  Jimmy Fallon could not be happier. Honestly, go watch these videos. 

So, after I see this video and have a sudden interest in Robin Thicke and The Roots (I am always impressed when people can actually perform live and do a good job) and wish I could be friends with Jimmy Fallon, I decide I should still go watch the uncensored video of the song.  I should have stuck with Jimmy and The Roots.

I don't even know where to start except to say the clearly the entire song and video was conceptualized and created by a room full of 15-year-old boys.  I bet it was like an AP project or something for them.  If I was Robin Thicke's wife I wouldn't even be annoyed he's all over naked girls, I would just be shaking my head and asking "Dude, what is wrong with you?"

The Blurred Lines video is horrendous (big, giant whistle for the video).  Here is why:
1.  It is poorly lip-synced.
2.  Despite the topless girls, the video isn't sexy.
3.  There doesn't seem be any actual reason for the girls to be topless, they are just dancing around.
4.  Even uncensored, you can't really hear all the words to the rap.
5.  I looked up the words to the rap - it's filthy. (The rap in The Roots video is great!!  And clever and cute).
6.  It's a boring, all white set.  Except for the silver mylar balloons that spell out "Robin Thicke has a big d*ck."  Really?!  Someone gave that the green light but still has their job?  You see why I think teenage boys were involved?  We are totally adding a smack to that whistle.
7.  Of course, they had to make a clean version, you can't show the original anyplace like MTV or VH1.

As I spouted off all the things wrong with the video to Boy and The Party, they laughed and laughed at me (Boy even posted several rude and mocking tweets about me and my opinions).  Pretty much, Party informed me that there are naked breasts in the video, so no one cares about that other stuff.  Boy then chuckled and elbowed Party, "But Dad, they can't show it on MTV."  (more snorting and laughing)  Then he looked at me and said "They play videos on MTV?" (side holding and chortling)  Yes, you guys are so funny!  Not.

As for the song itself, it certainly is catchy, no doubt.  There has been some buzz that it is a copy of Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give it Up".  You can also feel the "Kiss" by Prince vibe working with the falsetto/regular voice thing.  The "original," "non-tribute" part of the song, the rap, is a disaster.  As mentioned, the words are awful, it's not rapped well, and they have to bleep out so much of it, it's pointless.

For extra good measure, if you are not generally offended by the song's words, part-way through there is a line "You're the hottest bitch in this place."  Because that is inappropriate and offensive, when the song is played on some radio stations they voice over it with the word "ho." I don't even understand that.  It defies understanding.  "Ho" is not better!  (We could spend all day discussing the other words in songs that the radio stations, for some reason, thinks are fine for general listening).  Almost forgot!  "I feel so lucky, you wanna hug me.  What rhymes with hug me?"  That last part is for those of us who didn't "get" what he was trying to say (no doubt, more work by teenage boys).  In an odd twist of things, Robin doesn't come out say "f*ck me" even in the uncensored video.  Apparently, that is over the line.  I guess the line is less blurred when it comes to the f-bomb.  Who knew?

Oh yeah, the final verse throws in marijuana smoking.  Really, this song has something for everyone.  And PS, where is Tipper Gore when you need her?

I guess Robin is not happy that
our view of his (possibly) big
business is being blocked.
*Song is not appropriate for children.
*Video is poorly done and stupid.  
*Jimmy Fallon version of song is very fun (ignoring that the song is still not really g-rated, but ev).
*I really want to go see The Roots now (who are from Philadelphia, so clearly we are meant to be friends).
*I kind of want to know if Robin Thicke does have a big d*ck.
*Please know that I am using the work "d*ck" instead of you know, the real word, because I don't want to start getting spam comments or obscene e-mails when this post comes up for people searching for "big d*cks."  Ditto "f*ck."
*Jimmy Kimmel's spoof of the video is funny, but there are no naked breasts if that affects your decision to watch it.

