I Can't Blog for Awhile

I'm finding it difficult to blog about my relatively happy life while my friend and her family are suffering. I can't blog about silly things, and blogging about more troubling things isn't going to help anyone.

I plan to see Mrs. Kathy, Mr. Jeff and Baby J this weekend. I'll be back when things are once again on an even keel.

If you are a prayer person, please say prayers for them. If you are a good thoughts person, please send good thoughts their way.

They need out of their one-bedroom condo with the alley behind it. I want them to live by me, even if it means occasionally finding a naked man covered in baby powder in their bushes.
I've Been Avoiding Talking About This

By "this," I mean this.

One of my oldest and dearest friends, Mrs. Kathy, and her family had something horrible happen to them.

Her husband was out walking their dog, when someone asked him for the time. As he was about to answer, somebody smacked him in the back of his head with a baseball bat. They (of course Mr. Time was really an accomplice) wanted him to be knocked unconscious, and when he wasn't, they both proceeded to beat him in the head with their baseball bats.

The dog ran away.

He staggered to his feet and ran to the street, where he was found by ... I forget whether it was a passer-by or the police. They took him to one hospital, then another more adept at handling severe traumas.

The good news is, all functions are normal. I mean, he doesn't have brain damage or impaired mobility, which was a fear due to the amount of bashing done to him.

The police rang Mrs. Kathy's condo bell; she was asleep with her baby at the time.

He didn't even have a wallet on him.

Mrs. Kathy doesn't live in the scary inner city; she lives here. But it abuts the city, and has alleys and dark places where people can hide.

Dilf and I lived in Oak Park when we were first married. He got held up by a drug addict looking for money with a fake gun. Dilf heard the plastic click against the guy's belt buckle as he was pulling the "gun" out of his pants and questioned the gun's authenticity. Lucky for us, he was right, but the experience still haunted him and the whole act of testifying was not particularly pleasant.

I can only imagine how long this will haunt Mrs. Kathy and Mr. Jeff. The desperately want to move. I desperately want to help them.
Be Wary: Scary Fairies
"GnomeBusters Magical Creature Removal Service, Craig speaking," he said wearily into the phone. The slow season between the St. Patrick's Day leperchauns and Halloween was a long series of one false alarm after another, causing Craig Peterson to curse the lawn ornament industry on a daily basis.

This call, however, caused Peterson to sit bolt upright in his office chair. "Could you repeat that, please? I can barely hear -- what? I'll be right there!"

He didn't need the panicked voice to confirm his suspicions. He had heard enough, and what he heard caused the hair on the back of his neck to stand at attention.


Throwing his gear in the back of his truck, Peterson started the engine and rushed to the address he had hastily scribbled onto the back of his Taco Bell napkin. He patted the sweat droplets already forming on his fevered brow. What was he getting himself into?

He arrived at his destination. No need to check the address; he could already hear the shrieks of maniacal laughter and ear-piercing, high-pitched chatter coming from inside the house. As he exited his truck, something on the ground caught his eye.

He knelt down, gingerly extended a finger to touch the sparkly residue, looked closely at it, and held it to his nose. The glittering fuschia confetti with the sugar plum fragrance confirmed his worst fears.

He was dealing with Flower Fairies, and from the look of things, it was more than one. Steeling his resolve, he stood and followed the walkway to the front door. Before he could even ring the doorbell, a panicked woman opened the door.

"Fairies?" he said, and as the woman nodded, he asked, "How many?"

"Twelve!" she declared tearfully. "Twelve Flower Fairies!"

Peterson suddenly regretted eating Chalupas for lunch, as the contents of his stomach lurched ominously. He reached for his walkie talkie. "Johnson," he murmured into the receiver, "I'm gonna need backup on this one."

He gazed to his right, and saw something that pierced him to the core:

This was no accidental infestation. These fairies were invited. By whom, he didn't know. Why, he couldn't say. One thing he did know, was that once fairies were invited, they didn't want to leave. He knew this was going to be the hardest case of his fifteen-year career.

He spoke once again into his walkie talkie, "Johnson, stop by the bakery on your way over. We're going to need some buttercream, maybe some cookies." He listened to his partner's puzzled response. "We don't have time for questions, Johnson, just DO IT!"

Craig Peterson turned to his trembling client and said, "Ma'am, put on a pot of coffee. This is going to take some time."
This Blog Will Be Closed Tomorrow For Fairy Fumigation

You have no idea how much damage a house full of fairies can do.

I had to call the exterminator. I may need to call Servicemaster, as well.

As soon as the decontamination is complete, I will return with photos. Oh, sure, they look cute until they've infested your house!

Also, tomorrow is ÜberElder's first day of first grade. So, it could be a very full newsday Tuesday.
Weekend Picture -- Cake of Flowers

In honor of ÜberElder's birthday party theme.

Update: Originally I had a photo of a woman with flowers in her hair and a fluffy pink bikini. I thought she looked spunky and vibrant, others thought she looked sexy. So I took her away.

Here's a birthday cake made out of flowers, in honor of ÜberElder's flower fairy tea party tomorrow.
Another Reason I Love JK Rowling
"I mean, is 'fat' really the worst thing a human being can be? Is 'fat' worse than 'vindictive', 'jealous', 'shallow', 'vain', 'boring' or 'cruel'? Not to me; but then, you might retort, what do I know about the pressure to be skinny? I'm not in the business of being judged on my looks, what with being a writer and earning my living by using my brain...

I went to the British Book Awards that evening. After the award ceremony I bumped into a woman I hadn't seen for nearly three years. The first thing she said to me? 'You've lost a lot of weight since the last time I saw you!'

'Well,' I said, slightly nonplussed, 'the last time you saw me I'd just had a baby.'

