Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I've Seen the Blues, the Reds and the Pinks

There are times, and this is one of those times, when I haven’t written in my blog in a while and I think about it and I feel I must write scads and scads of material, simply because I have been away from it for a while, and I don’t want to disappoint.

And yet, that prevents me from writing.

So, first thing: this entry may not be very long. I will try and get caught up in all that has happened over the past week, but it may not happen. And I hope you are okay with that.

And if not, well, hell, I don’t know what to tell you.

Don't Let the Turkeys Get You Down

Thanksgiving: surprisingly stress-less. It seems that the drama going on between some of the other members of my family somehow miraculously did not translate into people yelling at me. Viva had a blast with her cousins, her grandma, and her nana. Sweet William was a good egg (as expected) and got some inside info from my brother-in-law on what was really going down (far, far worse than I had supposed, so not good that there is no appropriate word for it, although “nightmare” seems to come close). I kept my head down, ate cranberry apple pie and pumpkin cheesecake, and went home.

Bookish Blah

Books I have read in the past week or so:

The Patron Saint of Liars, which I really liked.
Gilead, my least favorite on this list. Not that it wasn't good, or well-written, I just felt like it left me hanging a bit. And not in the way I like.
The Tortilla Curtain, which I enjoyed and the entire plot of which I ended up describing to Sweet William after I finished, at which point he said: “Sounds like a movie,” and if you look it up on IMDB, lo and behold, they are making a movie of it starring Kevin Costner and Meg Ryan. Jesus.
The Robber Bride, excellent.

Currently re-reading The Handmaid’s Tale, courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library. I can’t believe I don’t own a copy of this book.

Blowin’ in the Wind

We have been having some very windy weather these days in Los Angeles, and – woe is us – it is interfering with the enjoyment of our DishTV. I know. Life’s a bitch, ain’t it? At any rate, Sweet William has been employing all sorts of ridiculous means to tie our satellite dish down, the latest being an intricate scaffolding of bungee cords and shoelaces (shoelaces, yes!) which led him to remark that he should have been an engineer rather than going to law school because his latest efforts are an engineering tour de force. Yes, because of the shoelaces.

At any rate, we were watching the Lakers game the other night, and I was snuggling with him on the couch, and the wind, she was a-whipping, and the images of the players started pixelating. Sweet William groaned and apologized for having to get up and fix The Dish.

Sweet W: I hate to interrupt this romantic game watching.

Mama B [laughs]: Romantic game watchi—you think this game watching is romantic?

Sweet W: Yeah, you’re all freshly scrubbed [from taking a bath with Viva], and in your robe, and you smell nice –

Mama B: So this is romantic? Huh. I will never for the life of me figure men out. You people!

Sweet W [laughing but exasperated]: Yes, this is romantic!

And not a glass of wine or a flickering candle in sight. Go figure.

I believe it was a bit later in the evening that a commercial for K-Swiss sneakers came on. (Note: By this point, we were back to the romantic game watching.)

Sweet W: Oooh, I like those beige ones.

Mama B: The light ones, or the darker ones?

Sweet W: The ones that are kind of a beige with slightly lighter stripes. [pause] They remind me of your ass.

Mama B: WHAT? What, because I have stretch marks?

Sweet W [laughing, indecipherable]

Mama B: YOU’RE an ass. God.

By the way, if you go to the K-Swiss website (which I always mis-type as webiste, like I'm French or something), you can feel confident that you have reached "the comprehensive source for experiencing the K-SWISS brand." If you thought you were just shopping for sneakers, for some phat new kicks, you would be wrong, my friend, just flat out wrong. It's all about the experience. At roughly $79.95 a pop.

I don't know about you, but that better be one hell of an experience. Don't you think?

Don't Let the Turkeys Get You Down, Redux

Oh my God! I forgot to tell you the most hilarious part of our Thanksgiving celebration!

I believe you know that I had been dreading the whole trip to see my family. I said to Sweet Wills at some point a few days prior, "I don't think I can make it through this thing straight."*

Sweet William was sympathetic to my plight. "What are you gonna do?"

"I think I need to be drunk or something, pretty much the whole way through."

Oh, if you had only seen the glint in his eye. Oh, the mischief! Oh, the shenanigans! Oh, the planning and the heartbreak!

The night before Thanksgiving, then, saw the Blah Blah kitchen transformed into a den of iniquity. This is because, while I was making peanut butter-carrot bread (which is actually quite tasty - don't e-mail me and tell it sounds grotesque), Sweet William was making pot brownies.

Pot! Grass! Herb! Mary Jane! Locoweed! All baked into Trader Joe's chocolate chip truffle brownie mix! This was high comedy. And a lot of effort, since you can't just bake the pot into the brownies, apparently. I won't go into the mechanics of our instructions, but let me just say this: a lot of effort with no apparent return. The brownies had a slightly bitter taste and did not mellow either of us out in any appreciable way, even though we stopped at a rest stop on the way there and each had one, surreptitiously gulping them while Viva was busy "driving" the car. What a disappointment. We ended up giving the rest to our neighbor down the hall when we got back the next day. He ate about six at one sitting, and I have the feeling that he is so naturally stoned that our brownies would not have made a damn bit of difference.

Well, at least there was no need. As I said before, Thanksgiving this year was actually pretty calm. And that was fortunate, because as we all know, I am a bitch and a GOD WARRIOR!

* Shout out to Splooey! As we all know, it's so hard to stay straight.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Positively Giddy!

I don't know what is going on in the rest of the world, but here at Casa de Blah Blah, it's all laughs, all the time.

Sunday night. Viva is having some trouble getting to sleep. She calls out for me for the umpteenth time, and I go into her room to discover that she has sweated so much that her T-shirt is damp. I change her shirt, leave the room and turn the air conditioning on, and then go back in to try and convince her to go to sleep. I lie down next to her.

Mama Blah: Okay, lovey, time to settle down. It's sleep time now, so I want you to close your eyes, and no more talking, okay?

Viva settles down with a loud flop. I rub her back. All is quiet for five seconds.

Viva [stage whispering]: Shh, Mommy! No talking! You have to be quiet!

Mama Blah [also whispering, trying not to laugh]: I AM being quiet, you're the one who's talking.

Viva: Shhh! Stop talking!

Mama Blah' Shhh! YOU stop talking. God.

Viva: Mommy, you have to be quiet.

Mama Blah: Okay, stop. No more talking NOW.

Again, it's quiet for five seconds.


Mama Blah: Viva! [starts laughing] I AM being quiet, you shush!