The End

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Halfway House For Kids Reentering Society

This is SB before her release from prison camp.
She is the one with the ball.  She is with her
"campies' (yes I made up that word and it cracks
me up) so she is happy and pleasant.
Yeah, so SB is back from overnight camp.  We counted down the days.  We couldn't wait to see her.  I believe we made it about 24 hours before I had to check the camp website to see how many days until camp starts next year (313 as of today).

After the initial round of hugs and pleasantries, all questions and comments were met with disdain and looks of disgust.  Why would we ask that?  How would she know?  What do you even mean?  Why do you care?  Then add the nodding, patronizing smile, eye roll and "okay" when we tell her she needs to stop being so prickly.  When we get further annoyed she huffs "I'm not even doing anything!"  Sigh.

I think the problem is that the kids spend 7 weeks at camp with no parental supervision or daily input.  I also think that we need to start treating campers like released convicts in an attempt to help them more smoothly reenter society.  You know, help them be a success on the outside.

It really does make sense if you give it some thought.  Like people in prison, campers have limited access to the outside world.  They can only call home a once or twice (if at all) the whole summer.  They only get one family visit for the whole seven weeks.  The only news or outside information they get is what camp tells them or what they get from letters.  The food is passable, but not fabulous.  The beds and bunk houses are clean, but hardly luxurious.  Ditto the showers.

I am well aware that camp is waayyyyy better than being in prison.  Plus, it has the added benefit of not
This the halfway house
bus.  Note the campers look
 a little disoriented.
being something you have to be embarrassed about when people ask where your kid is.  

I have figured out how to deal with these released convicts home-bound campers.  They should go to halfway houses for campers for a week.  It's perfect because when overnight camp ends, there is still a week of day camp left, so it gets them home right when everyone else finishes up with their summer activities.

At the halfway house, the campers would have some chores and the house mothers would keep a little bit closer tabs on them than the counselors at camp did.  For instance, the housemother might ask if they've brushed their teeth or washed their hands (at all this week).  The house mother would make the campers store their clothing on shelves and in drawers and not keep everything randomly strewn around the floor, as the campers had become accustomed to doing.  The housemother would also give extra chores to any campers who rolled their eyes or who gave snotty answers to reasonable questions.  She would slowly reintroduce computer and phone time.  That way, when the camper got home, she wouldn't have to spend the first 48 hours on the computer and phone with the people she just left.

Prisons Camps of yesteryear.
Everyone is dressed the same and huddled
together, likely complaining about the food.
Essentially, each bunk at camp is their own little prison gang.  The halfway houses would have campers from all different camps, so each camper had a few friends, but wasn't surrounded by all the members of their gang their camp friends.  It would help them get used to not being surrounded by 8-10 of their closest friends 24/7.  This would also foster the desire to go home to the familiar because campers don't like anything new or anything to change; they would be horrified by new people from other camps with whom they were supposed to mingle.

Once the campers were released to their parents, they would be happy to see their parents and be ready to focus their full attention on their family and home friends.  Once they had been camp-detoxed, their homecoming would be a pleasure for all and neither parents nor children would have to immediately start the countdown for the next year's camp date.

Monday, August 5, 2013

That And A Dollar Will Get You A Cup Of Coffee

We can make this another $25,000 Pyramid Category - Things That Are Worthless.  Or, perhaps better named - Things That Require A Throat Punch.  How cool would it be if we could actually get them to make an episode of the show with all the categories we want?  The possibilities are endless!  Things That Explain Why Your Neighbor's Husband Is Sleeping In The Yard, Reasons Why Your Kid Is Out In Public With No Pants, Things You Find In A Mom's Mini Van...

As fun as this game would be (and I am totally trying to figure out a way I can make this into a real game and become rich before someone steals my brilliant idea), I started out writing this post because I felt there was a real need for a list of topics that need to be banned as well as people who need to shut the f@*$ up.  If I had addresses, I'd be sending out DTC STFU bracelet (considering a reprint of those).