What I felt like saying was, 'I've produced my third child and my sixth novel since I last saw you. Aren't either of those things more important, more interesting, than my size?' But no – my waist looked smaller! Forget the kid and the book: finally, something to celebrate!"
--JK Rowling

That's an excerpt from her website. I will gladly hold her up as a role model for my daughters. Here is someone who faced poverty and rejection. She didn't give up. She didn't compromise her principles. She took care of herself and her kids. She didn't turn into a helpless quivering mess.

And, it seems, kept a good head on her shoulders as well.

JK Rowling, I salute you!
The WeenieTini -- a Neat Treat for Those Who Love Meat

The Weenie-Tini

3 oz weeniecello
1 oz dry vermouth
splash of sauerkraut brine

Garnish with a slice of frankfurter.

I'm really, really glad I don't have a hangover right now, because if I did, B.A. would have succeeded in making me puke with his hot dog-infused vodka story.

As it stands, I am mildly revolted. And when I'm revolted, I must share the revolting item with my blog buddies.

Bad Music Thursday: This
Some of my Bad Music Thursdays have been subject to debate.

This one isn't. Not even by the artist, which proudly acknowledges its uselessness and awfulness. Enjoy.

German Badass, Destructo's 2nd music video
I'm Apathetic

Here's a short and incomplete list of things I don't care about, mostly because I don't care enough to write a complete one:

Eating (what, when or if)
People on TV, in movies, or who write books
My car
How fat I am
My clothes
What time it is
My prescription being ready at the Target pharmacy
Wearing shoes
Bills and money
Facial hair on myself or others
Shaving my legs
Eating off of plates
Recent music
Spider webs
What people think
Why Dilf just said "Shit!" in his office
Dr. Sardonic
Snakes on a Plane
Drinking water
Where my cat is right now
My hair
Skinny jeans vs. boot cut
Thong underwear
Fiber in my diet
Dental checkup
Pap smear
Matching socks

If I forgot something, I don't care.
Don't Wear Wednesday: Unitards for Men

I Don't Need Batteries.
I invited Nick to be a mascot at ÜberElder's birthday shindig on Saturday, perhaps as a giant bumblebee or wood elf or something. Since his personality tends more toward a foul-mouthed garden gnome with anger issues, I searched for an evil gnome on Google.

The result appears to your right.

It also brings up a related Bachelorette party observation from last Saturday regarding battery-operated marital aids.

I don't own one, nor did I buy one from the nice lady at the party. I had just seen Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest the night before, and all of the gelatinous, tentacled, buzzing items she displayed reminded me of these guys. Also, many of them had faces on them, or were shaped like animals. It just wasn't doing it for me. In fact, it put me off the whole idea. Plus, some of them had wires and such. It didn't seem very romantic; more like an episode of "This Old House." ("This Old Spouse?")

So, all of my electrical appliances stay in the kitchen, thank you very much. And I don't want any crotch gnomes, either.

I was going to write about disturbing social issues or the inner workings of my increasingly frightening psyche today, but all of that nonsense faded away when I saw this in this morning's paper.

Do you know who that is???!!! It's our very own beloved Mr. Importantness!!! In the newspaper! Well, he's been in the newspaper for several weeks now, producing his comic strip. But that in no way dampens my enthusiasm to find him on the FRONT PAGE of the Tempo Section. With pictures. Including one of him as a wee little Master Importantness.

I'm saving this paper so he can autograph it. Maybe I'll have him dip his ass cheeks in ink and press them onto the paper for good measure.
High School Reunion? It's not the End of the World ... Is It?
I just realized that my 25th high school reunion will be in the year 2012.

That's the year the Mayan calendar ends, which many people believe signals the end of the world.

Whew! I don't have to worry about losing weight and finding a dress for that one. Thanks, Mayan high priests!

By far, the most amusing website I've found pertaining to the upcoming calamity is this one.

Fortunately, a simple device made from paper clips will save you, as this diagram clearly illustrates:


Beware the Duodecimalist!
ÜberElder Turns 6 Today!

Today is Elder's birthday. We gave her this for her gift this morning, and we are getting her ears pierced this afternoon as well.

Grandma and grandpa and some aunts and uncles are coming over this evening for ice cream cake, but her big party is this Saturday with her friends.

She's having a flower fairy tea party, at which the girls will receive a set of fairy wings, plus a magic wand and tiara to decorate themselves. Then, we will have a neighborhood flower fairy parade.

I will make sandwiches in flower and butterfly shapes. Dainty finger foods will be served. Cake and cookies. Punch served from a teapot. Each girl will take home a gift box shaped like a teacup and filled with garden-themed items and candy.

I love parties.
I Went to A Bachelorette Party this Weekend

I drank a little. Ate a little pizza.

I purchased romance enhancement products.

I went to a bar and bought the bachelorette a giant chocolate martini.

Some strangers bought us all lemon drop shots. I drank mine, but not everyone in our party did, so the bride finished them off.

I recommended that a creepy older man find a willing girl (exact words: "sluts are underappreciated and underrated. Go find one") instead of wasting time talking to me, because I knew what he wanted and he wasn't going to get it from me. He found my candor refreshing, so instead of going away, he decided to tell me all of his marital problems.

We danced to an all-girl band popular with the lesbian community.

The bride to be put her head in my lap and threw up on me on the way home.

I went back to my brother-in-law's house and threw up myself before going to sleep on the couch. Disgusting, yes, but I have no hangover because of it. You know what a sweetie my brother-in-law is? He left bottled water on the coffee table within my reach, so when I woke up parched in the wee hours, I could but reach out my hand and find relief.

I also had to wear my brother-in-law's t-shirt and pajama bottoms home, with high heels, since my dress was in the laundry.

