December 30, 2008

If you have lost it, where do you find it?

Yeah, so Sunday I got the confirmation call that the guy from Petworld in Lawrence came across an avicularia versicolor tarantula (common name: Antilles Pinktoe Tarantula) for me. I gave him the go ahead to purchase it. However, I had really, really lusted for a Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens (common name: Greenbottle Blue Tarantula), so the upshot is this: down the line, I will be getting a third T.

I have not exactly told X. Yesterday, I showed him a picture of an a. versicolor and pointed out how so v. v. pretty it was, no? I am going to Lawrence today, will return with a 1 inch sling (spiderling) and will claim it as an impulse purchase. Let this be our little secret, shall we?

I am really excited about getting a sling. It will be small, but as it will be growing more rapidly, there will be more molts. The downside with a smaller sling is that the risk is higher that it will not survive. For the experience of watching him/her grow, it will be worth it.

The name? As the sling is too small to be sexed, we are not sure if it is a female or male. I chose Sofia's name from the top 10 baby girl names on the SSA website. Since this T is unsexed, I am tempted to go with Olivia for now. If it turns out to be a male, then I can switch to Oliver. Which would be fitting anyway. *cough*mymaidenname*cough*

What do you think? Here are the top 10 Baby Names from 2007:

1 Jacob Emily
2 Michael Isabella
3 Ethan Emma
4 Joshua Ava
5 Daniel Madison
6 Christopher Sophia
7 Anthony Olivia
8 William Abigail
9 Matthew Hannah
10 Andrew Elizabeth

December 26, 2008

Is that my present?

Truly, there was nothing particularly special or spectacular about this Christmas.

Christmas Eve, my dad, step-mom, siblings, nieces, nephews all came to our house. We gorged ourselves on cheese, sweets, quiche, meats, cheap wine and Boulevard Nutcracker Ale. Then, we threw wrapping paper haphazardly around like it grows on trees or something.

Christmas Day, Santa came and dropped off some things. More relatives came and brought more things. Overall, considering the volume of folks who came to our house, the gifts were not too overwhelming since most folks brought ONE toy per child - my mom even brought a combined gift for the kids, thus winning her the honor for Favorite Relative of 2008. Not bad. We stuffed ourselves on the traditional foods of the season. Then, everyone went home.

Truly, I hope that is how all the holidays go for my kids. Family, laughter, gifts, food, lights, and general obnoxiousness mixed with the occasional off-color joke.

It was a nice holiday and I could not ask for anything more. Except, a nap, perhaps.


Mixed Media: WALL-E Meets Thomas

Fine Dining
Madam, would you like some fresh-tapped maple syrup for your waffle this evening? Some newly-churned butter, perhaps?

Snakes and Cheese
He will deign to flash these goofy grins now. Which look so NATURAL. Awesome.


Maybe He's Born With It, Maybe It's Maybelline
Such eyelashage on a BOY? Not FAIR.

Top Chef

Project Runway

The Satisfied Grin of Someone Who Made Out Like a Bandit

Swirls of Hair

December 22, 2008

Where's my present, Mama?

Having a cousin celebrate her 3rd birthday so v. v. close to Christmas would probably confuse you, too. I almost felt sorry for the little guy.

Anyway, on to some randomy goodness.

First, Christine was the first one who recognized Pink Floyd's song title "Is there anybody out there?" Actually, not only did she recognize the title, she went on the quote some of the lyrics. Officially, I believe I have found a new BFF. We can totally hang and braid each others' hair. I do owe props to Rozanne who did recognize it was a Pink Floyd song. But still, no hair braiding for you, Rozanne. Sorry. Maybe a unicorn candle instead?

Second, on Friday, I spent 3 hours putting together the play kitchen and the table/chair set. Holy cow. The kitchen came with a complicated pack of screws containing no less than TEN different sets, plus a variety of nuts. I am almost done with it, I just need to hang the doors and for that, I need help. It was a nice time, actually. I took the portable DVD player and hid in the basement while watching Christmas Vacation and The Christmas Story. Today, I am going to hide in the basement to wrap gifts and spring toys from their blister-pack prisons while watching Love Actually (again, for the millionth time) and perhaps, Elf.

Third, I am feeling significantly less bad about the amount of gifts our kids are getting. The kitchen and table set will be used for years and I am very happy with the quality of both. Also, nearly all the toys the kids are getting actually complement toys they already own. For example, the stocking stuffers for Anjali are little Diego and Dora dolls to use with the Rescue Center that Arun got last Christmas. They love playing with the center together, but there was only one Diego included and they tend to fight over him.