STFU List 

Right up there with fat free
ice cream or cheese.
1.  Ted Nugent.  I refused to even read past the headlines because he is such an ass.  He called Stevie Wonder "brain dead" for boycotting Florida and he is saying Zimmerman should sue Travon's parents.  Everyone is welcome to their opinion, but you are an ass.  Obs, whistle and smack.

2.  The Boston Bomber.  This is more aimed at the media and their need to plaster his picture everywhere anytime there is mention of the story.  An especially big smack goes to Rolling Stone Magazine.  This guy and his brother killed and maimed innocent people.  They have destroyed people's lives and have added one more thing all of us have to worry about when we gather together for community and charity events.  No one, but the victims in particular, should be forced to see this guy's face everywhere they look.  The public doesn't need any more "get to know you/ life story" information on Tsarnaev brothers.

3.  All Kardashians.  And anyone married to or sleeping with them.  I assume no explanation is needed.

4.  Paula Deen.  My God woman!!  Whatever you did or did not say/do 25+ years ago would not be biting you so hard in the ass right now if you would JUST STOP TALKING.  And for the love of cheese, hire someone to do damage control for you and do every single thing they tell you to do.  Oh, and JUST STOP TALKING.

5.  All news from American sources regarding the Royal Birth.  We get it, Kate and Will had a baby.  Snore.  There is not one thing about that requires this level of reporting, speculating or commentary.  The birth of this baby does not affect Americans in any way!  It doesn't even affect anybody British, they just have some weird interest in continuing to have a Royal Family.  I do not care what Harry thinks about getting knocked further out of the running for King.  I don't care what diet and exercise regimen Kate plans to follow to get back into pre-baby shape.  I do not want to see weeks and weeks worth of baby pictures with thoughts on which former monarchs the baby might resemble.

6.  Anthony Weiner.  Anyone who is friends with Anthony Weiner.  Anyone who wants to talk
I'm sure Giselle
or Tory Spelling
can shed some light.
about Anthony Weiner.  Your last name is Weiner and you texted pictures of your junk - you will forever be a joke.  And really, really yucky.

This is all I have for now.  Definitely let me know if we need to add anyone.  I'm sure we do.  Who's the latest celeb mom whose lost all her baby weight and will probably write a book telling us the best way to parent now that she's had one baby for 5 minutes and is an expert?  Whoever that is, she can be on the list.  Also on the list can be whatever sports figure has completely trashed his reputation and risked his career this week by being an asshat.  

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Things That Are Ill-Advised

I only wish they still had the $25,000 Pyramid on TV because this would be an excellent
This category could
be for the adult version.
category.  Below would be the clues.  Since the show's not on, you can just use the clues as a handy list of things you should really think through before you do.  You might even want to laminate the list and carry it with you.

1.  Most Hawaiian Shirts - unless you are in Hawaii, the trend has kind of passed.  There are only a few I have seen recently that worked.  They mostly look like ugly drapery that has been made into shirts.

2.  Most Print Pants - of all print pants in the entire world, only about 1% are actually cute.  Add to that that only about 1% of the population is going to be able to pull off said pants.  That's a pretty low chance for a good match up (I'm sure there is some formula for an actual percentage, but I don't have that kind of time).  Sadly, there are a lot of people who think they are in this elite group.  To avoid further cringe-worthy mishaps, I think they should just stop making print pants altogether.

3.  Singing any Kind of Top Hit Song or Song by an Iconic Singer - just don't.  I am talking about any song that is so awesome and/or well known that everyone knows/loves it.  Unless you can kick its ass or come up with a completely new way to do it (you can't), don't.  I don't care if you are on TV, doing bar karaoke or at your cousin's wedding.  Look at the Glee kids.  They are really good singers, but their Don't Stop Believing pales in comparison to the original.  Steve Perry owns that song.  Put on the list anything by Mariah, Whitney, Celine or Aretha.  Also, for you guys out there, some songs only work because of the singer. If you are not Kenny Rogers or Neil Diamond, then you can't sing The Gambler or Sweet Caroline.