But it's over, because I am laughing and she starts laughing and it just gets more absurd until we are both hysterical. I have to sit up to catch my breath, and so does she. Every time one of us catches our breath, the other one starts laughing, which sets us off all over again. Finally...

Mama Blah: Whew! [wipes eyes] Oh my God, that was good. Okay, but seriously, that's it. [Gets out of bed] No more noise, baby. Good night. I love you. [Closes door, walks into living room, finds Sweet William comatose on the couch with no interest in sharing funny story.]


Monday morning. 7 AM-ish. The Blah Blahs are all sitting on the couch together. Viva is sitting on her daddy's lap drinking a yogurt smoothie. I am barely awake, but have already survived Viva's morning rejection of me.*

Sweet William: Who wants to go to work for me today? It's going to be so dead at work today because of the holiday week.

Mama Blah [yawning]: I can't believe it's already almost December.

Sweet William: It's here, honey. It's the holidays. [starts singing] Da-doo-doo-doo-doo-da-da-doo-doo, Happy Holidays!

Mama Blah: Oof. Ugh.

Sweet William [still singing]: When you can run around like a crazy person trying to please everyone, Happy Holidays!

Mama Blah [laughing]: Oh, don't --

Sweet William [still singing]: And they're all going to be mad at you anyway, no matter what you do, Happy Holidays!

Viva extracts her sippy cup from her mouth and joins in: "Happy Holidays!" And once again we are all laughing, and what the hell, it's Monday and we are totally cynical, but at least we can still laugh.

* Viva rejects one or the other of her parents every single morning. Her favored way of doing this is to say, "Go away! You're not my friend! Daddy [or Mommy, as the case may be] is my friend!" This is the same child who screams, "Come back! I want you!" when you leave her bedroom the night before. The same child who, for no reason, will wrap her arms around your neck, plant a big wet one on you and tell you she loves you and turn your heart into a big pile of goo.

You might hope, in this instance, for a mystical Preschooler Decoder Ring. I had one, and let me tell you, they don't work. Just as unpredictable and hard to read as the preschooler herself. You're on your own.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Three Years Ago Today

So I just finished typing my last post, and I was getting caught up on my blog reading, and I found that several people that I read regularly have been posting pregnancy and/or birth stories, which made me reminisce, so I dug into my old Word files and came up with my Pregnancy Journal (July 2002 - April 2003, Chronicling the Amazing Pre-Adventures of the Amazing Baby Blah Blah). I don't think you're ready for this jelly, but nonetheless, brace yourself for a jolting slap of nostalgia.

November 18, 2002
Monday, 7:26 AM
20 Weeks

Well, I have to say that I was disappointed with the ultrasound. [Ed. note: I had just had an ultrasound the previous Friday.]

It was not a 3D ultrasound, as I had thought, but a structural ultrasound in black and white and shades of gray, which made it very murky and hard to see. Before I go any further, at least let me say I was not disappointed with the results, because the baby is healthy – no spina bifida, no abnormalities of heart, liver, bones, or anything like that. The lungs are developing normally (they’re just about the last major organ to develop), the brain is perfect with no signs of excess fluid, and we could see the four chambers of the heart and all is well. It was hard to see any detail of the face, which bummed me out, and of course, the baby was napping (even though I drank a whole bottle of juice in the hopes that the sugar would wake it up), so its legs were drawn up pretty tightly and we couldn’t tell its gender.

Actually, we were both kind of relieved about that part. We don’t really care what it is, as long as it’s healthy.

Lola [my sister] came with us, and she was pretty excited about it. She will be giving birth in about 3 weeks, and the doctor took one look at her and said, “Are you next?” We all laughed. I can’t wait to see what her baby is going to look like – will he look a lot like Matthew, or different altogether? And I wonder what his personality will be like and how the two of them will interact. I wonder the same thing about our baby – how it will get along with its cousins. In some ways, it would be cool to have a boy, because he would have so many boy cousins to play with. But then, it would also be cool to have a girl, because we haven’t had one yet in this generation. Only time will tell, I guess.

Everyone in Sweet William’s office – scratch that, all the bigwigs in Will’s office - will be off at a conference in Boston this week. I wish I had known earlier, although he doesn’t have to go to it this year. If he had really wanted to go, he could have. Then we could have gotten a free trip to Boston while I’m pregnant, which would have been great so friends and family could see me (and I them, of course). I would have had to pay for my own plane ticket, of course, but so what? Next year, the conference will be in Vancouver, and we will have a 7-month-old. He will have to go by himself. Sucks.

Anyway, what this means today is that Sweet Wills will be working 12-hour days this week and will then have Friday off. He is starting vacation on Friday. I am taking vacation on Monday through Friday of Thanksgiving week. It will be nice for us just to chill together…or go off and have lunch with friends separately from one another. Also I can spend some time with Lola, since she’s begun maternity leave. But it also means that Sweet William is going to be exhausted this week. No fun for him. My honey works so hard...

We spent the morning at Santa Monica Beach yesterday, and it was glorious. Because it is mid-November and because we got there at 10:00 AM, the beach was pretty empty. It was somewhere around 73 degrees and sunny, and we spread our towels out right near the water and watched the pelicans diving into the water. We also saw a couple of schools of dolphins heading north. It was just so relaxing! We talked a lot about the baby and what kind of parents we want to be and what potential problems we see. We talked about our own families and how different your perceptions are when you are an adult looking back on things your family did while you were a kid. We talked about boundaries and the difference between being your child’s parent and being a friend. It’s really a tough job. You love your kid so much and you want your kid to like you, but you have to make the rules and set an example and your kid is not going to like you all the time. It’s not all fun and games -- more’s the pity -- but hopefully in the long run, your child can see that you were trying to help and guide them rather than make their life miserable arbitrarily.

I hope I can remember this when my 4-year-old is screaming about how mean I am and how much he/she hates me. Or when my 16-year-old tells me I’m a selfish bitch because I won’t let him/her drive the new car.

Oh, brother. Well, it’s 8:02 now – time to get to work.

Pretty interesting (to me), mainly because I sound so happy and mellow. Probably because I was also writing this for the baby to read someday, so it doesn't contain all the cuss words and general snarkiness that some of my writing does. It does take me back to those days -- incredible how long it seemed, the months and months of waiting, and now it seems like it passed by so quickly. And now I have this amazing little person in my life who says things like, "Oh, you're washing dishes? That's a really good idea, Mommy" and "NO, I do not need to wear socks."

Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin'
Into the futchah....

