March 24, 2011

The Great Gig in the Sky

Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon 1973

Note: I wrote this post and realized how darned melancholy it was (although, I did conclude with some silliness, at least)  Yes, death is simply a part of life and it seems to have stacked up over the past few weeks.  Plus, my friend in Vegas is always on my mind. But really, things are going GREAT right now overall and I will write about that next.  Bear with me, please.  I am just a narcissistic blogger, after all.

The other week, Gordon the gecko died.  I am not quite sure what happened, I think I was doing everything right.  I walked into Arun's room and immediately saw that something wasn't right because he was grotesquely twisted. And..... I will just stop there.  I will never forget the look of utter devastation on Arun's face when Anjali blurted out the news before I could.

I realize these are the facts of life and that is how we went about it.  I let him choose what to do with the body and we talked about the cycle of life.  Everything dies.  Everything.  I cannot pretend otherwise. While I understand the need for other folks to believe in heaven, I was not tempted in the least to use that an explanation.  It certainly would have been easier and even I was a little surprised with myself that I did not fall back on that.  Quite simply, I was not comfortable with telling my kid something that I do not feel to be true. Arun is doing fine now and that is what matters to me the most in all of this.


A few weeks ago, one of my great-uncles decided not to live any longer and to give up the Good Fight.  Hospice is involved and well, you all know what that means.  My heart hurts for his daughter (because of generational overlaps, she is actually nearer to my age, even though she is a first cousin to my dad.)  And I worry about my grandma - she is the oldest daughter, used to taking care of everyone.  With every death of one her siblings, I see her light shine a little less.


Admittedly, this is usually a weird time of the year for me anyway.  In several past Aprils over the years, just near or actually on my birthday (which is the 20th and my great-uncle's whose on the 16th), horrible things have happened.  Don't misunderstand - I am not the "birthday girl" sorta gal, but I do believe birthdays should be relished and appreciated.  I firmly believe it is a privilege to get older and this year will be my 40th of such celebrations.  However, as I mentioned, terrible things happen around my birthday - Waco and the Oklahoma bombings (the 19th), Columbine (the 20th) and most recently, the VA Tech shootings on the April16th in 2007.  The thing is, these events are talked about every April, obviously, not just the year they happened.  It always strikes me in an odd place to celebrate my own life, while so many other have lost their own.

I cannot help but think about that, I guess.  And let me stress - it is not about my "special" day being ruined.  It is not that at all. But what has happened, is that I do start to turn inward at this time of year and I have realized during the past few years that I actually get a vague sense of foreboding.  Like many folks, I have been pretty shaken by the utter devastation in Japan - I just have not known what to say that has not already been said.  But that has certainly added to this weird sense.  Miss Clio I am not, but still..... I wonder.....

I am not sure where I am going with this post, but I needed to get the weirdness out of my brain.


Last night, I saw brown sprinkles on the floor and thought "Where did these jimmies come from?"  then I realized that the kids have not had anything to eat with chocolate sprinkles.  Gentle Reader, you know what this means.

A mouse.  In our house.

Conversely, Manoj is not in our house these days because he is out of town, which meant it was up to Arun and I to take care of Mouse The Situation.  We tried to corner the furry  guy and trap it using the very same method in which we save spiders.  But the little bugger ran away and we could not find him.  We went to bed, hopeful that he would not chew the house down in our sleep.  Truly, time was of the essence because Detectives Lucy and Pearson were on the case, ready to crack it wide open.  Actually, thanks to our trusty terrier, I located the mouse again.  Underneath the cedar chest.  The ridiculously heavy cedar chest. Arun stood poised with a duster thingie and I gingerly lifted the chest.  I was so proud of Arun as he carefully guided the mouse into a corner.

Folks, it was really important to us that we save that little guy and release it back outside.

You understand this, right?