Just so you know, when
your kid asks why, it's
not because he's smart
like Einstein.  He's annoying,
like all other kids.
4.  Answering any "Why" Questions Past the First One - if a child asks "why" in response to something you've told him or a request he's made, feel free to give a reason.  The first time.  All further "whys" will result in your blood pressure going up and the child in question's health and safety being jeopardized.  Kids think the "Why" game is a fun sport.  They can play all day and they won't even notice that your face is turning purple.  They're clueless/evil.

5.  Doing Anything Other Than Walking After You Eat - you are not 20 anymore.  I don't care if you are in great shape, you're old and your body cannot digest and do something else at the same time.  Even walking away from the table is a stretch.  Any attempts to run, exercise, ride amusements or dance are going to end poorly.  And you know what, throw sex in there too.  It would probably make you throw up.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

6.  Stocking up on Food Your Family Likes - you might as well burn your money.  If you buy something once and your family likes it, you'll often buy it again.  If it goes over big a second time you will think you are being smart to buy a larger size or extras.  Sucker.  Trying to save money or save yourself an extra trip to the market absolutely guarantees that no one in your family will ever eat or drink said item again.  Fact.

I will be thinking up other some other Pyramid categories because this is almost as fun a game as News/Not News.  I will be also be thinking of how we can turn it into a drinking game since I don't think anyone is going to pony up 25k for us to use as prize money.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Know Your Customer

As I was about to get started writing this, several people posted onto Facebook the link to this new parenting method - it's called CTFD - "Calm the F*ck Down."  Our friend Josyln from Stark.Raving.Mad.Mommy. even gave her take on it at

I think it's pretty weird that as I was formulating my parenting tips there would be a sudden rush on parenting tips.  Now it kind of looks like I am just jumping on the bandwagon.  Well, I'm not.  I had my ideas earlier this week, I just didn't get to the writing it down part.  So really, I am a procrastinator, not a copy-cat.  Just so you know.  No really, I thought of this Monday.  I did.

Anyhoo - back to knowing your customer...this is for parents AND children.  I think this revolutionary idea will help parents feel less guilty and help kids be less annoying and unconscious to the world around them.  Win-win.

It's always important to remain
a caring and nurturing parent.
A lot of parents try not to yell at their kids too much.  They don't want to be too shouty.  They don't want their kids to feel upset or scared or bad about themselves.  No.  Stop thinking this way.  It's good to yell.  And you know what, your kids totally know when you are about to lose it and start yelling - but yet, they keep going.  Kids like consistency.  They like to know what to expect.  If they are being jerks (that's right, I said jerks) and you don't yell at them, they become confused.  They don't really think you're angry or upset if you talk calmly to them.  Kids are pretty slow learners.  Quiet soothing voice means happy/not in trouble.  Yelling means knock it off/big trouble. 

First, let me say I don't mean ripping your kid a new one  Most crappy, annoying kid behavior doesn't warrant reducing your kid to a sniveling heap of pitiful.  Name calling and being mean and sarcastic is rarely an effective parenting tool, nor is it nice or a good example of how to handle anger.  Unless your kid has carjacked someone or is a drug dealer, simple yelling will suffice.

"Why" you ask?  I will tell you.  Sometimes children don't understand their native language unless it is spoken to them in a loud voice.  Scientists can't figure out why this is, but it's a fact (it is).  Children try to apply this concept when dealing with you as well.  They firmly believe that if they yell/whine/scream something louder, then it's more true.  

But wait, there's more.  When you raise your voice and sound annoyed or aggravated, you are helping your
This mom is caring and
loving and is helping 

her kids avoid injury.
child learn to "know your customer."    That is an important survival skill people. It's akin to knowing not to poke a bear.  It's just more subtle.  Kids need to learn what will set you off.  If they don't want to hear you yell or get a time-out or lose a privilege, they need to learn how to act right and listen the first time.  This will help them in school, the work world and life in general.