Fourth, I am nearly done Christmas shopping. I need to buy X's stocking stuffers (a hunk of parrano cheese and some sugar-free vanilla syrup for lattes), but other than that? Done.

Fifth, I am nearly done buying food for the two gatherings I am hosting. Christmas Eve will find my dad, step-mom, siblings, etc noshing on a variety of snackage purchased from Costco - cheese, meats, quiche, artichoke/jalapeno dip. Christmas Day will find both of my grandmothers, my mother, great-uncle, cousin, and aunt scarfing down turkey, fresh cranberry sauce and all the other traditional culinary delights of the season.

Sixth, it appears I will meeting some former high school BFFs this following weekend. Thanks to the glory that be Facebook, the four of us have reconnected after nearly 15 years. I see some Spanx and cabbage soup in my future. *gulp*

Seventh, when will I learn to NOT let my children play with my phone? When? Never? I have actually gotten a rainbow screen of death on the damned thing.

Eighth, Merry Christmas!

Text: When the 2008 Peace Accords were ratified by a 2/3 majority, the lone dissenter staged a protest.

December 19, 2008

Is there anybody out there?

Posting on a Friday before a holiday week is like venturing out into a frozen tundra. But, I was in the mood to write, so here I am (Bonus points to who can name the band who sang the song of today's post title.) Anyway, I shall commence randomy bits of bullets, if you do not mind:

  • Dude. I went overboard on Christmas. *Gulp* And then, Anjali Senior's post made me feel so bad. *DoubleGulp* Santa presents this year: toy kitchen, toy snake, table/chair set, stocking stuffers. I did not mean to go overboard, but the table/chair set presented itself at Costco and solves a problem for us: our current cheapie table set is simply too small for Arun and too unstable for Anjali (she is constantly falling out of the chairs.) Gifts from us: a few books, toy cash register, DVDs (Space Chimps, Stars Wars, Dark Crystal.) Although, I have to admit that the Star Wars and Dark Crystal DVDs are really for me. Yes, I have become That Parent and I am duly ashamed. Flog at will, peoples.
  • Am I the only one who is distressed about the cancellation of Dirty, Sexy Money? It was just getting good and the storyline was starting to fall into place. Where am I going to get my weekly fix of Blair Underwood, Peter Krause and Donald Sutherland all in one place?? Where?
  • Speaking of TV, I am so anxious for Season 13 of the Antiques Roadshow! It is finally coming back Jan.5th. I love that show so much that I have even been watching the re-runs.
  • Our little, sweet 17 month old has morphed into a little, sweet, demanding 17 month old. "No! I HAVE it, please! No! Nurse again, please! No! Mine! Open it, please! Please! PLEASE! No! Help, please!" are statements heard on a daily basis and despite the excessive use of the word "please" which really is a synonym for "now" and, believeyoume, there is no polite way about her tone. Nor the stomping of her feet. Or the falling to the ground in slow-motion. The best part is that Arun will try to discipline her and insists "Anjali, you need to go in time-out and get control of your body!"
  • For the past few months, we have been fighting a variety of infections for both kids which have involved 4 different kinds of anti-biotics and such a variety of cremes, lotions, etc that my head spins at the array. I think we in a downhill mode now. I am SO tired of sneaking Arun's medicine in his drinks. It is tiring.
  • Also? Am tired, overall. I have been pregnant, breastfeeding or both continuously since January 2005. I think my body is beginning a protest and I have really been out of sorts for a few months now. Going to the gym helps, but I think that Anjali weaning would help even more. My body is so out of whack and the hormonal ups and downs with breastfeeding are taking its toll on me. I am hopeful she will be ready to wean in January, when she is 18 months - my Cousin the Lactation Consultant recommended just waiting until then. I cannot understand the Duggar family - 18 kids?? I am tired about birthing TWO. I cannot imagine the wear n' tear on that woman's body.
  • Overall, though things are going well. Our babysitter is coming today and I am going to hole myself up in the basement to wrap presents and assemble things.

December 16, 2008

Day 16: Is it Christmas yet?

I like gossip and snark as much as the next person. But when some anonymous chickenshit blogger uses their space to go all Judge Judy and poop hatred merely for the sheer purpose of pooping hatred. Well? That crosses the line for me. People suck, sometimes. Especially when such lilly-livered individuals target a good friend of mine.