Ah, the Steve Miller Band. They had their moment.

An Arresting Triumph of the Imagination

Some People!

This morning, Viva and I were in the car, on the way to school, waiting at the light. The light turned green, and I drove across Santa Monica Boulevard, only to find that someone waited for the light to turn green to make a three-point turn, holding up traffic in both directions and making almost everyone miss the light. Thankfully, I was just out of the intersection, so I was slightly annoyed, but not hyper pissed off. As the genius completed her three-point turn, the cars in the opposing lane moved forward, with the second car pausing so its occupant could holler curses out the window at the person performing the three-point turn.

That person -- the person hollering curses at a complete stranger (and admittedly, deservedly so)?

That was my father-in-law.

Oh, Wash, how I love thee.

I don't know if I've mentioned this here before, but my in-laws live quite nearby. In fact, they live on the same street we do. In fact, they live in the same apartment building we do. In fact, they live on the same floor we do. Right down the hall. Just two apartments separate ours and theirs.

My father-in-law is retired, and as we all know, I am not working, but I bump into him surprisingly rarely. When we do meet in the course of the day, our conversations go something like this...

I am in the laundry room, located conveniently next to my apartment, when I hear someone get off the elevator and begin walking down the hall. I look up as they approach the doorway, and see Wash.

Wash: Hey, sweetie! How ya doin?

Mama Blah: Good, good, what are you up to?

Wash: I been out in this heat.*

Mama Blah: That's no good, you need to stay inside.

Wash: Tell me about it.

Mama Blah: Go take a nap!

Wash: That's where I'm headed. See ya later, sweetie!

* Note: last week, it was chilly enough that I was wearing turtlenecks and dressing Viva in two layers and a jacket. This week, it's in the high 70s/low 80s. I don't know why L.A. messes with you like that, it just does.

Wash is the sweetest man alive. He adores Viva, who calls him Papa (pronounced Pawpaw), and adores my mother-in-law, most of the time, and even when he's not adoring her, he suffers her patiently. I like to think Sweet William learned a lot about how to treat women from Wash, because Wash is so sweet with his mom. He calls her Sugar Babe and Sugar Britches, which I think is beyond cute.

Now I will say that Wash is the sweetest man alive, but you do not want to piss him off, because once the gloves come off, step aside. Wash will unfurl a string of cussing so steady and vituperous your ears will melt right off your head. If it's not directed at you, it's funny as hell.

So when I saw Wash letting loose his road rage, I just started laughing and laughing, and at the same time, he looked up and saw me, and then I had to keep driving. It was all just a couple of seconds, but I'm gonna give him some shit about it later. Ah, Wash.

Pass it Along to Ten People, and Be Sure To Send it Back to Me

Moving on: one of my relatives recently re-discovered my e-mail address. This is one of my East Coast relatives, and she wants to keep in touch, and I think that's great. She is hilarious and sweet and I love to hear from her.

Except that now I'm getting 5 e-mails a day from her. Every time I log into my e-mail account and see e-mails from her and the subject heading reads "Fwd: cute story" or "Fwd: this really works!" I groan and shake my head. She is one of those people who loves to forward stuff -- poignant tales of how short life is, definitions of what makes a great friend, prayer chain mails, you name it, she's got it. Oh, man. I hate that stuff. What gets me is, am I supposed to respond to each and every one of these?* It's kind of ridiculous.**

* If you know me at all, you already know that I delete these immediately without responding to them. But I do feel a bit guilty about it. I mean, she's trying to stay in touch! And I think she's a little lonely. Feel my pain.

** Today's first e-mail started out, "I can do all things through Christ who
strengthens me." (Say it with me: "Because I am a GOD WARRIOR!") Seriously, though. Damn.

Blog Fodder

We were talking last night, and Sweet William said, "Oh, you definitely need to blog that," and now I can't remember what the hell it was. But we have clearly reached a decisive point when my hubs is casually offering me blog topics. You might ask Why doesn't he blog? and I would have to tell you that he does, but his blog is super secret and also pretty much never updated because he has a full-time job and doesn't like to spend a lot of time on the computer when he's not at work. He is not crazy for the Internet like I am. In fact -- dare I say it? -- he kind of hates it.

But you know, how else would you get to read great little stories like this? That is some funny shit, is all.

The Internet. Embrace it. Medicare. Shun it. Words to live by, kiddies.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Crisis Safari

Energy Crisis

I was inputting some of my receipts into my worksheet that I use to keep track of my potential tax write-offs today (which is a joke, because I have done hardly any paid freelance/consulting work this year), and I discovered that I'm averaging about $95/month in GAS. And I don't even work! I drive a few miles a day, mainly to and from Viva's school and the supermarket or wherever the hell. I shudder to think what some of my commuting friends are paying.

I don't know if you've heard about this yet, but gas prices have gone up astronomically this year. I don't know if you noticed. I'm just pointing it out.

Identity Crisis

I can't paraphrase here, so I'm just passing along a note from Viva's school:

We'll celebrate Thanksgiving and International Day on Friday, November 18th. Children may wear costumes of their own culture on this day.
First, and most obvious: I am really baffled as to what costume I should send Viva in. Her own culture is American. She is of African, Creole, Anglo, and Native American descent, but her people have been in this country for hundreds of years. If I had thought about it more, perhaps I could have made a melting pot or mosaic costume. But, of course, I didn't. I have a feeling she will go to school in a Gap T-shirt and Old Navy jeans, and really, what could be more American than that?

Second, the school is celebrating this day by holding a potluck tomorrow. As regular readers know, the last potluck didn't work out very well for me, what with the fruit kebabs sliding off the sticks and whatnot. This time around, I figured I would make things easy and sign up to bring a main dish, intending to bring sliced turkey. Not processed turkey, but like real turkey breast. You know, to go with the Thanksgiving theme? Maybe I was unclear on what this was all about. I had forgotten about the international theme.

When I got to the sign-up sheet, I noticed two parents had already filled in names under the "main dish" section. Neither one is doing anything remotely Thanksgivingy. The first one, who is Latino, is bringing spaghetti, a traditional Italian dish. God save me from these people! Not from Latinos, but from people who insist on feeding my kid spaghetti at school. Could you possibly come up with something messier?

The second mom, who is Japanese, is bringing fried chicken. I am really, really confused. I wasn't aware that fried chicken was so big in Japan. I've never seen one of those Harajuku girls eating fried chicken. I thought fried chicken was the specialty of my people. Who knew?