Think about it.  By the time you were 8 or 9 you knew exactly what you better not do/ get caught doing if you didn't want your mom or dad to go totally batcrap crazy on you.  This translates into real world ability.  At this point in your life you know not to provoke some thug on the street who looks menacing.  If you walk up to that guy and call him a punk-ass bitch he's not going to calmly tell you that those words were hurtful and that you shouldn't judge people by what they look like.  He's going to pound you into next week.  You know this because your parents yelled at you.

In summary, what I am telling you is that by yelling at your kids they are learning what behavior will keep you from yelling.  Learning how to judge people and their reactions and what they do and do not like will help your kids make friends, be more pleasant to be around and keep them out of danger.

I know some of you extra nice, super-nurturing parents out there are still feeling unsure that raising your voice to make your point is emotionally healthy for your kids, but trust me, it is.  This concept has been extensively studied at the DTC Institute for Technology and Science-y Stuff.  I will offer you a little tip if you are feeling squeamish or don't know how to get started yelling at your kids.  When my kids were little and they were really starting to make me angry, I would say "If I say this again, I am going to be yelling it."  It goes back to the slow learner thing.  It actually worked.  And by worked I mean that I didn't feel the least bit bad when I finally had to yell.

See!  Moms who are
calm and don't yell
HAVE to drink.  You
can drink just because
you want to.
Oh my God, I totally forgot that the whole yelling thing is also good for your mental and physical health.  Instead of bottling up your rage and masking it with alcohol and medication, you will feel more relaxed and mentally refreshed.  If you yell, you won't need so much or wine or vodka or Xanax.  That's actually supposed to sound like a good thing even though it sounds a little sad.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Beware: This Could Happen To You

This is merely a representation
exaggerated for humor purposes.
I would never act like this.
 I wouldn't.  You don't know.
I don't want to alarm anyone, but my life is basically over/meaningless.  The Boy will be going to the University of Delaware in the fall and tomorrow he has his orientation.  I will skip over telling you how ridiculous it is that they charge the students AND the parents for orientation (two separate ones of course) and get right to the my life is over part.

I signed on to be the mom of children.  Chil-dren.  Not grown-ups.  *I'm* a grown-up (for argument's sake)!!  How can I be expected to parent what is essentially a contemporary?  I mean, he is starting college and I am practically just out of college - how can I be his parent?  Oh?  What's that you say?  I got out of college almost 25 years ago?  Are you sure?  That just does not sound right.

Sigh.  I don't see how it's fair that I want to be the mother of people I can pick up and cuddle and kiss whenever I want and instead I have a daughter who towers over me and a son whose whiskers rub on my face when I kiss him.  Don't get me wrong, I am well aware of the benefits of older children.  Lots of great things, not the least of which is that I can go wherever I want pretty much whenever I want and don't need a babysitter.  Don't think that's not a dream.  But still, I liked it better when we all agreed I knew best and people begged for my attention.

...Two days later

I didn't finish the post before we left for orientation.  And now I'm back.  And I still think the
You should have seen the
students helping with this.
All cheery and spirited and
welcoming.  Like that was
going to distract me from
being freaked out.
whole thing is bullshit.  First off is the food situation.  The dining situation is nothing like it was when any of us went to college.  There are tons of delicious, attractive, healthful options, offered in a variety of settings.  And, if the dining schedule/menu doesn't work for you on a given day, you can use your flex points for various food court-like options.  These extra options also include mini marts throughout campus, that stay open late, where you can get pre-made meals or fresh produce.  When I was in college, the only dining excitement was if we could find two dining halls in two consecutive days that were serving grilled cheese and waffle fries.  I still don't know what Supreme sauce is, but they used that on a lot of things.  There's no Supreme sauce now.