March 22, 2011

A New Machine (Part 2)

Pink Floyd, A Momentary Lapse of Reason 1987

This post is dedicated to the blue Nintendo DSi at Costco that I have had my eye on for over a year. I may have caressed it more than a few times.  I've got my eye on you, Blue Boy ...... you hunky, steamy blue plastic box of sex and magic.

So! Your kid may be into Batman, Legos, Hot Wheels, Thomas the Trains, Star Wars or all of the above.  Bully for you!  My kids are into Super Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong.  This includes the figurines, the plush toys, the movie videos, the YouTube videos, the books, the clothes (and even Super Mario cupcakes)  Oh sure, the actual video games figure in, but they are not the main feature.  Arun will go weeks without firing up the Wii, but not a night goes by without some Bowser cuddling action.

To be fair, I must give Nintendo credit for attempting, at least, to make their star players serve an actual purpose. My favorite Super Mario movie video is the one where a lesson of racial harmoney was imparted upon my children's tender souls.  I swear to Buddha - Luigi got the Red Toadies and Blue Toadies to agree that while "they are different on the outside, they are all the same on the inside."  And special!  Of course.

I am acutely aware that I am supposed to hang my head in shame at this great failure in parenting by allowing my kid to play video games.  I realize that I have sentenced my kid to a life of crime - or worse, a life spent living in my basement - by not shoving my duck-footed, tone-deaf progeny out the door to join his brethren at the nearby soccer field or orchestra pit.

However, I confess that a few weeks I was more than a little proud when Arun totally served Tiki Tong's ass to him on a banana leaf.  My kid finished Donkey Kong.  I have never finished one of those "adventure" style video games.  I always give up when the going gets rough in the last few levels (we are still 2 levels from the Big Boss Battle on Mario Bros, but I am all "Eh.  Whatever. I give up. YAWN......")  So, not only did Arun practice and work hard toward the end goal, he was a judicious student by reading the books and discussing strategy with Manoj and I.  And like the good mama I am, each morning, I would plug him into YouTube videos of the newest levels he needed to conquer.

Hey, it worked for D.A.R.Y.L.

The biggest concern is that I love, love, love video games myself and this love grew roots long ago. In the mid 80s, we had an Atari and I had a "problem" with Berserk.  Later, I had a Gameboy and an "issue" with Tetris. When I bought my first computer, I not only had a "thing" with Myst: Original Recipe but also a carpal tunnel worthy problem with Solitaire, Minesweeper AND Free Cell.  In the late 90s, I had a PalmPilot and an obsession with Backgammon, Cribbage and Euchre.  Later, I had a Nintendo 64 and you guessed it, a hang-up with Banjo-Kazooie.

Do not get me started on Angry Birds.

When Super Mario Bros for the Wii was first released, I was at Costco that very afternoon.  Donkey Kong, natch.  I am an adult who can afford the $$$, why the hell should I have to wait for a birthday or fucking Santa?

Besides, at least my kid is improving his vocabulary skillz, right?  Around here, "blammed" means you have stomped on your enemy.  "Mario Kiri" means you have purposefully jumped to your death or headed straight into the gaping maw of a goomba so that you can die and re-up all of your lives to be even with your teammates.  While you perform this heroic act, your teammates all "bubble it up" by pressing the A button to save themselves from losing a life.

Since we have all of the figurines, plushies, etc, this means that my kids can spend hours re-enacting their favorite scenes from the videos and the games.  It's imaginative play mixed with dissociative cogntion! (You can go ahead and check that developmental milestone, Judgey McJudgersons. Yes, that checkbox.  RIGHT THERE. The one up your ass.) One of my favorite scenarios my kids have concocted is something called "Koopa Kids"  I have yet to figure out the exact rules, but it involves Bowser being the daddy and Princess Peach being the mama with Koopa Troopa, Goomba and Toadie serving as children which essentially means we have a bit of squicky, interspecial hanky-panky going on in our house. Folks, if the Doomship is a rockin', don't come a knockin'.

And I wonder why I never get requests from Nintendo PR folks.