Since dessert was already taken as well, I have decided to scrap my main dish plans and make a big dish of seasoned potatoes. In essence, I will be bringing steak fries, with seasonings, to school. What the hell, they're two years old, right?

Easy Listening Crisis

Sometimes, of an evening, we like to listen to music all together as a family as we hang out and bond and whatnot. The problem with this is twofold: (a) we are pretty sick of all our CDs; and (b) some of our CDs are not all that child-friendly. So we have taken to listening to jazz (not "smooth jazz," ecch), and sometimes classical music. And now that we have the satellite dish, we get satellite radio through our TV, so sometimes we listen to that, just for kicks.

Satellite radio! It is completely nuts, like cable for radio, and you have more options than you could ever want, and (much like cable), a lot of the time you still can't find something you like despite the huge selection.

That is, unless you like Hawaiian music, which apparently, the Blah Blah family does. Sweet William gets all blissed out by it, Viva loves to dance to it, and I love to amuse myself by trying to sing along with it. I love the sound of the Hawaiian language. Who cares that I don't know what they're saying? So I will try and sing along with it with made-up Hawaiian words and here and there I will throw in "ukelele" or "spam" and keep singing with the few Hawaiian words I know*. Does this make me racist? I am quite sure it doesn't. It may make me a bit of an ass, but you all knew that already.

I'm keepin' it real, people.

* I know very few Hawaiian words, aside from "aloha," "mahalo," "kona" (like the coffee), and "kahuna" (as in "The Big--"). Except for those words that Jambi used to say in Pee-Wee's Playhouse: "Meka Leka Hi-Meka Hiney Ho." They sounded Hawaiian. Were they real? Do they mean anything? Does anyone know? Seriously. I'm at a loss.

All right, I gotta skedaddle. (I'm pretty sure that's not Hawaiian.) Drink your milk, brush your teeth, and go to bed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


So yesterday, Sweet William had to be at work at 7 AM for some clients who didn't show until 9 AM. Sweet. I love entertainment industry types. He was then supposed to get out of work early. At about 4:15, as I was struggling haplessly with my blog un-design, he walked in the door and said: "Where's the baby?"

D'oh to the nth degree!

It's not that I had forgotten her, Dear Reader. I actually don't have to pick her up until 4:30 if I want. It's just that with the Daylight Savings Time, I've been going to pick her up earlier because it gets darker/colder earlier. (Why, yes, I realize we are in Los Angeles, but it does not remain 75 degrees every day when the sun goes down. Sometimes it goes down into the 50s! Why am I sensing a lack of appreciation for this from those of you in colder climes? I paid my dues, people. Twenty-six years in the Northeast! Waiting for buses and trains in the snow -- whew, don't get me started. I've earned my right to frolic in the sun.) (Why, good heavens, I have certainly gone off on a tangent there. So, so sorry.)

But what I'm saying is that due to my agonizing blog issues, I lost track of time. And I'm sorry that my blog still looks like crap, albeit a different kind of crap. I am in the throes of designing my own blog header, and it is not something that you can learn overnight. Particularly when, overnight, you're doing things like sleeping. And then when you get up, you are doing things like getting your kid dressed and fed and trying to get some exercise and paying bills and trying to find a job. So I'm not making excuses. Okay, so maybe I am. So?

My point, and I do have one, is that I really do enjoy this blog, so much so that I lose track of time. So glad you're here with me on this rickety ride. Strap in!

Everything's Ungodly!

WOW! If you did not get to see the two-part version of Trading Spouses, you missed some fine reality TV. This was the one with the "liberal/New Age" mom (Jeanne D'Amico Flisher) trading places with the extreme Christian mom (Marguerite/Margaret Perrin), resulting in one of the most incredible meltdowns ever captured on film.

The highest bid on the Marguerite Perrin talking bobblehead doll on EBay is currently $660, and you need to go and take a look at it, because they have only made one, and if you click on the picture, they have put together a slew of sound bites set to some music that sounds like it was composed on a Casio. It is fan-frickin'-tastic. Quoting from the site:

The bobblehead doll has been sculpted from polymer clay and hardened. Her head actually wobbles! Doll has been hand painted with acrylic paints and is coated in a durable clear gloss finish. She's dressed in a real cloth "moomoo" [sic]black dress and shirt. She even has a real beaded necklace with silver medalion [sic]like the one she was wearing during her "meltdown" on the show. ...

The bobblehead sits on a base which contains the sound unit and features actual clips of Marguerite's meltdown from the show. Clips have been recorded from a direct line from the t.v. [sic] audio to ensure the best possible sound quality. Play, fast-forward, and rewind buttons are exposed for playback of the sound clips from the small speaker to the right of her. The sound recording unit's "record" button has been removed so that you don't have to worry about accidently [sic]recording over her voice.

This talking bobblehead of the Crazy God Warrior say [sic] the following quotes:

I don't want someone with tainted...anything in beliefs, doing anything with my family!
Their entire house is darksided too!
Everything's un-Godly!
Gargoyles!... Psychics!
Get the hell out of my house - in Jesus' name I pray!
I give it up to God, I'm a GOD WARRIOR!
She's not a CHRISTIAN!
She was tampering in darksided stuff!
This is tainted - I don't want it. Whatever it is, it's tainted!
I want nothing. I want my God and I want my family!
I want NO Money!

Whew! I need to sit down. My only problem with this is that I didn't think of it first. I fully admit to adopting what I feel is the classic Marguerite Perrin quote and having used it freely since I saw the show, to wit:

Driving down the street looking for a parking space in front of Viva's school.
Mama Blah: Aha! I got a space! Because I AM A GOD WARRIOR!

Phone is ringing. Caller ID indicates that it is some sort of telemarketing company.
Mama Blah: I'm not answering that. Because I AM A GOD WARRIOR! Telemarketing is DARK-SIDED!

Oh, it might be wrong, but it feels so right.

EDITED TO ADD: Oh my God! That music IS recorded on a Casio. Check it out!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

My Eyes Are Falling Out

I have spent a ridiculous amount of time today trying to figure out how to design a blog template. I am sick to death of the way this blog looks.

Sadly, it appears we are stuck with this for now, as I have not been able to get a customized template to work.

I suck. I fail you. I need a drink.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Write What You Know

Slippery Slope

Many of you out there know that I have been having issues with my family of late. For those of you who don't know all the backstory -- well, my God, as with any family, it would take me years to get you all filled in, and after the first twenty minutes you'd be heading for the exit, never to visit Blog Blah Blah again.