Oh, and as the parent, you are supposed to pay the bills and fill out the forms, but you can only do that when your student signs into the system and clicks on the "let my parents in to pay you" option.  The law prohibits colleges from giving you any information about your student, but you are still supposed to be completely responsible for making sure everything is taken care of and that your student's account has the proper funds for tuition, books and food.  You are supposed to do this in a non-helicopter parent way.  Essentially, everything I found out at orientation that I am supposed to take care of, I can only do if my kid remembers to check his university e-mail and tell me.  Sounds like an awesome system.

Poor Guy didn't even know how
ridiculous his question sounded.
It's sad when people are in
denial.  Not everyone can be
emotionally healthy like I am.
Overall, orientation was not too traumatizing for most of the parents or kids.  As parents, we all felt a lot better about our coolness and ability to "let go" when during one session a parent (a dad no less) asked if there is anyone that is making sure that kids aren't staying up until 2 in the morning and are eating.  Bahahahahaha!  Good one.  The student panel chuckled and elbowed each other before one of them pulled it together enough to say "No, your student is on their own."

So friends, for those of you a ways off from college, don't worry.  There is always a chance your kid won't get into college and then you won't have to be all freaked out that you have a kid in college.  Because that would make it better, right?  Or, if that sounds like maybe it could end poorly, push your kid to do well and get into a good college, but start upping your drinking now.

Friday, July 5, 2013

DTC - It's Like A Variety Show, Only Better

Maybe if The Party would
dress up with me while I made
mac and cheese, we might
get a TV deal.
Well, it's probably not better because there are no costume changes or ice skating, a la The Donny and Marie Show.  And, no one will sing I'm a Little Bit Country, I'm a Little Bit Rock 'n Roll with me.  And, I can't do both parts myself because obviously.

But, it's at least as good as a variety show because mac and cheese is involved.  I know, we don't usually discuss cooking around here, but, we are new and improved and we are going to expand our horizons.  And, my friend Echo (isn't that the coolest name) asked me for my mac and cheese recipe and said I should make it a blog post because that is the way a recipe should be given/written.  So, who knows, maybe you will see other recipes.  I don't make that many things, so we'll see how that goes.  I'll be happy to pass along some of my recipes for ordering out and making reservations.  You shouldn't just wing that stuff.

Anyway, Echo was saying she didn't see the beauty of baking mac and cheese - what was wrong with it the way it was?  It's creamy and delicious and when you bake it, it gets dried out, not more exciting.  So, I told Echo, that while m&c IS super delicious as is, it can be even more awesome baked (the m&c, not the cook).  Please note, baking your m&c does add extra opportunities to burn yourself, so keep that in mind if you have issues.

Here is the recipe the way I gave it to Echo:

Cook a box of penne or elbows or spirals - whatever makes you happy. Aim for the slightly al dente side since they will get some more cooking time. Just slightly firmer than you would want if you were eating them right away.

I leave noodles in the strainer after I rinse them.

In pot I cooked noodles in I use Ragu cheddar cheese sauce as a base (you can also use Campbell's cheddar soup, I just like the taste of this better). You don't actually have to use a base like this, but it helps with creating a quick and creamy cheese sauce.

You can use pre-shredded or shred your own (I just read they are similar in cost pound for pound) cheese. I switch using either. I use a mix of sharp and mild cheddar. I also add a couple heaping tablespoons of ricotta (not a must).

Add milk (I use 1%) and cheese until you have the amount you want and its a thick sauce. Consistency of a cream soup I would say. Better to be too thick than too thin.

I also sometimes add some shredded smoked Gouda or broken up pieces of American cheese for creaminess.

Pour noodles into cheese sauce. Don't use all the noodles until you see if it will use up too much sauce (use a bigger pot than you need to cook noodles so there isn't an overflow issue with the sauce and cheese). Regardless of how careful you are, you will probably get some noodles on the stove or on the floor. You should probably pick them up, but your choice.

Remember to leave it creamier than you would normally eat it. It should seem like there isn't enough noodles for the cheese.