How was YOUR weekend?
Weekend PinUp -- Swinging Moms
I Don't Make Passes at Boys Who Are Asses
It’s often said that “nice guys finish last” and that women prefer “bad boys” to nice ones. I'm sad to say that it's true, most of the time. Even women I love and respect like Brooke and Tits seem to prefer the rogues.

Not me. I buck the trend. In fact, bad boys and I understand each other – which is why we utterly and completely despise one another.

But the bad boys get enough press. I want to talk about the nice guys, the shy guys, and the overlooked guys. Not the anti-social, lost in his own world, animal-torturing weirdoes who belongs in an asylum of some sort, but the sweet, affable, enthusiastic guys who either don’t have the sinister cunning to be a user, or, better yet, choose against it.

These kinds of guys usually have a passion of some sort that makes them irresistible to me. I don’t care if its sports, movies, music, art, politics … if it gets them all excited to talk about it, it gets me excited to hear about it. And ladies, whether you want to believe it or not, if the guy is passionate about one thing, he’s passionate about others – like women, of course.

In bed, they aren’t just focused on the quick and selfish result. They like to experiment, learn, explore. Out of bed, they want to know all about you. Not just what suits their selfish purposes, but every last component of makes you, you. I can’t fathom why anyone would want a swaggering know-it-all who likes to hear his own voice and demands to be adored at all times.

To me, it’s the bad boy who’s weak, insecure, lacking in imagination and, frankly, boring. The nice guy dares to have principles in a world that often doesn’t reward principled behavior. He is secure enough to focus on loving instead of being loved. He is full of fun and life and focus. I love those guys. You can keep the philanderers, egotists and immature thrill-seekers. They’re not worth shaving your legs for.
Erin Told Two Friends, then Todd Told Two Friends, and so on, and so on...

Now you, too, can put 'em on notice.
Profoundly Disturbing Music Thursday: Cupcakes
My friend Mr. Mike A. riled me up by showing me this story.

I would like to warn our elected representatives: as Susie Felber says, "If cupcakes are outlawed, only outlaws will have cupcakes."

Since this is music day on my blog, I give you this to consider:

I Slowed Down So Much I Got Bored.

I finished my book. The mom killed Suzette, the sister killed the doctor, and Bop the pizza guy was trying to kill the old lady with pizza but kept mixing up the boxes, so he made the nurse sick instead.

Since I gave up perfectionism yesterday, I let ÜberGirls help me with the chores so they could earn enough marbles to go to Kiddieland. They ooze enthusiam for most mundane chores, especially if they involve a Swiffer product. So, the house is tidy, chores are done (enough), and I finished my book.

I was so bored I had to Google "bored." Then I found that picture and I wasn't bored anymore because it's so delightfully bizarre. Where is giant hand at the bottom coming from? What is the giant behind the man going to do? Who is quoting scripture, and why? We may never know. But at least I'm not bored, now.
I'm Gonna Slooooow Down Before I Go into Perfectionist Mode

School is starting soon. I register ÜberElder on Thursday, and drop off ÜberYounger's preschool deposit tomorrow. Just so everyone knows what a sick individual I am, I already have mostly figured out a four-week rotating lunch menu for the girls. Nutritionally-balanced, yet things I know they'll eat. I even know exactly into which containers and baggies the various items will be packed.

I am thinking about their clothes. I know they're coordinated, but are they coordinated enough. What about their hair? I should get it cut. But not too soon before school. Will they scuff their shoes? Lose their hair ribbons and barrettes? Oh, my!

So, I think it's time for ol' mommy to take a bit of a mental vacation. Luckily, I went to the library and stocked up on cheesy mystery novels. My favorites are the food-related ones with recipes in them. Right now I'm reading Creeps Suzette from the Bed and Breakfast Mysteries series. Off to the bubble bath I go, and I won't go out until I'm sane or the water gets too cold, whichever comes first.
Back to School Special
I'm sorry; I keep alternating between serious stories and whimsical ones. Perhaps I should dedicate Tuesdays to important topics. Newsday Tuesday? Too cute? Yeah, I thought so.

I wanted to talk about the new Chicago Public School System report on homelessness that just came out.

"Officials with the CPS report that 10,500 homeless students were enrolled this year, compared with 3,500 in 2000---marking a 17 percent increase in this year alone.

Better reporting may be part of the reason behind the surge. The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless settled a class-action lawsuit in 2000 against CPS that demanded better reporting and services for homeless families.

Schools have improved methods of registering children as homeless, which gives the children benefits such as the ability to be bused back to their home school when they become homeless. Once they are registed as homeless, the children also get help with tutoring, schools fees, uniforms, and other clothing."

I checked some more statistics, and discovered nearly a third of all homeless people in Chicago are children.

Now, we can start pointing fingers at Republicans at the national level or Democrats at the local and state levels, but that tail-chasing has yet to yield any sort of positive result. This is unacceptable. Collectively, we should do something. But what? I have no clue. I don't know any homeless people.

I saw this book as I was looking around for information on homeless families, so I'll read that, and I know you can go here to donate school supplies, so I can do that.

We've got to stop dividing ourselves into categories and isolating ourselves if we are going to create a cohesive nation of "Americans." I'm not saying I'm not guilty. I lampoon Republicans as a group. Like I laughed at this:

Bad Ubie! Bad, bad Ubie!

We won't get anywhere like that. Do you think Flounder enjoys the thought of some 6 year old huddled in the back of a '76 Chevy Nova or under an underpass or in a gang-infested shelter somewhere? I don't. None of us has the answers. And until we can work out our differences of opinion instead of demonizing people who disagree with us, we never will.