The short version is that my mom and I have been on the outs for some time, although we never speak of it due to (a) her passive-aggressiveness and (2) my complete lack of patience in dealing with same. My mom lives with my grandmother in a 4 bedroom house 100 miles south of here. My sister lives with her husband and two small sons in the front half of a duplex, which they rent from her in-laws, 5 miles east of here. My grandmother has recently sold her house and bought a 5 bedroom house 45 miles north of here, into which she intends to move my mom, my sister and brother-in-law, and my two nephews.

Three -- oops, no, FOUR -- generations under one roof. A scenario fraught with the potential for disaster, my friends.

And oh, the drama, she has begun.

This morning, I logged on to my Yahoo! account to find two messages from my mom. She is having some difficulty with my brother-in-law/sister, who are concerned about the sheer volume of stuff both my mom and my grandma have accumulated, where it will all go, and the necessity of paring a lot of it down before the move. My mother likes to have a lot of stuff around her. I mean a lot of stuff, like magazines dating back to 1987, newspaper clippings, hundreds of videotapes stashed in dressers, corners, under side tables, etc. She wants my feedback on this situation.

Oh, hell, no.

What am I, an idiot? Pretty much whatever I say is going to come back and bite me on the ass. No, thanks. And somehow my refusal to venture an opinion will also bite me on the ass, as this will be one more way in which I have let my mom down. Jesus.

Thanksgiving is going to be a barrel of laughs.

Woof, Woofier, Woofiest

Have I mentioned that we have a new neighbor on our floor? And have I mentioned that our new neighbor has a pit bull? On the same floor as my two-year-old?

Let me just say this: I love dogs. But I love responsible dog owners even more. And I love Viva, like, 500,000 times even more. And so far, each time that I have seen this dog and its owner, the owner did not have control of the dog. She did have the dog on a leash, but both times that I have been face-to-face with them, the dog strained the limits of the leash, resulting in the dog being much closer to me than I would like -- i.e., within biting range.

The first time, I stopped and stood dead still, waiting for the owner to pull the dog back. She did not, so I eased my way carefully past. The owner said: "She won't bite you!" in this totally annoyed voice.

The problem with this is that I couldn't even tell this wretched woman off because I didn't want to upset/antagonize the dog. But I wanted to say to her, "Have you ever been bitten by a dog?"

I have, and it was a family pet, an Akita that outweighed me by more than 20 pounds (and I was already a "grown-up" at the time, 26 if I remember correctly). He ran at me when I was sitting on the living room floor in my dad's house, and thank God I thought he was coming to lick me in the face, because I turned my head away. He held me down with one foot on my arm, put my head in his mouth, and punctured my skull in four places. It took two grown men to pull him off.

I am therefore a little cautious about dogs, especially dogs I don't know. I don't care if it's a Chihuahua, put your dog on a leash, and control your fucking dog. I don't think there's anything cute about your dog running up and jumping on me. You love your dog, I don't.

That said, I still like dogs. But having an untrained pit bull and pit bull owner not just in my building, but on my floor, is kind of akin to having skinheads move in down the hall. I feel the potential for beaucoup bad shit has just increased exponentially.

Gender Bender

We are in the car, on our way to school, stopped at the stop light at Melrose Ave. I look back at my little cream puff, and she is just so damn cute, I have to say:

Mama Blah: Hi, pretty girl.

Viva [incensed]: I'm not pretty!

Mama Blah [horrified]: WHAT? Why would you say that? Of course you are! I think you're very pretty.

Viva: No, I'm a big girl.

Mama Blah: Yes, you're a big girl. And you're also a pretty girl.

Viva: NO! Big girls are not pretty! Boys are pretty!

Mama Blah: Boys are pretty, and girls aren't?

Viva: I am a big girl, I am NOT pretty.

Mama Blah: But I think you're a big girl and you're beautiful --

Viva: No. I am a BIG GIRL!

Mama Blah: You don't think you can be a big girl and be pretty?

Viva: No. [loses interest and starts singing to herself]

I am at a loss here. What I generally try to do is tell Viva how pretty and smart and strong and sweet she is, etc. I don't think I emphasize one over the other. I was never told I was pretty when I was a kid (I know, cry me a river), just that I was smart, which was nice, but made me feel like I was the ugly, smart one, while my sister was the pretty, not-as-smart one. Not so good for either of us.

I'll talk to her more about this when I pick her up from school. Will report back. I hope you don't lose any sleep over this.


Saturday night, Viva and I took a bath together. She was playing with her dinosaurs and I was washing her hair, and then she turned around and said:

Viva: What's that on your chest?

Mama Blah [looking down and seeing nothing out of the ordinary]: What? What on my chest?

Viva [pointing]: That.

Mama Blah: This? [Viva nods] This, and this -- these are nipples.

Viva: Nooples? Can I touch them?

Mama Blah [making the split-second decision, and making the wrong one]: I guess.

Viva [pinching them]: Nooples! Ha ha ha!

Mama Blah [cringing]: Nipples. Okay, that's enough of that.

Viva [stalking me now and laughing hysterically while flailing at me with her grabby little hands]: No! I want to touch your nipples! [Much splashing]

Mama Blah [laughing but trying to get away]: Cut it out! Touch your own nipples!

Viva: My nipples?

Mama Blah: Yes, you've got two of your own!


Oh my God. How does one cope?

Friday, November 11, 2005

Avoid Punctuation and Other Conventions

Hello, it's Veterans Day and I am a moron.

I am a moron because yesterday, even though on some level I realized today would be Veterans Day, on another more important level, I didn't realize that certain agencies would be closed. I thus failed to (a) deposit a check at the bank; and (b) pick up my books on hold at the library. Viva's school is open today, but they don't have classes (?!), and when I dropped her off, much of the school was dark. Like whole classrooms of the primary grades were empty. Happily, the preschool was pretty jumpin', but there are usually 12 kids in Viva's class, and this morning at 9:05 AM, there were only 2. Including her. What generally happens in a case like this is they merge the preschool classes, which Viva loves, because she is all about hanging out with the Big Kids. Which is hilarious, considering that the Big Kids in question are 3 and 4 years old.

At any rate, Happy Veterans Day!

Feeling rather odd this Veterans Day, having just realized that I no longer know any veterans personally. My dad was a Vietnam vet and both grandpas served in WWII. I raise my hat and tip my glass to them and to all vets today, and direct you to some handy veteran facts.

Are you aware that there is a controversy swirling about this holiday? Say it isn't so (you say)! It's true. Note that I have not strayed from the standard in this post, but really, I'm wondering if, due to the controversy, I should just start wishing people a happy Remembrance Day and be done with it.