Pour into greased casserole dish.

*Note* After I grease dish - I cover bottom in shredded cheddar for a a yummy chewy cheesy bottom and because there aren't enough calories and fat as is.

On Top -

Take a sleeve of Ritz (or like) crackers. put sealed sleeve in zip lock bag. gently pummel sleeve until crackers are crushed. if you don't use the zip lock bag, the sleeve will pop and crackers will shoot all over the floor (trust me). You could use a food processor - but then you have to clean it.

Put crackers in bowl. Add a couple teaspoons of melted butter and mix together (it's easier with your hand) into slightly moist crumbs. Sprinkle on top of mac and cheese.

Bake at 350 until crumbs are browning and mac and cheese is bubbling.

The end.

Oh -and by the time you're done, you will be too hot to eat something hot and will have to wait until later to enjoy it.

Also - I add black pepper and dry mustard and a few dashes of hot sauce when I am making the cheese sauce. It doesn't make it spicy, it just gives it a little depth. No, I don't really know what that means, but it's good.
Baked is Better
Again, we are talking about the mac and cheese.
Editors Note: You can make this recipe lower in calories and fat and more healthful by taking out the noodles and cheese and adding lettuce and vegetables.  But, I will warn you, if you say you are serving mac and cheese and serve the low fat version, there could be an incident.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

I'm The Emily Post of Travel Etiquette

While I was away from DTC this spring I went on a couple of trips.  While certainly I had a good time (Disney with the kids, Las Vegas with friends), I am starting to believe that there are a lot of people who missed the day at school where we learned how to conduct ourselves in public.  And by "we" I mean the clueless people that are not me or about 7 other people on the planet.

Luckily for all, I have taken notice of this and am here to offer tips for comportment that will not only make travel more pleasant for everyone (or at the very least, me) but will undoubtedly keep a few of the more ignorant people of the planet from getting their asses kicked.  I think I am going to say that this is a PSA of sorts.  I might even count it as community service.

So, without further ado, here are some handy travel tips.

1.  Try not to be an assh*le (that's really an everyday tip, not just a travel one, but we'll leave it as a travel one for now).  We all are
Please note the group
in the front left.  They
have stopped to chat
right in the middle.
Whistle and smack. 
important and are trying to get somewhere or see something.  Try to wrap your head around that.

2.  Keep to the right.  Especially important in a crowd.  As I have told my children when we were in Disney (as well as other places), other people are not to be treated like video game obstacles that you try to beat out and/or dodge around on your way to the next location.

3.  Do not gesture wildly when you are in a crowd.  Especially true if you have a cigarette in your hand (talking to you people in the casino and on city streets). *more on cigarettes later

4.  Do not walk 17 people across so no one can get by you.

5.  You don't have to rush, but walk so there is any hope for the rest of us behind you to get to our destinations some time in the same day.

6.  Just because you have a stroller, scooter or wheelchair does not mean you don't have to look where you are going.  Manners are for everyone.  (PS - I still have the scar on my ankle where the guy ran up the back of my leg in his electric wheelchair - not exaggerating).

7.  If we find ourselves in each other's way, the way it works is that we BOTH say excuse me and go around each other.  The way it doesn't work is that I say excuse me and you keep pushing past me.  Also, if YOU bang into someone, you have to say excuse me and make sure you haven't knocked the person over!

8.  If someone holds the door for you - say thank you!  Conversely, hold the door for the person behind you.  Even if you have to wait the extra 5 seconds to do so. 