So, we're agreed. Let's stamp out homelessness, starting with the children. Who's got a plan? Anyone?
Meaning of Life: Solved. It's the Cupcakes, Silly!
The answer should've been clear to me, yet it took a package from a very, very, very special person to bring it all into focus.

That person is Miss Kendra.

Miss Kendra, the divine.

Miss Kendra, the fabulous.

Miss Kendra, the regally elegant, sublimely beautiful, superbly talented.

Miss Kendra made me an apron:

At least, that's what we mere mortals know it as. The supernatural being of Miss Kendra speaks goddess-talk, so I'm not sure what she calls it on Mt. Olympus. And this apron taught me to look to my heart. And on my heart-region, I found cupcakes.

Beautiful, detachable, vintage bugle-beaded cupcakes with little red pompom cherries on top. Could any message be clearer than that?

I have changed my icon, because this apron has changed my life.

I love Miss Kendra. Forever.
I've Decided to Have an Existential Crisis.

Please feel free to suggest a meaning of life.
We Went to the Renaissance Faire...
I'm not going to poke fun at the whole experience.

Just the visitors who decided to arrive in costume.

Now, I fully understand the desire to escape our current dreary period of history. It's fun to engage in a little escapism. It's just that, well, you should at least endeavor to properly fit into the place to which you're escaping.

This guy knows what I'm talking about.

I saw a Jedi knight in what was supposed to be Reanaissance England. I saw several Xenas. I saw thigh-high boots and fishnets and miniskirts. I saw people dressed as witches and devils (I'm guessing that would get you burnt, drowned or otherwise destroyed in an actual Medieval/Renaissance town.)

I'm pretty sure people didn't walk around in fairy wings during the Renaissance, but then, I'm no scholar. Anyway, a little research never killed anyone. Maybe I should read up on fashions during that period. Or maybe not.
More People Are Upset with Me.
Amended, again. Bret Boyle fans, please read this.

The original intent of my original blog post has been obscured and it's my own fault. I'm sure it was very aggravating to deal with the school district board member(s). Sometimes people in positions like that get a false sense of power and lord that power over people. If that's the case, and I have no reason to doubt you, I wish I knew who this person or group of people was so I could vote him/her out of office. It's true I don't know the back story, and I'm sure it was difficult to just accept the arbitrary decision of a possibly vindictive individual. So you fought. I don't blame you.

So here's how I wish I had worded the story:

Bret Boyle is very lucky. He has parents and supporters who love and care for him so much that they would go to court to defend him.

That unnamed girl with the cerebral palsy is not so lucky. Her own body can't help her dial a phone to report her abuser. Her own mother sold her to her abuser. If it were not for the abuser's own decision to "brag" about his good fortune to someone else, that girl would be stilll be in her unimaginably horrible position today.

Bret Boyle got his story on the front page of the Metro section. He continues to live with his loving family in his safe environment with his fully functional body and unmaimed spirit intact. Can't you see how lucky he is? Even though he lost his case? Can't you? That's all I wanted to point out.

There's unfair, and then there's "unfair."


It appears the friends and relations of the kid in this story are starting to read what I had to say. To the surprise of none, they didn't like it. They would like me to identify myself, "as reporters do."

Well, first, I'm no one of consequence. I'm nobody on the school board, nobody elected to any kind of office, and nobody who knows Bret's family personally. But I won't identify myself, because I've written opinions about political issues, about the quality of American women, and about David Soul's music career which have caused individuals even more easily bent out of shape than yourselves to go crazy. So, for my own safety, I will not identify my real name or location.

That being said, I do have a response for you. I put it in the comment section. In case you don't read it there, I will post it here as well:

I'm not a newspaper reporter. I'm an everyday citizen with an opinion -- just like people who send letters to the editor. Sometimes those are unnamed, too.

If you don't like my opinions, you're welcome to dispute them here. I'm not going to sue you if I don't like what you have to say.

Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps this kid would be psychologically harmed by attending a high school across town. If that's the case, he has problems a mere school transfer won't solve.

What happens when he doesn't get into the college of his choosing? Or the girl he wants to go to prom with turns him down? Who will his family sue then?

As I meant to say in my blog post, teaching him to deal with life's ups and downs is far more valuable than teaching him that he should tie up the courts suing for things until he gets his way.

If you are going to literally make a case of your issue by going to court, and allow the newspapers to print your story because you mistakenly believe it paints you in a sympathetic light, then you are going to have to face the consequences that come when someone disagrees with you.

Facing consequences bravely, with grace and dignity, is an admirable trait to posess.

That's why I paired Bret's story with the other one, about the 14-year-old girl with cerebral palsy. She didn't choose to have such severe cerebral palsy that she couldn't control her movements. She didn't choose to have a mother so evil and sleazy that she would sell the rights to abuse her daughter to a known sex offender. Yet despite all that she's had to overcome, she faced the situation and did what she could to protect herself. That took courage.

So I don't want to hear any whiny bullshit about "what Bret's family went through" because they couldn't outmaneouver the system to their own benefit. It doesn't hold a candle to what that girl went through.

Addendum: Actually, I should thank these people for making my point for me. Remember Marie Antoinette saying, "Let them eat cake?" She said that because she honestly couldn't conceive of a life where someone didn't have enough to eat. When the royals were told there was no bread for the peasants, she didn't think that meant there was no food at all, she thought they just had to choose something else for dinner.

Likewise, there are obviously people for whom petty grievances are the only grievances they know. They still believe they were horribly wronged, because this is the worst thing they've had to contend with. I don't know what to say. I'm sort of mocking the family, yes. I shouldn't. They aren't trying to be petty. Life is just different for them than it is for a poor girl with cerebral palsy. Different worlds, people. That's what I meant to point out in the first place. Comfortable people view the slightest discomfort as major.
Weekend PinUp -- For Brooke
Melanie Sent Me This
Bad Music Thursday: Exclusive Interview With Music Dumpster
Music Dumpster collects music -- bad pop music. Whenever he comes across a real stinkeroo, he tosses it down his chute, for what he hopes is an eternity. The problem, he says, is that people keep finding him and pulling their favorites out of the dump.

