Category Archives: Listmaniac

The times, they are a-changin’


Before we left on our trip to California I sat the kids down and we hand-picked all the DVDs they wanted to bring in the van. Looking over their selections I realize that we are gradually shifting into a different phase of our lives. Sure, there are some old standbys in the bunch, being that the youngest member of the family is only five, but the preferred genres have begun to shift, now straying even into the territory of stuff I don’t mind watching. Which, after 11 years of The Wiggles, Dragon Tales, and the like, is not an entirely unwelcome development.

  • Kronk’s New Groove
  • Troop Beverly Hills
  • Alice in Wonderland (Johnny Depp version)
  • The Goonies
  • Land Before Time: Great Longneck Migration
  • Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief
  • While You Were Sleeping
  • That Thing You Do!
  • Aladdin
  • Adventures in Babysitting
  • Some bloody Wiggles video
  • LeapFrog Letter Factory
  • Clash of the Titans (recent version)
  • Land Before TIme: Journey Through the Mists
  • Dolphin Tale
  • Enchanted
  • The Princess Diaries
  • Benji
  • Land Before Time: The Wisdom of Friends
  • LeapFrog Code Word Caper
  • Walking With Dinosaurs & Walking WIth Monsters
  • Animaniacs

Time to play “What’s In the Snack Bag?”


Want to know which snacks my crew is rocking on our 1500+ mile journey? I’m pretty pleased with the variety and health level. Could it be better? Probably. Could it be worse? Infinitely. I figure, two back-to-back 10-hour days in the car entitles you to have a little fun.

Our snack bag contains:

Annie’s organic chocolate chip granola bars

Organic “Grammy Sammy” yogurt-filled sandwich bars

Organic sour gummy worms

Apple-banana 100% fruit pouches

Organic gummy fruit snacks

Thyme-seasoned Kalamata olives

Organic Greek yogurt smoothie pouches

Whole Foods fruit slices (candy)

Quaker strawberry yogurt-dipped granola bars

Sharkies kids’ sports chews

Veggie Straws

Whole Foods all-natural cheese puffs

Annie’s Bunny Grahams

In all of this, the only high fructose corn syrup is in the Quaker granola bars, because I didn’t read the ingredients when I bought them! In my opinion, that makes this a mostly guilt-free collection.

Too bad I’m not interested in eating any of these items. Note to self: in future, don’t forget snacks for Mom.

A Day (or three) in the Life


I never knew what busy was until I started school full time.

I thought taking care of the kids was a full time job. And it is…when they are actually home full time. After they’ve all started school and are gone most of the day, five days a week? I’m going to go out on a limb here and risk alienating my stay-at-home mommy friends by saying no. No, it’s no longer a full-time job. If you are not working and your kids are gone from 8:30 until 3:00 every day? You have time to get stuff done. Lots of stuff. I mean no disrespect; I was one of those moms. I had long stretches of time – years – when my children were gone all day at least a few days a week and I stayed home. There’s no shame in it and my purpose is not to invalidate. I’m merely pointing out, for contrast, that there is a huge difference between being on your own schedule and having entire days free to do what you want or what you need to do, and being at the mercy of a school (or work) schedule and having a narrow window of time in which to accomplish tasks.

Being in school and taking care of the kids would be a lot in a normal situation, but, as you know, I only have a husband/second pair of hands two days a week (occasionally three). This means I’m not only trying to do all these things, I’m handling them alone. I’m not trying to do everything because I’m a control freak or because I feel invaluable if I don’t. I simply have no choice. Not only that, but my going back to school seems to have coincided with the kids starting to do more in the way of activities…or, rather, staring to do more involved activities. We’ve tried to keep it simple. One activity per kid. That’s not too much, right? We have no interest in overscheduled children. However, when I’m doing all the drop-offs and pickups myself, and Madalyn has track practice ending when Eliza’s dance class begins, I have to be in class right after that and I’m trying to figure out how to feed us all in the one free 30-minute window I have — it’s a lot. Forget the kids. They aren’t overscheduled. Mom is overscheduled.

Anyway, my point is I never understood people who, for example, used to be online a lot and then disappeared for a while, claiming they were so busy they couldn’t even pop in for ten minutes to say hi. I didn’t get how someone could not have five minutes to return a phone call, or why they couldn’t manage to drop by a post office to mail something they said they were sending me. I didn’t understand…until now. I don’t call people. Of course, I didn’t before, but that’s because I didn’t want to. Now it’s because that takes time and attention I don’t have. Non-essential errands are way down on the priority list. And sometimes I don’t get online for the first time until the kids have gone to bed. I, who used to be online every couple of hours, all day long! Half the time I truly don’t have the time to do it. The other half of the time I could snatch 20 minutes here and there…but there’s a list as long as my leg of other stuff that also needs to be done, and I have to prioritize. Sometimes I have no choice but to go the responsible route because I know that, if I don’t, I’ll regret it later. If it’s not going to cause me a problem later, well, then, heck yes, I’ll let it slide and check in with my friends. But it’s basically a triage situation, here. Whatever is most urgent goes to the head of the list and the other stuff falls in line behind.