Random Links

Obviously, pandas don't watch Surface.

Don't go swimming in Sweden.

Frodo's journey took him quite far from the Shire.

I Smell Bacon

Viva is quite the ham. She is a singer/dancer/linguist without peer. As evidence, I submit to you the following.

Viva [in the shower, dancing about and singing loudly]: What's your name?

Mama Blah: You know my name. My name is Lisa.

Viva [singing]: Lisa, Lisa! Your name is Lisa, your name is Lisa, and I sing it to you, I sing it to you my mommy, because you are Lisa! Lisa! LISA!

Mama Blah: That was so beautiful.

Viva: Wanna hear it again? Hey, where's my pig?


[We are once again watching Noggin*, and Jack's Big Music Show comes on. The theme song is one that Viva loves, because in it, one gets to tap one's feet, clap one's hands, bark like a dog, and sing "Dum-diddy-dum-de-dum-de-dum-day," and who doesn't want to do that? Unfortunately, she gets tangled up in the blanket on the couch and can't get to her feet before the song is halfway through, which leads to:]

Viva [wailing]: I want to dance! I can't do it! I NEED to DANCE!

Mama Blah [helping to extricate her and grabbing for the remote simultaneously]: Hang on, baby, I can rewind it.

Viva [immediately calm and starting to dance]: I need to dance.

* Please don't think that watching TV is all we do. We do other stuff. We do! Sometimes we read books and stuff. And build stuff with blocks. And we watch TV! Oh, wait.


[Viva and I have just returned from school. Viva runs into the kitchen and starts hanging on the refrigerator handle, trying to open it:]

Viva: I need a snack! I need a snack! Open, refrigerator, open! AHBLAY!

Mama Blah: Did you just say "abre"?


Mama Blah [thinking to self]: At least Dora's good for something.


I just love my girl. Here's another reason why:

Mama Blah: You know who's cute? You.

Viva: No, you're cute!

Mama Blah: No, you are!

Viva: No, YOU! [starts laughing hysterically, and says through her chuckles:] I love you.

Oh my God, I think my heart just swelled up and fell out of my eyes.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I'm Still Laughing

I just laughed so hard I am still drying away tears. My head hurts. If you need a good laugh, click here. I am telling everyone I know.

Roles of the Rude!

I just made the mistake of re-reading my previous entry and now I have “cows are the moo-iest, gum is the chew-iest” stuck in my brain once again. I hate myself sometimes. Moving on…

So, speaking of malapropisms, as we were a couple of posts ago (keep up, people, work with me): yesterday, as I was driving home after picking Viva up from school, I saw in my rear-view mirror an SUV, gaining on me fast. We were on a curving residential street with speed bumps, so I was already going slowly*, and I was coming up to a stop sign, so I was slowing down. The SUV kept coming, and because it had its lights on (it was overcast), I could track its progress without really wanting to. In addition to driving quite fast, the driver was swerving all over the road.

*Please note -- and this should not surprise you if this blog has given you any concept of my personality -- I am not a slow driver. I actually generally drive over the speed limit, so the SUV was not gaining on me because I was driving at Granny Speed. He was probably doing 50 in a 35 mph zone. Although in the past, Will has told me I pilot my car like a fighter plane, I think I drive more mindfully now that Viva is with us, but that is another story, and I have digressed enough at this point.

I stopped at the stop sign, drove another few yards, went over another speed bump, and stopped at the red light. In my rear-view, I could see the SUV come tearing up behind me, and I spoke out loud: “Jeez, did you even stop at the stop sign? Try obeying the roles of the rude!”

“What you say, Mommy?” Viva asked, but by this point I realized what I had said and I was laughing at myself.

“This guy behind me is driving like a nut, and I meant to say he should follow the rules of the road, but I said roles of the rude instead. I guess he must be following the roles of the rude,” I said.

“He driving bad?” Viva said, craning her neck, of course, not getting it.

“He is a very bad driver, yes,” I said, still chuckling.

Roles of the rude. Use it, love it, embrace it.

In this same vein, after dropping Viva off at school yesterday, I had gone to the supermarket. In the parking lot, as I was loading my trunk, I heard this guy talking very loudly on his cell phone as he got out of his car and walked toward the store. A well-dressed older woman had just exited the store and as she approached the man with the cell phone, she suddenly lunged at him and screamed, “SHUT UP!” and kept walking. It was the funniest fucking thing ever. The beauty of it was that he kept talking, but incorporated it into his conversation: “This crazy woman just screamed at me from out of nowhere! No, I don’t know her, I’ve never seen her before in my life!” and then proceeded to laugh about it with some of the baggers who were standing outside on their break.

Roles of the rude. Seriously.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Shameless commercial plug

I believe I have mentioned Viva's great love of Noggin. I love it too, mainly because they have kids' music that is actually creative, smart, and catchy, as opposed to formulaic, saccharine, and groan-inducing. One of my favorites is the following song, sung by Moose A. Moose as an interstitial segment (yes, I did used to work in television, marginally, hence the jargon):

Days are the sunniest
Jokes are the funniest
Rabbits are the bunny-est
Hives are the honey-est
Elephants the ton-niest
Troubles - they're the none-iest
Everywhere I go!

Straws are the bendiest
Time is the spendiest
Cards are the send-iest
Books are the lend-iest
Fun's the pretend-iest
Friends are the friend-iest
Everywhere I go!

Berries are the fruity-est
Shoes are the boot-iest
Puppies are the cutie-est
Treasure is the loot-iest
Teams are the root-iest
Horns are the toot-iest
Everywhere I go!

Birds are the tweet-iest
Candy is the sweet-iest
Socks are the feet-iest
Tricks are the treat-iest
Drums are the beat-iest
Lunch is the eat-iest
Everywhere I go!

Flowers are the smelliest
Jams are the jelly-est
Rain's the umbrell-iest
Tales are the tell-iest
Wishing is the well-iest
Buttons are the belly-est
Everywhere I go!

Skies are the blue-iest
Cows are the moo-iest
Gum is the chewiest
Ghosts are the boo-iest
Goo is the gooey-est
You can be your you-iest
Everywhere I go!

There you have it. Go forth, and join the cult of Moose and Zee!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Love is a Battlefield

Note: no child was harmed in the making of today's post. The author of this site does not advocate or condone violence against children.

Viva is sick and horrible. There is no other word for it. She basically has behaved like a savage all weekend, barely using the toilet – she even pooped in her pants yesterday – forgetting or forgoing any concepts of manners or civilized interaction.