March 18, 2011

Have a Cigar

Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here 1975

Recently, I received my copy of Let's Panic, a new book release by Alice Bradley and Eden M. Kennedy.

For the FCC Lawyer's Personal Pleasure:  I paid for my copy, I was not sent a review copy (skinflints!)   Furthermore, I am not Alice nor Eden's friend (hardly!) So, I was left with the teeming masses and thus forced to fork over my credit card information on Amazon (the nerve!)

The full title, a librarian's version of hellfire, should give you an inkling as the tone of this book:

Let's Panic About Babies!: How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain, ... Turn You into a Worthwhile Human Being
This book is not for the faint of heart.  This is the book your mother warned you about.  This is the book you would not want to meet in a dark alley.

Short version?
I loved it.

Long version?
Yes, it is an irreverent, sardonic take on motherhood.  There is a reason it is shelved in the "humor" category and not in the "taking care of your preshus snowflake" category.  Um, yeah.  Perhaps, it is not something to take to a baby shower but it is certainly something for passing along to a comrade-in-arms at your next Mommy's Day Out Playdate or maybe slipping to a friend at your next bookclub meeting (Shhhh!  Alice and Eden have been adamant about not sharing and everyone just buying their own damned copies already.  What in the hell do Alice and Eden think they are?  A Kindle?)


If you want to present a new mother with something useful besides yet another carton of diapers, perhaps you should consider the gift of Laughter and A Break From Reality.  I can definitely recommend presenting a friend or a loved one a light-hearted, albeit slightly twisted take related to parenting.  Adding a copy of James Lileks' Mommy Knows Worst: Highlights from the Golden Age of Bad Parenting Advice  and Sloane Tanen's Hatched!: The Big Push From Pregnancy to Motherhood would help set the tone and round out your gift bundle.


To give you a taste, here are some of My Favorite Excerpts.  These made me laugh out loud and left my husband wondering what the hell I was reading.  But really, what else can you expect from a book with chapters such as "One Way Or Another, It Will Come Out of You" and "Fucking Hell, It's a Baby" followed by "How to Take Care of It" and "Back to Work, or Do You Love Your Baby?"

In the their "Baby-Safe Alternatives to Common Recreational Drugs", Alice and Eden offer this as an alternative to "Glue or Other Solvents":
Bend over and try to wedge your head between your knees. Stand up quickly! Now fall back against a dirty beanbag chair and groove to the pleasant buzzing and tunnel vision.

For a Speedball, they offer this handy tip:
Drink an espresso and eat chocolate cake at the same time.  Wake up in an unfamiliar hotel room.

In their "Tips for the First Month" they provide these sage pearls of wisdom:
Lead based paint: ........If you think there's even the slightest change of lead being anywhere near you, it's your responsibility to get rid of it.  Purchase a power sander and get to work!  Just release all that lead into the air and let it drift back down and settle into the earth where it belongs.  There's no need to interrupt this beautiful, natural process.

Eye contact with cats: Cats will suck the burgeoning life right out of you, using their infamous feline mind-powers.  Avert your eyes and move along.

Endless night-trolling for anonymous sex down by the docks:   Let's face it.  There's nothing like the illicit thrill of being taken from behind by a mustachioed stranger, but the time for that frivolity has passed.  You're not getting any younger and besides, all that cruising is what got you into this mess in the first place.

March 16, 2011

A New Machine (Part 1)

Pink Floyd, A Momentary Lapse of Reason 1987

Officially, every person in our household now has a computer.  Manoj happened across a small computer for free and he is rebuilding it over the weekend for Anjali.  Yes, we are Those People whose kids learn how to type their names before they can write them.  Judge amongst yourselves.