So, to escape the hatred, I hung out on my spider messageboard all weekend. And then? Found myself embroiled in a minor controversy as to the number of crickets and method of how I feed my tarantula. Awesome! This coming on the heels of someone on Flickr leaving nasty comments about the size of Sofia's enclosure. So, for the first ever in my history of Flickrage, I had to block someone, then they began emailing asking if they could buy Sofia from me. I guess to save her? For reals?? It is not as if Sofia tries to make a break for it every time I open her cage. Sometimes, I swear she is wagging her spinnerets in glee. Okay, maybe not. But still - I wonder if PETA has glommed onto the 8-legged cause or what.

Okay. *breathes deeply* My happy place? My den of Zen? Is here, so I best be moving on.

On Friday, Chocolate Covered Susan and I went to the Union Station on Friday. The kids rode the historic Holiday Spirit train that used to be the Jones Store in downtown Kansas City. Then, we got to the see the huge model train extravaganza they have going on. It was so awesome that on our way back from Crown Center, we did all the train stuff again. I am even considering one more trip over there before the holidays end and it all goes away. The train ride was $3/person, the model train display was free. The train ride was cute because I thought Anjali was too little for it, but the minute she saw Arun get on board, she began straining against her stroller harness while exclaiming "Please! Please!".
Resistance? It be futile:

Riding the Holiday Spirit at Kansas City's Union Station from Kelli Oliver George on Vimeo.

After the train ride, we headed over to Crown Center. It just so happened that Santa was there and he was looking quite lonely (read: No lines!) so we squeezed in a quick chat with weirdie beardie while there. On cue, Arun asked for a toy snake for himself and a toy kitchen for his sister. Then all the kids played in the Crayola toyland thingie for awhile. It was such a great day - nothing fancy and not even very expensive.

The Most Perfect Picture Ever For a Christmas Card, No?
Too damned bad that I already used a far inferior picture for our card and said cards are already addressed. Officially, I SUCK.


A Kansas City Icon, Made Entirely Out of Legos

The View? Stunning.
My snapshot of it? Not so much.

Oh, Santa Baby

December 12, 2008

Does a watched tarantula still molt?

On Tuesday, I discovered that Sofia was on her back. Squee! This meant that she was going to molt! The poor girl has been looking a little haggard these past few months and she was due for a new wardrobe.

You see, as a spider grows, they become too big for their britches. Literally. Therefore, they grow a new set under the current set. And then? They lay on their back and "push" the old set of threads off. It can take a few days or weeks, for the new skin to completely harden, as well. The entire process is actually very dangerous and is when the T is at its very weakest.

When I saw her on her back, I was concerned because she was near the bowl for the cricket food. I gently pulled the bowl out, but it spooked her and she rolled back and clambered up the side of her enclosure. *sigh* I am not still not sure if she is going to make it - if the new skin underneath hardens, it will stick to the old skin which will kill her. All I can hope for is that the molting process had not actually begun and that she was only in the position for it.

I think what has surprised me most is how stressed I have been about this. I mean, I knew that I liked Sofia and all that, but now I know how much I like her. She is an avicularia avicularia (common name: Common Pink Toe) which is a New World arboreal species that is known to be docile (rarely, rarely bites), but they do tend to be a tad skittish. Sofia? Is so laid back that I swear she is smoking weed when I am not looking. She is the Cheech of the avicularia set. Everyone always thinks their pets are the most special - I am no different, I suppose.

So, there. I admitted it. I like this creepy little monster dwelling on my fireplace and if she dies, I am going to cry.

December 11, 2008

Is he real?

Four years ago, back in my heady, kid-free days of Armchair Parenting, I vehemently insisted that I will do the whole Santa Routine with my own kids. And here we are, it is 2008, and as good as my word, we are doing Santa. Arun is well aware that Santa is going to bring him something - the particulars are still fuzzy to him, but the message is crystal clear: Santa will bring me some good shit.

I like the Santa Routine. It is fun. Santa brings a couple of toys, fills the stockings (with care) and carries on his merry way. We are even going to do the Mall Santa Thing this year, for the first time ever. However, I do not do the whole "if you are bad" theme and overall, have tried to keep it all low-key. So, that is it.


I probably have changed my tune on the "Is He Real?" Dilemma. At this point, I just cannot see myself lying to him. I am not opposed to stretching the truth, but would rather save Bald Faced Lies for more important things such as I Never Drank the Devil's Drink in High School, I Never Had Premarital Sex With Your Father and I Never Ran Up Credit Card Debt. I am still not sure what my answer will be, but I suppose I have a year to figure it out.