"It's usually the stuff right on top that gets 'rescued'," MD says, disdainfully. "No matter how hard I try to keep Clay Aiken in there, people keep dragging him back out. Then, I have to track him down again. They think they can hide him from me by dying his hair. It's all very silly."

As difficult as keeping down recent bad pop stars is, it doesn't compare to the pain he faces when someone digs down deep to resurrect something horrid from the past.

"I thought David Soul was gone and forgotten, but when his fans found out I had put him in the trash heap, they dug and dug until they got what they wanted." MD grimaces at the memory. "Those people are relentless."

But while his job certainly brings challenges, it brings joy as well. "I thought I'd never get rid of the boy bands. It took more than a decade of hard work, but I finally did it. And believe me, those coordinated dancers don't go down easy."

The recent crop of reality tv-generated pop stars has kept Dumpster busier than he's ever been. But he has hope that this, too, will pass.

"Yeah, it's pretty bad," he says. "But if I can survive the 70's, I can survive anything."

Does DM have any regrets? "Cher," he responds without hesitation. "I did not expect a comeback from her at all."
Laundry: A Stumbling Block in My Otherwise Perfect Home
I know this will totally shock and amaze you, but ... I think I have a mental defect. No, no, I know I've mentioned this before, like at least once a week, but this time I'm SERIOUS. It's about laundry. You might even call it a laundry quandry.

I can't fold and put away laundry. I can sort it, pre-treat the stains, dump it in the washer with appropriate washing fluids, clean the dryer's lint shield, put in a softener sheet and put it in the dryer on the proper temperature. I can put it in a laundry basket and carry it upstairs.

I just can't seem to move forward from there. I even dump it out onto my bed. Sometimes, I even sort it into piles: Dilf, Elder, Younger, me. Then, I freeze. I go into avoidance mode. "I'll get to it after I (make lunch, unload the dishwasher, scrub the toilet, scour the bathtub, vacuum, sweep the floor, sort the mail, clean the toothpaste flecks off the mirror, clean the microwave ... ooh, maybe if I made myself a cheery DVD from ITunes, THAT would inspire me to do the laundry! Oh, I know, I'll blog about it. That's a great idea!) Then, bedtime rolls around and I put the laundry back in its basket. I have three baskets of clean, unfolded laundry in my bedroom. They've been there since last Thursday.


Why? Someone... anyone... for the love of all that is good and wholesome, please tell me what my hang up is.
Don't Wear Wednesday -- Back to School Edition
I will admit to preferring traditional clothes for the ÜberGirlies. Generally, I like my three-year-old to look like a three-year-old and my six-year-old to look like a six-year-old. The older they get, the more "fashion" I see myself allowing.

Last year, it was easy. I got nearly all the girlie clothes at one store that offered affordable cuteness. It stands to reason, then, that I'd go straight to the same store this year. Alas, I found that THEY had been purchased by none other than Satan himself. How else do you explain dressing little girls size 4 to 6x in this?

I think I know where they got their inspiration:

Because I always wanted to dress my little girl like an aging hooker with an attitude.

Now, Übie, you might be saying. Be fair. That's just one dress; surely they have other more comely choices from which to pick? Hmmm, they do have a shirt that's regular brown leopard print. That's an improvement, but not much. No, most items seem plucked from Cyndi Lauper's trash bin.

Honestly, who would pick this fabric? For anything outside of Ringling Brothers?

I rest my case.
I forgot to medicate.

Harry Potter fans: remember the potion Professor Lupin took to avoid becoming a werewolf? Well, my doctor ordered me to medicate during PMS for largely the same reason.

But I forgot this month.

I should've realized it was coming yesterday, when I decided I needed Fritos crumbled atop my chili; and when ÜberElder asked for the new Hershey's Kisses cookies while shopping, I ripped into the box right there in the store instead of saying "no" and giving my usual anti-advertising speech.

So, because I ignored these warning signs, I am now on edge. No sudden movements or loud noises, please. There's no telling what I might do if a rampage is triggered.

This is a public service announcement.
More Fun with Newspapers: Our Nation's Cultural Divide
In the "Metro Near West" section of Friday's Chicago Tribune, two stories demonstrated how people can live in two different worlds even when they're geographically right next door to one another.

The first story concerns the trial (and, thankfully, later conviction) of a man who abused a 14-year-old girl. Actually, a 14-year-old girl with cerebral palsy... well, I'll let you read the story yourself. I'm not referencing the Tribune article because you might not be able to access it, and I think everyone should know what happened to that girl, and how brave she was in the face of horrors most of us can't even begin to contemplate. Did you read it? Okay.

Now, consider this story (well, you could consider it if the cockroaches at the Tribune would let you without registering with them first.)

It appeared on the front page of the section, while the rape trial story appeared on page five. I hope you have your hankies ready, folks, because this is sad, indeed.

Poor Bret Boyle lost his legal battle to attend Downers Grove North and must attend Downers Grove South, because he lives within Downers Grove South's borders. He wants to go to North because his dad coaches football there.

Horrors! Downers Grove South must be an educational wasteland, populated by gangs who stroll the hallways selling drugs and shanking each other with mechanical pencils, right? No, even Mr. Boyle's mother admits, "Both high schools are excellent athletically and academically." (Note which one she mentioned first.) But somehow the family got Bret's pediatrician and junior high counselor to testify Bret would be "better served emotionally" if he could attend North, the school of his ancestors, and his grandpa testified that sending Bret to South would "tear his family apart," because he would have to decide whether to attend games coached by his son or sporting events in which Bret might participate.