Now, let me clarify: I don’t mean this to complain. This is not a self-pitying post. I feel I must specify this because there is a faction of people online who, apparently, persist in believing I am miserably unhappy with my life. (I’m still trying to figure out what gives them that idea. Yes, I have my mood swings and the tone of my posts in various forums can be affected by that. But I’m pretty sure for every mad/sad/crappy thing I post, I post an equal or greater number of funny or silly or even-tempered things. So, WTF?) To be clear: not whining. I’m stating fact. This is my reality. I chose it, and I’m happy I did. I like school. I like my family. I like people who mind their own damned business. Er, thank you for your concern.

That said, I would like, for no other reason than my own amusement, to type out my schedule for the next three days. It is rather making my head spin…or would be, if I’d let myself think about it as a whole. I’m not, though. The way I deal with it is this: head down, full speed ahead, one task at a time. Tunnel vision. It helps, really. A year ago, if I’d had three days in a row like this, I’d likely have had a nervous breakdown.

Tuesday – Eliza’s Birthday

7:00 – Wake up, get Mad in the shower, fix breakfast, pack lunches. Mad out of shower, I go in. Let Eliza open one birthday present to take to school as show and tell. Take some pictures. Try not to feel badly about not making a bigger deal out of the day for her.

7:55 – Take Madalyn to school

8:15 – Take Johnny and Eliza to school

8:35 – Back home. Fix hair, get dressed.

9:30 – First class

11:00 – Second class

11:15-11:20 (we hope) – Second class wraps up early. Drive across town to pick up cupcakes. Drive back across town to preschool, deliver cupcakes, take some pictures, and beat it back to university

12:30-1:45 – Third class

1:45-2:50 – Free time. Enjoy it. Will be the last for the rest of the day. Intend to take a power nap or get online, but will probably actually end up doing laundry or something I feel I “should” be doing.

2:50-3:00 – Pick up Eliza + leftover cupcakes. Go straight to Johnny’s school to wait in line because thirty minutes isn’t enough time to bother going home.

3:30 – Get Johnny. Drive home. Spend next hour supervising homework, shooing Eliza away from her birthday presents, and nagging people to pick stuff up.

4:30 – Pick Madalyn up early from track practice so we can go to Eliza’s birthday dinner.

5:30-5:45 (hopefully) – Return from birthday dinner. Eliza opens presents. Pictures! More nagging people to clean up things.

6:30 – Back to school, 4th class

7:45 – Return home just in time to shuttle the younger kids off to bed. If they are on top of things they will have showered while I was gone. Otherwise, spend several minutes shrieking at them to “hurry up and get in there.”

8:00(ish) – Younger kids to bed

8:30 – Madalyn to bed. Maybe I can sit down here.


Wednesday – Alleged “day off”

Wednesday is parent-teacher conference day in our district. Thus, my public school kids have the day off. Preschool child does not. I was looking forward to this, as I thought Mad, Johnny and I could hang out, maybe watch a movie, etc. However. I have a dermatologist’s appointment at 10:30. Also, Johnny’s teacher has scheduled me for a conference at 10:15, which I will have to move (can’t really move the derm., as it takes a month or more to get in there). So at some point I will go to Johnny’s school for his conference. After that I will go to Madalyn’s school for her conferences. It is “first come, first served” for her grade, so I could, potentially, have a bit of a wait if there are people ahead of me. Additionally, she has a different teacher for every hour so I have a lot of people to see. Then I will pick up Eliza at 3:00, come home and likely immediately start on dinner, which takes most of the evening. Day off? Not so much.

Thursday – Is it Friday yet?

7:00 – Wake up. All the same bullshit as Tuesday at 7:00, except for the part about presents. Thank God.

Take kids to school.

9:30-10:45 – First class.

11:00-11:20 or so – Second class (God bless indolent professors).

11:20-12:30 – Ding ding ding! Free time! Go take a nap, dummy!

12:30-1:45 – Third class.

1:50-2:50 – Meet my friend to work out.

2:50-3:30 – Picking up younger kids. Go home, immediately begin preparing to leave again.

4:50 – Drop Johnny off at guitar.

5:00 – Drop Eliza off at dance. Madalyn also gets out of track practice right now. May have to send her uncle to pick her up.

5:30 – Pick Johnny up from guitar.

5:45 – Pick Eliza up from dance.

5:50 – Home, and I guess this is when everyone finally gets to eat, but I’m sure as hell not cooking, because…

6:30-7:45 – Fourth class.

7:50 – Return home, and thank my lucky stars that it’s now my weekend.

Right now the only thing I have scheduled for Friday is taking Eliza out somewhere to spend her birthday money. I’m sure she will wheedle lunch out of me, too. That’s the kind of activity level I can handle.