In other news, my Kindle hath taketh over.  Since Valentine's Day, I have read nearly 8 books, one of which was a heavy book made from heavy paper and oh my god, it was HEAVY.  And it took me forever to read that book because I actually had to carry it.  Did I mention the "heavy" part"?  Cramped hands.....paper cuts..... tragic

Furthermore, I am officially afflicted with KISS - Kindle Impulse Spending Syndrome.  There is no known cure other than a firm predilection for self-denial.  Ah, KISS!  Hop on over to the Kindle Store.  Find a book.  Click once and that book is Whisper-netted right to your device within seconds. Que magnifique!  Oh sure, this is Awesome when you are looking for something specific.  However, this is Not So Awesome when you are bored on a Friday night while enjoying a glass of wine (or two) (Stop with the judging.)  (I can HEAR  you.)

Additionally, KISS has a grave complication whereby the Kindle inexplicably allows you to read faster. I am reading even more books than before.   I have yet to solve this conundrum - does the Kindle transport me into some alternate reading universe where time wrinkles faster than my grandma??  Anyway, this time warp has gotten Tony Soprano Serious because effectively, it means I NEED MORE BOOKS. Now!  Before my Kindle gets all Marine Corp over my reading ass. Hurry! Hurry! Those books won't Whisper-net themselves, you idiot.

None of this was helped by the fact that I found a new author obsession on Saturday.  I read Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island over the weekend and am now on Mystic Island.  He also has a PI series that looks intriguing.  When I fire up the Kindle Store now, my modem yawns and says "You?  Again?"

In conclusion: I have officially Whisper-netted myself into what will surely be an interesting conversation with my husband when the next credit card statement arrives.

March 14, 2011

A Great Day for Freedom

Pink Floyd, The Division Bell 1994

Today is Save a Spider Day!

As your official Ambassador of the Arachnids, you can rest assured that in our house, we arachnid enthusiasts observe this holiday with all the proper solemnity and respect due such an important cause.  Spiders in peril?  No problem.

However, you may find yourself wondering, "Exactly how does one go about saving a spider?"  Bully for you that Daniel, our Common Pinktoe tarantula (a. avicularia), thought we should provide a demonstration.  Thoughtful bloke, that Daniel.

Gentle Reader, without further ado, I present to you the following:

Kelli's Official 3-Step Process For Saving a Spider©

Items Needed:
1 Plastic Container
1 Sheet of Paper
1 Spider in Imminent Danger

You happen upon a spider in a state of jeopardy.
Oh noes! Halp!

Step 1:
Carefully place the plastic container over the spider.
Maybe this was not such a good idea. Is this container BPA-free?  

Step 2:
Slip the paper under the container and most importantly, beneath the spider.
Okay, guys.  This isn't funny now.

Step 3:
Congratulations!  The spider is now saved.
No worries, the spider will thank you later!
Seriously, guys.  NOT FUNNY. The walls are closing in.  


A word of caution: this method works best with spiders.  Dogs?

Not so much.

This post is dedicated to Sofia, my first 8 legged baby, the one who started this fun little fascination of mine.

March 8, 2011

Take It Back

Pink Floyd, The Division Bell 1994

Last week, I received some bad news - someone told me she would no longer be needing my friendship services.  And unlike last year, when I had a few friendships hop aboard an outbound train, this is a friend I will actually miss. So, I drowned my sorrows at the Estee Lauder counter at Nordstrom's and then for good measure, went to Sephora.  Gentle Reader, you can keep your pints of ice cream.  Nothing soothes my soul like costly tubes of mascara and pricey bottles of Philosophy's Amazing Grace bodywash.


In other bad news, I have had my first experience with a hate site - fortunately, a site with little traffic.  I have been referring to this venom as the site about White Girls and the Brown Boys Who Love Them.  Apparently, I am a "gori whore who likes to play dress-up."  Obviously, I have to cry foul on that notion.  It is simply ludicrous and I am not talking the black rapper kind.

I despise playing dress-up and everyone knows it.


And since bad news comes in triplicate, Manoj is between clients and will be working from home for the next month or so.

Cue the theme from Psycho set to the beat of the theme from Jaws with the Twilight Zone theme twinkling merrily in the background.