Übie's message to whiny Boyle family: if it's that fucking important to you, move your silly, overindulged asses north of 55th Street and quit wasting the court's time! Or, better yet, teach your son that he doesn't always get what he wants, but he could make the best of what he has. Also, most people grow out of their obsession with high school sports. I highly recommend it. There's a big, wonderful world out there.

Also, a big, terrible world where defenseless 14-year-old girls are victimized. You might want to compare Bret's emotional pain to that young lady's and rethink how serious it really is.
News Wars: The Battle for Downers Grove
My town has two weekly papers: the Downers Grove Sun and the Downers Grove Reporter. One of them had best improve its level of reporting.

Both papers feature a police blotter section which compiles a list of last week's miscreants and their misdeeds. That's where the comparison ends. Take last week's edition, for example.

This is what the Sun had to say about Mr. Paul A. Reardon's activities on Sunday, July 30:

"Public Indecency: Paul A. Reardon, 51, 3844 Glendenning Road; 4:36 a.m.; charged with public indecency."

Compare that to the Reporter's version:

"A Downers Grove man was arrested around 4:30 a.m. July 30 for allegedly fondling himself about a half-block from his home, police said. Paul Reardon, 51, 3844 Glendenning Road, was arrested for public indecency, according to Police.

"Police said they received a phone call that a man was running naked in the 3800 block of Glendenning Road. An officer said he spotted Reardon masturbating at the intersection of Glendenning Road and 38th Street before the man ran off, according to police. Reardon was later found naked, but covered in baby powder, lying underneath a neighbor's shrub, police added."

Now, unless you are Paul Reardon, which version do YOU prefer? Details, people, it's all in the details.

The Sun also dropped the ball last week, reporting a mere "noise ordinance violation" where the Reporter gave us a hilarious play-by-play of a party thrown by a couple of teenagers whose parents had left them alone while vacationing. Neighbors called the cops, and when the cops showed up at the front door, a mass teen evacuation took place at the back door. Unfortunately, they were too drunk to jump over the hedges and dozens of them got stuck in the branches.

Sometimes it's the story, sometimes it's how you tell it.
Auntie Julie: Murdered? Conclusion.

The funeral and luncheon took place with the barley mushroom soup, but without an open bar. It also took place without conversation between Slobodan and my mom, and thus without incident. Because had Slobodan, Jozia or Son of Slobodan dared to approach my mom, there would have been an incident. And there would have been two more old Polish people buried in the cemetery.

Everyone stayed in his or her respective corners until the lawyer called us all together in Auntie Julie’s apartment to read the will.

It was there that we learned about the monies involved. It was there that we learned the will had been changed. It was there that we learned Slobodan had taken over my buschia’s share of my aunt and uncles’ estates, a share which originally was meant to be distributed equally among the grand nieces and nephews in the event my grandma passed first. (In case you’re keeping score, that means me.) He also managed to score one of the major shares of the estate, along with my mom, her sister, and Son of Slobodan. So, an estate that should have been primarily split three ways, was split four. He also scored an additional $50,000 for his executor position.

I did get some money; it was less than 10 grand but it was enough to pay for Dilf’s and my wedding. I could’ve used the extra money I didn’t get, too, but who cares. It was the horror of discovery, the knowledge that someone who shared Christmases and graduation parties and first communions with us was a liar, a cheat and a swindler, and possibly a murderer.

Jozia could’ve kept her kolachky-gobbler shut and just enjoyed her ill-gotten gains, but it wasn’t good enough for her to sit silent. When we questioned the validity of the torn notebook paper and requested our own copies of the will so we could examine it at length (and, I might add, bring it to our own family attorney) she went ballistic.

Now, I’ve been in customer service. I’ve had angry people yell at me. I’ve seen traffic altercations. I even saw a bar fight that had spilled out onto the street. But neither at that time nor up until today, have I heard as cruel and venomous a diatribe spewed as I heard from Jozia that afternoon.

“She hated all of you. Always did,” she spat. “She’d tell me, I hate (all of us, named individually.) She just wished you’d all go away and leave her alone.” And, although no one had accused her or anyone of wrongdoing (yet) she then huffed, “I don’t need this money. My husband (her first, not Slobodan) was a doctor. He left me lots of money. And I have my pension. This isn’t about us taking money, this is about how Julie hated you!”

As she sat there hissing poison through her bespittled lips, I looked over her shoulder to Auntie Julie’s kitchen table, where the brightly colored orange candy pumpkins and candy corns we had brought to Auntie some weeks ago still sat in a decorative bowl. She seemed happy to see us then, as always. In fact, the only time Auntie Julie was angry in recent memory was when Aunt D, my mom’s sister, went into a linen closet looking for Auntie’s heating pad. Auntie accused her of “looking for papers;” we chalked it up to Auntie’s age and medicinal load.

Anyway, my sister the paralegal crisply noted, “Whether she hated us or not is immaterial. As heirs we have a right to a copy and we each expect one.”

The uncomfortable-looking, sweaty lump of a lawyer (have you ever seen a man with a comb-over seemingly dyed with shoe polish, so that the scalp is also colored a greasy black?) hastily agreed to send us all copies and we exited, in renewed shock and anger.

None of us cashed the checks that arrived along with the copy of the will; we didn’t want to appear to accept it until we got the okay from mom’s lawyer.

She took all the papers and her story to her lawyer, who has served our family since the 1960’s. I also went to high school with his daughter. (Shout out to Melissa!)

He looked at my mother empathetically, but sadly. He said, “I looked over the papers you sent me before you arrived in my office. I took one look at the name of the funeral home and the lawyer and I knew something fishy happened here. These guys know each other, and they pull dirty deals all the time, but there’s a problem.