Sweet William nabbed tickets to a Lakers game tonight, so it was just me and the Horrible Wee One. It was tough. Everything was a battle. Where to sit on the couch? Gettysburg. What kind of cheese to eat? Waterloo.

By bedtime, I was worn down. The whole time I was getting her ready for bed, she was fighting with me – fighting about using the toilet (she didn’t want to, and was so mad about her body betraying her by peeing when placed on the toilet that she furiously flushed to cover the sound, yelling at me the whole while), fighting about washing her face and her hands, fighting about brushing her teeth, putting on her night-time diaper, putting her pajamas on. She told me all of a sudden she wanted to sleep in my bed, that she didn’t like her bed anymore. She insisted she was afraid of the dark. She told me there were pumpkins all over her room. She told me she needed her beach ball. She told me she needed Daddy. Then, since Daddy wasn’t there, she told me she needed Daddy toys, which translated into metal trains that she wanted to sleep with and I refused to let her sleep with. She told me to go away, and then she screamed at me because I had not read any stories to her yet. I told her stories were a privilege, not a right, and that if she acted mean and nasty, she could go to bed without them. She simmered down.

I read her two stories, told her good night, kissed her and told her I loved her, and tried to leave the room. She started yelling that she wanted me to tell her another story. I told her I would tell her another story in the morning, that it was late and she was sick and needed her rest. She started crying as soon as I closed the door, kept it up for a few minutes, and then started yelling that she needed to go pee pee. I went back in and told her she just went ten minutes ago and she did not need to go again. She insisted, so I took her to the bathroom, where she sat on the toilet for a minute or so and made a game of pulling her PJ pants up and down. I hustled her back out of the bathroom and back into bed.

A few minutes later, she started crying and yelling that she was scared. I went back into her room and spent 15-20 minutes lying on her bed with her, talking with her softly and having her sing a song I made up about how brave and strong and smart and beautiful she was, rubbing her back, helping her wind down. But she kept talking to me, so finally I said, “You know, I love lying here with you, but I think having me here is keeping you awake, and you need to sleep so your cold will get better, so I’m going to go.” Many protests, but I got out the door. A few minutes later, more hollering.

Something I never thought I would hear myself say, but I said it, with total exasperation: “What is the matter with you?”

“I want my Daddy toys,” she said.

“Viva,” I said, sternly. “It is time to sleep. It is not time to play. I am tired of all this hollering. If I have to come back in here, you are really gonna get it. Do you want a spanking?”

“Yes,” she said.

“YES?! You know what that means? Spanking means I hit you on the bum.* You want a spanking?”

“Yes,” she said.

“Why do you think you want a spanking?” I said, less mad now because I was amused and curious.

“I like to get hit on my bum.”

Now, that right there? That is going to send me straight to therapy, if nothing else does.

* This translates into one open-handed smack on her very well-cushioned, night-time-diapered bum. This does not mean that I pull out the belt or the hairbrush and beat her into submission. It is an action of last resort, not a regular thing that I do, and Viva knows it.

While it is certainly unusual for a kid to say she wants a spanking, it is not out of character for Viva. When she is acting up, she generally gets a warning to behave, followed with "Do you want a time out?" About half the time, she says yes. She will go and stand in the corner for two minutes, sometimes crying, sometimes not, and then come back out ready to face the world and be her sweet self again. I thought it was really bizarre the first time she said yes, but apparently she relishes the opportunity to get herself together.

I think if more of us would give ourselves a time out, life would run a lot more smoothly.

P.S. About the title: is Pat Benatar now in your head in an endless loop? Sorry about that.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Paper Chase

When I was in my mid-teens, my mom had a job working in the triage area of a small hospital on the weekends. I am not sure why/how she got into this, since she had no medical training, but that is neither here nor there. One of her co-workers was not a native English speaker, and every now and then she would come out with some malapropism that my mom would latch onto and turn into part of family lore.

The one that came to mind this morning was: "All these paperworks, they bust my brain!"

(Technically, this is not a malapropism so much as it is just a mangling of the language. A mangluage, if you will. But, I digress.)

Holy Jeebus, am I the only one who is going a little nuts with all the damn forms I have to fill out lately? I have a dispute with my bank, I've been comparison shopping for car insurance, I filled out a job application online (which took FOREVER with cutting and pasting my resume into their data fields), and every week there is some new damn form I have to fill out for Viva's school.

The latest in the onslaught is the Explanation of Benefits we get online through our health insurance. I don't understand how we can be paying insurance premiums, using a preferred provider recommended by our insurer, making co-payments at the time of each visit, and still end up being charged $89.95 for an office visit. Does that make any sense at all? What the hell do we pay for insurance for if we actually have to pay to see the doctor??

End of rant. I just realized I am sounding a bit like Andy Rooney. Thankfully, my eyebrows are slightly more well-groomed than his.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Technology, How I Love Thee

Quick post to announce to the world the acquisition of two things I love:

DishTV and a new cordless phone.

Let me say that the DishTV is all well and good, 5 million channels and all, but what I am loving most about it is the fake TiVo, which is to say, the Digital Video Recorder. Since I don't get out much, I am at a loss as to how I got along without this before, but I just have to tell you how much it fucking rocks.

Example: Watching TV. A reality show. Doesn't matter which: The Apprentice, The Biggest Loser, America's Next Top Model, whichever you prefer. At a crucial point of someone getting voted off or someone winning immunity, Viva shrieks from the other room. Since the remote is close at hand, I simply press a button and start recording what I might have otherwise missed, then go into her room and deal with whatever horrors have arisen. No more rummaging around for a tape or worrying about taping over things one doesn't wish to tape over, no flat-out bolting from the room and missing all the drama while my beloved candy apple pretends she needs a potty break so she can go into the bathroom and play with all her tub toys while on the toilet and thus avoid actually Going To Sleep.

Not to mention the beauty of Noggin (whose disturbing slogan is, "It's like preschool on TV." Um, okay, no.). Noggin! It is, how do you say, like crack for the little ones?

While I'm on this tangent, what is the deal with Maisy? Don't get me wrong, I got nothing but love for her, but if you close your eyes, the show sounds suspiciously Teletubbie-like. The characters don't really speak, it's more like squeaks and whistles, and there's a kindly male narrator to tell you what's going on. Viva, of course, adores it. I'm a little worried about that.

I have to wrap this up, but next time we can talk about Dora and those annoying Super Babies, to whom, evidently, their parents did not even have the decency to give names.