And there you have it. Once again, I find myself staring down the barrel of Hypocrisy. Damn. This parenting gig is hard.

December 8, 2008

Day 8: Is it Christmas yet?

Wow. Olivia's hit the nail on the head on my last post where I mentioned my hatred of pink plastic princess Disney crap:
In theory, I have no problem with the Disney princesses. After all, I loved the movies and turned out pretty independent and a supporter of feminism. What I don't like is how ubiquitous the marketing is now. It's not just a cute kids' movie, it's a lifestyle. Even the toys that could be gender-neutral like a science kit get the princess treatment with plenty of pink and sparkly elements.

I haven't even given birth to my daughter yet, and I'm wondering how we'll navigate this huge gender divide in toys.
And that is what irritates me, too. The endless marketing of it. I like pink, Anjali does wear some pink, but I am so over pink.... pink..... Pepto Dismal pink. When I went to Toys R Us to look at toys, my eyes were bleeding from all the damned pink. It's ridiculous. Sure, I saw the Cinderella and Snow White movies when I was a kid, but that was about it, so I do not have any sort of emotional tie-in to all this stuff.

Besides, at least Barbie sometimes holds down a full-time job -I have not seen Sleeping Beauty work a computer, save some Barbie lives, fly to the moon or fight any fires lately, have you?

While I am feeling a bit rantish, let me continue:

1. I am feeling very frustrated - Wallace and Gromit have a new short airing on Christmas Day: A Matter of Loaf or Death. I cannot find it yet, although rumors are that it will air in some parts of the US.

2. Why is that my husband treats me like I am such a mean, mean mom whenever I do things that make my kids cry?? Oh say, things like "giving medicine", "changing diapers", "denial of <insert sugary product of choice>", or the real tear-jerker "wiping noses"? He always gets to be the good guy. I call bullshit.

3. I found Peppermint Kandy Kakes once at Wal-Mart and stupidly bought one (yes, ONE!) package. I cannot find more and I really want to find some for Mojavi.

December 5, 2008

Day 5: Is it Christmas yet?

Oops - should been more clearish on my last post. The Imaginext Adventures Castle and the Tonka Bounce Back Racer are, indeed, available for purchase. If and only if, I am willing to pay 2x or even 3x as much for which the toys originally sold. Originally?? The castle went for about $25 and the car went for about $35. I am seeing folks on eBay paying 3x that amount. The castle on Amazon is going for 4x. Um, no way.

The main reason why I wanted to get the castle was that I had found TWO complete sets of Imaginext Pirate adventures at a garage sale for a mere $7. Anju and Arun have so much fun with it that I thought the castle would be a perfect fit. And the car? I just thought it looked fun. That is all. Arun has requested a $5 wooden snake for his Christmas. He has also requested a play kitchen for Anjali since she foolishly requested water.

This is not about making some perfect Christmas for my kids and I am so disgusted at how the prices on these objects have gotten predatory. I refuse to participate in the madness. If they were objects that Arun had actually requested, I would explain to him the situation and give him a choice: Ask for something else, or wait until the stores are restocked.

Because seriously? Do you remember all the toys you got as a kid? I remember a few - my Mickey Mouse doll that walked when you squeezed his hands, my Donny and Marie dolls wearing their purple spangly outfits and a mini-arcade Pacman game (my sister got the Donkey Kong one - oh my, the fun we had!!!) Furthermore, I never, ever even came close to getting the Barbie Town House that I asked for year after year after year. I managed to still grow up into a sort of respectable adult. I think.

Of course, as a kid I loved the toy aspect to Christmas and I was a greedy little burger. I am not going to pretend otherwise. However, that is not what I carried with me into adulthood. I carried the spirit of all, the mystery and excitement of what might appear under the tree. The getting together with family. The lights. The trees. The music.

I suspect that most of you reading this agree.

Yes, I had a Mickey Mouse doll or two. But still, I hate Disney. The lovely MB pointed me to this wonderful article about "What's wrong with Cinderella?" that sorta puts it all in perspective for me and explains why I will be attempting to protect my own daughter from Disney as best I can. Except Pixar. They are always welcome in our home.

December 4, 2008

Day 4: Is it Christmas yet?

Back in my heady days sans progeny, I purchased the most adorable Advent calendar at Costco. It is a wooden Christmas tree and each day, you pull a new ornament out and hang it on the tree. I am now so thankful for what began as an impulse purchase so many years ago. For it is the only thing keeping me from researching Xanax dosages for adults and toddlers.