9. * Las Vegas/casino-specific rule:  I understand that you are thrilled to be allowed to smoke indoors.  I am sure that it sucks to stop what you are doing to go smoke outside in the weather.  That said, just because you are allowed to smoke inside does not mean that it's polite (or f%*#ing necessary) for you to sit down next to me and hold your lit cigarette right by my face or for you to blow smoke towards me or the crowd in general.  It's not nice!  Also, how are you going to walk around the whole hotel and casino with a lit cigarette and no ashtray?  You are flicking ashes all over the place.  What is wrong with you?  Were you people raised in a barn? 
Picture me to the left of this woman.
Now picture that I
 was there first.
Whistle and smack.
And accidental
 shove on my way by when I get up to move.
I guess that's about it.  I have some bathing suit-specific rules for some travelers, but that's a whole other post.  Let's just say though that a skimpy bikini top is not for everyone.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Don't Worry About Me, Not That Anyone Was

If I depended on my family
to ransom me, they'd be
getting pieces of me back
one at a time.  And still
probably wouldn't get
what was going on.
I have not been kidnapped.  I guess that's good since no one was even looking for me in my 3+ month internet absence.  No surprise since no one who lives with me misses me when I am actually physically gone from the house.  I'd like to do a test to see how long it would take someone to text me "Where are you?"  I think the time would depend on how close my absence corresponded to the need for a meal.

Essentially, if you are a kidnapper, what I am telling you is that kidnapping me would be a pretty fruitless endeavor.  One, I really don't have the kind of cash or prizes a kidnapper is looking for and two, it would take ages for my family to notice me missing and even longer for them to start wondering where I was.  A kidnapper might leave a phone message you say?  That's even more of a long shot.  The people who live here don't quite get the whole check the phone messages thing.

I don't want you to think that my family doesn't love me.  I'm sure they do, it's just that my children are so secure in my love for them that they can't imagine I wouldn't return (talk about misplaced trust).  That said, if I am always home when you get home or leave you a message when I won't be, can you not muster up the slightest concern for me?  Would it kill you text me that you're home and wondering where I am?  Honestly, you can't humor me a little and run up to me when I return and cry out "Oh thank God you've come home Mom" - how hard would that be?

The Party is another story.  If I'm not there when he gets home he will call or text to see
This kind of exchange
might be why my kids are
afraid to text to
see where we are when
we are not home.
where I am.  I don't think he's so much worried about my well-being as much as making sure that I am indeed going to come back.  He is well aware of my access to a car and money.  Sometimes, if we end up somewhere in two cars, I make him take both kids (if they've been really annoying) home.  This usually makes Party twitch a little.  Partly because it's his turn to be in the car with both kids and partly because he's a little nervous about where I'm going.  He usually says "Okay, I'll take them, but you know you have to come home, right?"  I just smile and say "Of course."  I give him that sweet, fake smile though so he worries the whole way home.  I don't know why, I just do.

Anyhoo, so I've been gone from Donkeys since the beginning of April.  I would like to say that I was busy doing something really important and interesting - but I try to not lie outright to people.  Donkeys had become sporadic since I had been doing Babble Pets, but I stopped doing that at the end of March.  And by stopped, I mean I quit before they fired me.  Apparently, I do not have quite a big enough following to justify keeping me.  While I have been licking my wounds a little, I am pretty glad to not be writing for Pets anymore (though Babble in general is pretty cool).  It is really picture-driven and I am just not one of those people who oohs and aahs over pets dressed in costumes.  On the upside, I did get to write a lot of captions for these pictures.  I love writing captions.  I totally crack me up.  I don't know if anyone else was amused, but I enjoyed the hell out of my own cleverness. #noonepaysyoutoamuseyourself.

Please note my use of the hashtag.  Hashtags also crack me up.  They are like little sidebars that you'd whisper under your breath if you were talking.  I actually like hastags better than the  actual use of Twitter, Home of the Hashtag.  Facebook has hashtags now, but I am not sure why.

So, I am back for a summer of fun DTC posts.  I am trying to think of ways to jazz up the blog and get more followers - feel free to offer suggestions.  I love my donkey logo and the blog name, but other than that, I am game for trying new things.  I have been missing writing DTC and all the fun comments people leave for me.  So, now you guys are stuck with me again.

Next up... I'll catch you up on what's been going on around here.  Spoiler alert: Boy graduates from High School, his parents don't like it.

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