If nothing else, all this will make me truly and deeply appreciate summer break!

Moves like Jagger, indeed


It’s 12:36 a.m. and I’ve had a long day (took the kids hiking at Montana de Oro this afternoon and then went to the Train & Maroon 5 concert tonight) but I want to get down a few thoughts about the show; specifically the Maroon 5 portion, since that’s the reason I went.

Ima be lazy and roll out the bullet points.

  • I forgot how much it sucks going to a concert at the Mid-State Fair. It sucks. Out loud. On toast. With marmalade. In fact, I now remember, the last time I went to a concert there I swore I’d never be back. I am now putting this in print and publishing it on the Internet as a reminder in case I ever forget again. It is a TERRIBLE venue. Everything from parking to getting in the place to the bathroom situation to the actual seating is just. so. bad. Never again.
  • The quality of the show was excellent. Maroon 5’s lighting is great, I thought they sounded good, their playing was tight and they seemed genuinely happy to be performing. The only complaint there I’d make is the show was too short. I don’t know if it was typical length for them or whether they scale it back a little because of having not just one but two other acts on the bill but I felt like there was so much more they could’ve done. Maybe I’m spoiled by Paul playing three hours every time I’ve seen him.
  • The seats were bad and I was disappointed. Someday I will learn that floor does not automatically equal good seats. As soon as the band comes on every idiot in the place stands up and then no one except the first fifteen rows or so can see. I’m not sure there are any good seats in that place outside the first 15 rows. I’d have been pretty heartbroken if I didn’t have the knowledge that I’ll be seeing them up close in a couple months, because when I did catch glimpses of the guys on stage (in between the heads of the fools standing up in front of me) I couldn’t see their faces and ended up watching a lot on the monitors.
  • Adam was just…..Adam. *sigh* Though in the interest of full disclosure I have to admit that I was expecting more original patter between the songs. He stuck pretty closely to the script of “Are you ready to rock?”/”Do you want more?”/”Louder!” and that ilk. When he did deviate from that and actually talk to us (like he did when introducing “She Will be Loved”) he was utterly engaging and charming. I’m giving him a free pass on this one because this is only the second stop on the tour and maybe that stuff comes easier as time goes along. I’ll be interested to see if it’s any different in Oklahoma City.

So, in summary: I’m glad I went and I’m gladder still that I get to see them again in September. I am absolutely drooling over the thought of getting to see the show again from the sixth row. I have a feeling it’s going to be an entirely different experience. 

What’s Father’s Day without a little guilt?


Father’s Day plans:

1. Mad dash out first thing in a.m. to find scones to put in Dad’s gift along with lime marmalade I special ordered.

(Gift also includes horehound candies and Achmed the Dead Terrorist refrigerator magnet – don’t judge me.)

2. Buzz hubby to San Luis to pick up the one-way rental car he’ll be driving home.

3. Stop at Apple Store to return ridiculously overpriced charger/car radio iPod broadcaster that doesn’t work for crap. Gladness that I am in California where stuff is actually open on Sundays.

4. Come home and sit on keister while Dad cooks magnificent feast: Tri-tip & pork loin on the barbie plus his famous homemade potato salad. Doesn’t seem fair but, hey, it’s not like he’d let me within twenty yards of the ‘que.

5. Eyeball tri-tip at the table and seriously reconsider this whole “not eating beef” thing. Allow for the possibility of weeping openly.

6. Spend a few more hours with, then bid fond farewell to hubby as he points his nose eastward. Boo.

7. Feel guilty that I didn’t do anything special for said hubby, even though he really doesn’t care.

8. End day as most here: watching tv with my mom and the kids. Silver lining found.

Thursday Thirteen


For Thursday here are the first thirteen songs that come up when I put my iPod on shuffle – no skipping any because they’re embarrassing.

  1. P.S. I Love You – The Beatles
  2. Your Mama Don’t Dance – Poison
  3. My Sweet Lord – George Harrison
  4. Cold Turkey – John Lennon
  5. Wild Honey Pie – The Beatles
  6. Always – Bon Jovi
  7. Live and Let Die – Paul McCartney and Wings
  8. Not a Second Time – The Beatles
  9. Mother – John Lennon
  10. Imagine – Drew Harrison
  11. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor (Blame the 7-year-old for this one! I absolve myself of any responsibility.)
  12. Grapefruit Diet – Weird Al Yankovic
  13. Silhouettes – Herman’s Hermits

I expect better from you, Wednesday


Today’s preliminary results:

Calls from body shop saying glass is in: 0

Interesting emails: 0

Letters from college saying ZOMG WE LOVE YOU: 0

Dentists successfully reached to move appointment: 0

Calls from doctor saying ZOMG UR CROAKING/You’re fine, you silly cow: 0

Texts to husband returned: 0

Calls from husband saying cases have been settled and we can now use hundred-dollar bills to light our cigars: 0

If this continues I may be forced to do something drastic to alleviate the boredom.