“They know exactly how much to cheat to avoid being obvious. I could take this case,” he said, looking at my mother. “But I know these guys. They know all the angles. They would fight me for years, and it would cost you thousands of dollars, a lot of misery, and a good chunk of your life. You wouldn’t wind up with any more of the estate. This is a prime example of pig wrestling.” Pause. “You wrestle the pig, he enjoys it and you both wind up dirty?”

My mom was disappointed, but she understood his wisdom. She asked if she could file a complaint against him to the bar association.

“Sure,” he said, “They’ll throw it on top of the pile.”

So, Jozia, Slobodan and Son of Slobodan, already the wealthiest people in my family, became wealthier. First Slobodan, then Jozia, passed away. I can only guess that Son of Slobodan inherited their estate; Jozia had no children and had alienated her niece (her one known relative.) I wouldn’t know; my family never spoke to nor heard from them again.

My mom sent a sympathy card to Son of Slobodan upon Slobodan’s passing, and one other “let bygones be bygones” letter; but he never replied.

I did “hear” from Auntie Julie again. Not directly, mind you. Two nights after Jozia’s vitriolic tantrum, I had a dream. I dreamt of Auntie Julie, Uncle Ray and Uncle Stanley’s apartment in the city. I was in the pantry, where I loved to go as a child. I saw the warm glow of the sunlight through the transom window; I breathed in the uniquely delicious aroma. I thought of the Charms suckers, root beer and malted milk balls she made sure to have on hand when we visited. The message, though never spoken in direct words, was clear nonetheless: “I never hated you. Never.”
I Pulled Myself Together.

I'll be back Monday, ready and rarin' to go!
GUEST POST: Kentucky Fried Travesty
Hey, Todd here. Ubie isn't feeling very good, so I'm going to do a quick post. Get well soon!

I'm from Louisville, the only city in my crappy state with paved roads, but that still makes me a Kentuckian, (damn the luck), so I'm appalled at what the corporate vipers are doing to my beloved Kentucky Fried Chicken.

No, I haven't posted a picture of my vomit; that's a KFC Famous Bowl, an actual menu item available at participating stores across the country.

What is in this modern slop jar? I'll let the company's website explain. "...a generous serving of mashed potatoes, sweet kernel corn, bite size pieces of all-white meat crispy chicken, topped with our homestyle gravy and 3-cheese blend."

What a great way to say to your clientele "We think of you as cattle. Graze away, bitches."

This isn't hearty homestyle cooking the way the Colonel envisioned when he created his famous original recipe chicken back in 1939; this is someone's garbage. Come on, pay us five dollars to eat like a homeless dumpster diver.

I blame the decline of KFC on the Pepsi Corporation. They've also ruined Pizza Hut, yet another American institution that's a hollow shell of its former self. Pizza Hut pizza used to be good. I know you younger readers don't believe me, but it's true. Then Pepsi decided to start using cheaper ingredients, and now I'd rather go back to my old middle school and eat their nasty little rectangular pizza than order anything from the Hut. Thanks, Pepsi. By the way, your soda sucks. DRINK COKE.
Weekend PinUp -- I Feel Like Dog Crap

To the delight of many, I have lost my voice. I have every symptom listed on the back of the Nyquil bottle. I'm sure I'll recover, but if I don't, you'll always have Todd to fill in.

(Todd always dresses in drag when he writes as me; he particularly likes the garters and stockings. He likes to go "snap snap snap." He complains about the high heels, though)

Confidential to Dilf's boss (it's hardly confidential now, is it? Oh well): If I inadvertantly infected you, I apologize. I promise I wash my hands often, but... well, sorry, anyways.

Update: I started to feel better. Then I felt worse again. I'm going back to bed.
Auntie Julie: Murdered? Part IV
I wasn’t in the funeral director’s office when this took place, so I’ll have to relay what my mother told me. Remember, at this point we still had no idea how large Auntie Julie’s estate was.

The funeral director took my mother aside and said, “We need to see you in office.”

Thinking he had questions about the funeral procession or flower placement, my mother went with him. Slobodan, Jozia and her cousin, son of Slobodan, were in there waiting for her.

She sat down and Slobodan thrust a check at her. It was worth roughly $4 thousand and she was the payee.

“Julie took out an insurance policy with you as the beneficiary, since you were her godchild,” Slobodan informed her. “Her wishes were for you to use it to help defray the cost of the funeral. Just sign it over to the funeral home”

“It’s true,” Jozia interjected. “I heard her.” The funeral director fixed his eyes on my mom, waiting.

My mom, in a daze from the whirlwind of activities she had gone through the past couple of days, poised a pen over the back of the check, ready to sign it.

But then, her knowledge of funerals past kicked in. “Wait,” she said. “Until the estate is settled, the executor pays the expenses and then the remainder gets divided up according to the deceased’s wishes.”

She turned to Son of Slobodan. “What does the will say?” she asked him, because the last she heard, he was the executor.

Son of Slobodan merely shrugged his shoulders and pointed to his father.

“Wait a minute!” my mom exclaimed. “Since when are YOU executor? I don’t like this. I’m not signing ANYTHING. I want [my sister] in here!”

Auntie D (mom’s sister) was summoned and the situation was explained to her. Auntie D backed up my mom, and reiterated that the executor pays expenses out of the estate until it is settled.

They all sat glaring at one another until Son of Slobodan spoke up. “They’re right, dad. The executor pays out of the estate.”

Slobodan angrily snatched the check back, and they all exited the office, my mom shaken and my aunt incredulous.