But before I go: the cordless phone. She is a replacement for our old, constantly pooping-out cordless phone, for whom replacement batteries plus shipping would cost us about as much as a new phone. I love her mainly because she is somehow coordinated with our voicemail system and thus we can actually see when we have a message, instead of having to pick up the phone to listen for the "boop-boop-boop-boop" tone. Had we had the phone hooked up on Sunday, I would have avoided my embarrassing flub of showing up at my friend's house when she had already called to cancel. You see how the technology, she makes our lives better?

Okay, so I'm off to pick up my little puff pastry, since it is 4:00 and the darkness, she fast approaches. Damn Daylight Savings. It feels like it's 7:00 all of a sudden.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Minutiae Maximae

Can it be that it has been nearly a week since I posted in this space? So sorry!

I hope none of you were worried that the outrageously radical politics of my last post led to my untimely demise. Nothing could be farther from the truth. What’s been killing me lately are all the demands of this modern life, to wit:

1. I had to get my hair cut. Back to the Fabulous Christine at last, and surprisingly, I can get to her new digs in about ten minutes, despite the new digs being In The Valley. All hail the 101/Hollywood Freeway, at least during non-peak hours!

2. Viva’s school held its Halloween Carnival on Friday. What this means is that not only did I have to suffer being repeatedly encouraged to buy raffle tickets – which I did, from some lovely fourth graders at the school – but I also had to come up with something to bring for the preschool Halloween potluck lunch. I decided on sweet potato chips and fruit kabobs, which sounded like a fine idea except that I didn’t want the kids to hurt themselves or anyone else with the skewers, so I decided to use plastic coffee stirrers in place of the skewers, which I thought the supermarket would carry, which they didn’t, so I ended up at Office Depot buying the only box of coffee stirrers they had – 2,000 count, which, what the hell am I going to do with that many, ever?

3. For future note: the reason that kabobs are generally made with wooden skewers is so the food won’t fall off (and I guess, so they won’t melt should you grill them). Fruit kabobs on plastic coffee stirrers? Um, slippery. Even with halved grapes on each end to try and keep the fruit on. Curses!

4. Lunch with one of my best buds, Coolia, after the Carnival. Coolia is so cool that she actually came to the Halloween Carnival on her day off, helped corral some of the kids (too much sugar, oh dear Lord), and treated me to lunch afterward. She also does not think that I am a horrible person, which is nice to hear. So: win-win.

5. Took Viva to an out-of-control Halloween party which featured crafts, on-site taco chefs (chicken, beef, carnitas), a magician, and sinfully chocolatey cupcakes, which Viva insisted on eating/smearing all over her Minnie Mouse costume.

6. For future note: Halloween costumes should be cheap and washable, especially when needed for multiple events in a short time-span. $14.99 for a fleecy mouse costume is just about right.

7. Made plans with my friend CC to have coffee Sunday afternoon. Forgot to check messages after returning from Halloween party, so after putting Viva down for her nap and cooking dinner early so Viva and Wills could eat while I was gone, I whirled back across town, only a few blocks from where we’d been earlier, only to be greeted at the door with a very tired: “You don’t check your messages, do you?” Oops.

8. For future note: Check messages every now and then, so you will know when friends have to cancel.

9. I set aside one day and thoroughly deep-cleaned my apartment from top to bottom. I dusted, I wiped, I washed floors and scrubbed toilets, I threw out crap from underneath the bathroom sink, and I didn’t power up my computer all day long. My home was a showplace. It stayed pristine until about 30 seconds after Viva walked in the door.

10. Took Viva trick-or-treating with some of Will’s oldest friends. Learned that one of our friends paid $100 for her kid’s Halloween costume, and was pissed that he had gotten it dirty. He is four years old. Please refer to #6.

11. Took care of business. Shredded outdated documents, shopped again and again for car insurance online (our insurer quoted us one rate in September and has since raised it substantially, 45 days later), called to set dental and eye appointments for the Blah Blahs, filled out paperwork for reimbursement from our flexible spending account, filled out paperwork for Will’s pension, input my resume online as part of a job application. It is all just as exciting as it sounds.

So, there you have it. I am back, sort of.

Radical Feminist Political Follow-up (okay, not all that radical)

Aside to Daniel re Prop. 73: in my haste, I admit to having mis-stated the details of Prop. 73. It requires parental notification (not consent) in the event that a teen under 18 seeks an abortion, 48 hours before she will be undergoing the procedure. I still think it sucks.

I also note that you did not even mention shoes in your comment, which means you must be fairly unfamiliar with this blog. Nonetheless, welcome.

Smattering of Vivaness and Proof of my Perennial Pushoverness

This morning, Viva had her second dental appointment ever. In talking to her about it beforehand, I reminded her about the last time she saw the dentist, and said he would want to take a good look at her teeth because it’s his job to see if her teeth are healthy.

Five minutes later…

Viva: Can I have some candy? I want candy right now.
Mama Blah: Sweetie, we are about to go to the dentist. You can’t have candy before we go to the dentist because he’s going to be looking at your teeth –
Viva: But I want candy now! [points to her Halloween Jack-O’-Lantern, which overnight has mysteriously been depleted of all hard candy/gross candy/stuff that would make her choke]
Mama Blah: Let’s see. Okay, you can have one piece of candy before you go to the dentist. And then we have to brush your teeth! [removes a package of Minute Maid all natural fruit chews from the Jack-O’-Lantern and dispenses one piece]
Viva [looking into Jack-O’-Lantern and finding the one other thing you should not eat before going to the dentist]: Oh, popcorn!
Mama Blah: You are so not eating that.

Five minutes later, having brushed her teeth…

Viva: Can I have my apple now?
Mama Blah: You just brushed your teeth!

Five minutes later, in the car…

Mama Blah: Here, have a slice of apple.
Viva: Where are we going?
Mama Blah: I told you, baby, we’re going to the dentist.
Viva: I don’t want to go to the dentist. I want to go to school!
Mama Blah: Well, sweetie, you’ll go to school after the dentist. It won’t take that long. You like the dentist, remember? Just like you like going to the doctor.
Viva: Oh. Can I have a lollipop?
Mama Blah: No, the dentist will not give you a lollipop. I know Dr. N [her pediatrician] gives you [sugar-free] lollipops, but you will not get a lollipop at Dr. M’s office.
Viva: Why?
Mama Blah: Because dentists don’t give out candy, because it’s bad for your tee—

Forty minutes later, back in the car...

Viva: I got an oinky pig and a toothbrush!
Mama Blah: Yeah, the dentist is pretty cool, huh?