Long-time friends (the few who are left) and readers (all 3 of you) probably remember that this has been a "challenge" for us in the past.    At first, I was quite concerned.  However, I think it is going to work out, in the long run.  With my also "working from home" now, this means I can actually sneak out of the house and work from Starbucks since  I am FAR more productive as a WASM than a WAHM.

Admittedly, we did get off to a rocky start yesterday.  I went to Starbucks to work in the morning with the understanding that Manoj would drop Anjali off to school.  Unfortunately, Anjali is in her Truancy Phase and hates going to school (although, she seems to love it once she gets there.  Someone explain this? Please?) and as we have established, Cobra Daddy doesn't make our kids do shit.

In short, Anjali did not go to school yesterday.

After a disastrous first day, we are tweaking the schedule a bit whereby I do ALL drop-offs from now on.  Hey, I may be a Prairie Dog Mom, but at least I ensure they make it to school!

March 1, 2011


Pink Floyd, Meddle 1971

Arun: Which bad guys do you like, Mama?  I like Bowser and the Tiki Tong!
Me:  I like Tony Soprano, although to be fair, I would include Michael Corleone.
Arun: What?
Me: Also, I can't forget Stringer Bell - totally serious BAD GUY.  And Walter White is not only bad, he is breaking bad.
Arun: I don't understand you, Mama.

Neither does anyone else, kid.


Anjali: Mama, I love you when I am happy, not when I am mad.

Those words were said for a reason, she knew what what she was saying.  Normally, we have a saying "I love you even when I am mad."  I started this to help her differentiate between when I am angry with her versus my love for her.  Her point was crystal clear:  She doesn't always love me.

And, so it begins.

Ah, this girl has her Defiant Scowl perfected, worthy of a teenager.  There was a time when she would cry as she got in trouble, because she actually cared if I was mad or not.  Now?  She can give as good as she gets.  Actually, she gives better.  Gentle Readers, it's not her fault she hit her brother.

It's not her fault she threw a perfectly good apple in the trash because you dared to give her AN APPLE.

It's not her fault she ripped her barrette out of her hair because you insisted she quit looking like a street urchin all of the goddamned time.

It's not her fault she colored the WHITE dog with GREEN bubbles.

The injustice!  Nicely punctuated with tears, crossed arms and a lovely eye roll.

Dude.  She's ready to steal my car keys and sneak out her bedroom window (Note: Not that I ever sneaked out my sister's bedroom window then discovered I couldn't get back in, then promptly went to sleep in the back yard only to be woken up by the flashlight of a police officer in my face.  Nope. That never happened.)

Oh and the dog washed out fine, so it seems that Anjali might be attending her Junior Prom, after all.  Perhaps.

I suspect my parents are both snickering as they mumble vague quotes about "paybacks" and "hell".

Lately, the allure of sugar and artifial color has been too great for her.  During the spate of Valentine's Parties and the ensuing Goody Bag Fest, it was discovered that Arun's classmates went overboard with the candy whereas, Anjali's classmates did not.  Such an inequity in confectionery distribution was simply not to be born.

Around these here parts, she been referred to as The Bonbon Bandit....The Lollipop Larcenist....The Sweetmeat Sweetheart.

We know her simply as "Anjali".

Exhibit A
The unsuspecting victim of a heartless, Valentine's Day Massacre.  Oh, the sweet irony! 

Exhibit B
My suspicisons were first aroused when I came across empty packages of candy carefully snipped open and piled in a corner of our dining room, behind the table.  This was discovered early in the resulting crime spree.  The pile grew significantly later on.

Exhibit C
My parents both "claim" that 37 years ago they found a similar crime scene awash in sugar.  My parents can spin tales worthy of Shakespeare.  LIARS, I tell you.

Exhibit D
The candied culprit expressed no remorse.

Exhibit E
Instead, she was a veritable display of giddy abandon.  

The detox from that sugar high is gonna be rough, folks.

Maybe she can cure herself with her mind, too.