It suddenly became clear why Slobodan and Jozia were being so cheap about the flowers and the casket; they didn’t even want to spring for the mushroom barley soup at the Polish restaurant across from the cemetery. (We have all our funeral luncheons there. That soup is the only thing that takes the edge off the grief!)

When my mom returned to the wake, we could tell something was horribly wrong. We were all stunned when she told us what had happened. We knew the Slobodan family was very materialistic; we just didn’t know the depths of their depravity before.

And that was before we knew the estate was worth in excess of $1 million, making Slobodan’s grab for that last $4 thousand all the more deplorable.
Auntie Julie: Murdered? Part III

Thanksgiving passed with fond memories, somber moments, and a highly inappropriate joke about Auntie Julie’s face appearing in the mashed potatoes. The next day, my mom, my aunt, Aunt Mim’s widower (who from here on out we’ll call Slobodan Milosevich, because that’s the nickname we gave him at the time. It was topical then, I swear) and Jozia set out to deal with the funeral arrangements.

My mom and my aunt had become, sadly, pros at this. My auntie had been preceded in death by my two great uncles over the previous couple of years, and my own beloved grandma in July of the same year. In fact, buschia’s wake had produced a somewhat amusing anecdote involving Jozia herself.

We were sitting in the front row of the funeral parlor, when Jozia made her royal entrance. This woman thought an awful lot of herself. In fact, my father often said that she carried a card in her wallet that said, “Very Important Catholic. In case of emergency, call a bishop.” You’d have to be an old-school Catholic to understand that joke. Anyway…

Loud, bossy Jozia arrives at buschia’s wake. She strode arrogantly up to us in the front row, tossed her envelope in my eldest sister’s lap, and ordered, “Put this with the other cards!” My sister stood, saluted Jozia behind her back, and did as she was bidden.

Meanwhile, my other siblings and I watched Jozia as she lowered her ample carriage onto the kneeler, and started to pray. She wore white. A filmy, gauzy white skirt, to be exact. I was seated next to my brother-in-law, to whom I whispered, “Couldn’t she have worn a slip?”

My sister, in turn, leaned into her husband and said, “What’s that all over her underwear? Alligators?”

My brother-in-law, struggling valiantly to maintain a serious expression, whispered, “I think it says Monday Monday Monday.”

Thus, whenever Jozia was mentioned from that day forward, someone would imitate her imperious booming voice and say, “Monday Monday Monday!”

But back to story. Due to the timing of Auntie Julie’s passing and the time it took to embalm her body, the wake and funeral would take place Monday and Tuesday of the following week, respectively. My mom, aunt, Slobodan and Jozia chose the casket, flowers, and food for the funeral luncheon.

The same funeral home that handled my two uncles would be taking care of my auntie, as well. In fact, auntie’s new lawyer knew the funeral home personally! How very convenient!

So, when the funeral director, lawyer, Slobodan and Jozia all tried to stick my mom with the bill because, “That’s what Julia wanted” – my mom, in her grief and still stunned from Auntie’s somewhat unexpected death, almost signed the paper.


That’s when all hell broke loose.
Don't Wear Wednesday

Or, do. Depending on what message you're trying to get across.
Auntie Julie: Murdered? Part II

In November, 1998 – the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, to be exact – we were called to the hospital by my Aunt Mim’s husband’s second wife. Her name was Jozia.

Jozia called my mom, my mom’s sister, and my siblings and cousins to the hospital late that afteroon. We were told Auntie Julie was dying, and wasn’t expected to live through the night. Considering that Auntie Julie had had a pacemaker installed in June of that year and she was 89 years old, it wasn’t that outwardly unlikely that this could be true. Only, because my mom and my aunt were the ones who usually took Auntie to her doctors’ appointments and helped her out in general, it did seem a bit odd that Jozia would be the one taking Auntie to the hospital.

Then again, Jozia had been kind enough to hire a Polish-speaking caregiver for Auntie Julie, and none of us besides Jozia spoke Polish. That must’ve been why the caregiver called Jozia instead of my mom or my aunt. (Remember, we were still unaware of the financial shenanigans at this point.)

We all rushed to the hospital as soon as we could; since Auntie Julie hadn’t married or had children, she treated us as the grandchildren she never had and appeared at all family functions. This was not a distant relative we hardly knew.

My brother (still sane, at this point) was the first to appear because he worked nearby. He arrived just as Auntie’s doctor was exiting her room. My brother pulled him aside and asked him how bad she was, if she was suffering, etc.

The doctor looked at him quizzically and said, “Well, she fainted because her high blood pressure medicine was too strong, and she seems to have a sinus infection that moved into her ears, but she should be fine in a couple of days.”


As we all arrived, it became clear that Auntie Julie was not only not dying, but in good spirits. We were all laughing and joking and Auntie even slapped my uncle’s hand when he tried to take the crocheted turkey my cousin’s daughter had made in school, snapping, “Don’t touch my turkey!”

My sister arrived last because she had been at the dentist getting some sort of oral surgery. She arrived, the right side of her face puffed up like a blowfish, only to be laughingly told that it was a false alarm; Auntie Julie was going to be fine! Go up and see her; she’s laughing and joking! We had a little mini party in Auntie Julie’s room that night.

After a warm chorus of “See you tomorrow’s!” And “Don’t touch my turkey’s!”, we departed the hospital.

Jozia stayed behind.

Imagine our shock as we arrived at my mom’s house the next morning, to be told, “Auntie Julie died last night.”

We were utterly stunned.

It turns out we were all thinking of the fact, yet nobody dared speak it, that Jozia had been a nurse until retirement, and that she was an insulin-dependent diabetic. And that she was the last person in the room that night.

It gets even more interesting at the funeral.
Name: Übermilf
Location: Chicago Area

If being easily irritated, impatient and rebellious is sexy, then call me MILF -- Übermilf.

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