Speaking of panic. Um, I obsessed over Arun's two "big" gifts for weeks (an Imaginext castle from us and a Tonka Bounce Back Racer from my grandma.) Weeks! Last night, I went out to order them (after not finding them in a brick n' mortar location) and guess what? Go ahead, guess! Yep - "out of stock".


Thankfully, he insists that Santa is going to bring him a "toy snake" and a "kitchen". Anjali has steadfastly put in a request for "water". I think I can handle those.

December 2, 2008

Is it Christmas yet?

I realize now why Advent calendars were invented. It is merely a convenient way to visually assist a 3 year old through the month of December without having a panic attack that he may have missed the Big Day. I mean, not that my own personal Ankle Biter would pester me endlessly with such silly questions. Not six times on the very first day of December itself. Never. Ever.


Last night, we decorated the tree. I am sure Arun and Anjali will treasure all those precious, sweet, gooeylicious memories of me screeching at them constantly to just not break shit, great balls of fire, don't touch, DON'T TOUCH, what the fuck did I tell you already, put it down! PUT IT DOWN!

But really? I am enjoying the holidays thus far. Thanksgiving was a snap. And my Christmas shopping? Is nearly completed although I have only just began. Awesome. I will do one single foray into the mall and the madness, but I really do not have much shopping planned. Furthermore, I am hoping to do most of my shopping in brick and mortar stores as I am trying to buy as much possible from local vendors this year.

I am definitely in the holiday mood this year and frankly, my family has so much to do with it. Our keeping it simple this year was the best idea ever. I feel now I can focus on the fun stuff - listening to music, driving around to see Christmas lights, going to some Christmas tree festivals and seeing some gingerbread house exhibits. And? I am even contemplating baking some Romanian kiflis. Yes, I have lost my mind, folks.

One of my favorite memories from Christmas are the stockings. Long after we had stopped believing in Santa Claus, my sister and I still looked forward to our stockings. At both our Mom's house and our Dad and Step-Mom's, we always got stockings full of fun little things - candy, lip gloss, sunflower seeds, nail polish, sardines (I LOVE sardines) and all sorts of doo dads. I am SO excited about the stockings for my own little family. Earlier this year, I had commissioned some from Brit through her Etsy store, Thrown and Sewn. I could not be more thrilled with what she just sent. I hope my children treasure their stocking memories as much I treasure mine.

December 1, 2008

Which arm rest is yours when you sit in a movie theater?

I rarely go to the movies - maybe once a year. We have such a nice TV and sound system at home that it is hard for me to use precious time sans the Double As to go sit in a darkened theater. I would rather be doing something, not just sitting there. I can do that at home, while the kids run circles around me. Therefore, it was odd that I managed to squeeze in not one, but two movies over the holiday weekend. I saw Four Christmases (surprisingly, it was utterly delightful! I highly recommend it!) and I saw Twilight (an excellent, A+ movie for a slightly cheesy, B+ book.) Truthfully? I am going to go all cougar-like and try to see Twilight again. Besides, I promised Goofy Girl I would see it with her and this cougar keeps her promises.

Overall, Thanksgiving was really nice, even though X had to run to Philadelphia over the weekend for some family business. He was here for the Big Day of White People Food, so that was what counted. The holidays really make me appreciate my family - there was no stress, everyone brought food to the hall that we rented, and everyone pitched in to clean up. On Friday, X headed to PA and I headed to my dad's for Round 2 of White People Food.

I am going to wrap up with pictures and a special video of my dad. Keep in mind that my dad is the very same guy who proudly wears his "You say redneck like it's a bad thing" t-shirt. This bit of information is crucial for maximum enjoyment of the video to come.

Putting on Her Best Godzilla Moves

My Grandpa is Crazier Than Yours!

My Step-Mom, Entombed for Eternity in the Family Freezer

This is the top of a cake with a picture of my step-mom on it. Over the past year, it has melted and morphed. It is like art, no? My dad thought it would be hilarious to stick it in the freezer. And he would be correct.

My dad, the ultimate tightwad, keeps all this ice in the freezer for his camping trips because you know, "water is free". Therefore, why should he PAY for ice? Watch the video for his explanation. I swear, there should be a special spot of honor for my ever-patient step-mom. God, are you listening?

My Dad, the Redneck. Not that there is anything wrong with that. from Kelli Oliver George on Vimeo.