December 29, 2012

Top 10 for 2012

Like most of America, I have a cold right now.  Which is the perfect excuse, in my opinion, to do absolutely nothing.  So in place of a real blog post, I am offering my wonderful (Kleenex-clinging) readers a recycled medley of my Top 10 Posts for 2012.

You're welcome!

But first, here is a funny dog picture I found on Pinterest.

#1  Bully Bustin': a guest post

Yep.  My most viewed post of 2012 was actually written by my mom.  (Where do you think I got my general badassery?)  It's about bullying in the workplace.

#2  Sunday Stream of Consciousness

Interestingly, my second most viewed post this year was a hastily written, random one.  A little peek into my (unedited) mind, if you will.  This happens to be the post where I first came out with my nostril fixation. (Thus explaining the post's popularity.  Surely.)

#3  5 Things You Don't Know About Me 

I love when bloggers I like post a Things You Don't Know About Me post.  Humans are weird.  We all have fascinating tidbits that we don't think to share in our daily lives.  (Ooh!  Leave me a comment below sharing some of yours!)

#4  McDonald's Playplace: a good place to catch some Zs

This one's about an eventful trip to McDonald's with my best friend, Shrinky Dink, and our 4 kids. This chick got on my nerves.  I cartoonified it so she shall live in infamy.    

#5  My grandparents: a love story

This post is about my love affair with my grandparents.  It also has a picture of my naked butt.

#6  Ode to my left nostril

This one is when I fully unfurled my freak flag, sharing the fact that I actually Google my nostrils.  It's also when I discovered that my left nostril is famous.  (No autographs, please.)

#7  My kid's a genius. And so is yours.

The definition of success for kids is even more limited than it is for grownups.  In this post, I proposed a new definition.

#8  Farewell Ol' Henry

After driving our old, paid off cars for 34389653 years, we got a new one.  And like siblings, our dogs fought over shotgun.

#9  Farts: a compendium

Ahh, Nature Boy's inaugural post.  Who doesn't think farts are funny?!  (Besides my mother-in-law.)

#10  Tank says: It wasn't me.  

Another dog-centric post, this one is about our adorable (huge)(drooly)(separation anxiety-havin') boxer, Tank.  This month marks one year of sharing a life with the Tankster.  (We adopted him from Boxer Rescue.)  We think he's pretty awesome.

Thanks for a great 2012, y'all!

December 25, 2012

Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Story

Merry Christmas, y'all!  I hope you're having a wonderful time with your families and friends.  And presents.  And pie.

We're having a great holiday here.  I'm really grateful.  But it's cold, man!  It's currently 23 degrees here with a wind chill of 14.  And one of the Homeskool Mafia members stole my purple long johns(!), so I'm one cold mama.

Remember yesterday when I told you about my dwarf phobia and mentioned that the whole Elf on the Shelf thing freaks me out as well?

My grandparents had an Elf of the Shelf when I was little.  I remember waking up and looking for it each morning on the days before Christmas.  I went along with the tradition, I guess, but I was always a little freaked out.  

Who, I ask you, came up with the crazy idea to put creepy mini-Chuckies on our childhood shelves and move them around overnight so that kids think they come alive after bedtime?  HOW SCARY IS THAT?!

You know, our parents and grandparents will probably claim that they did the Elf on the Shelf thing for our benefit.  "It's part of the magic of Christmas," they'd say.

Don't believe 'em.

The real reason our elders tortured us like this is because it was FUN FOR THEM!  They were peeved about getting crappy kid-made macaroni necklaces for Christmas, so they exacted their revenge with Elves on Shelves!

The series of photos below came from our amazing realtor, Debbie.  She really gets into this thing!  And she posts pictures of her little elf family's adventures on Facebook, so the elf-averse are bombarded with creepy elvish scenes on a regular basis this time of year!  I asked her for one picture to use for my blog, and she sent me nine.  Nine!  [Thanks, Debbie (kind of) for the photos!]   

Below is how I imagine Elf on the Shelf life to be.  [All text (both on the photos and off) was added by me, so don't blame poor (elf-obsessed) Debbie.] 


Hi.  I'm Jack.  And this is my story.

This is me in happier times.

Before the whole leg-eating thing happened, we were flying high in first class to our honeymoon destination, when my new bride, Jingle, made a suggestion that should have given me pause.

I thought she was referring to the bodies of the snowmen that would melting on our front lawn after we returned from our trip, but I was to discover that I was horribly mistaken.

My second clue that something was not right was in my wife's choice of honeymoon activities.  

 Our wedding night was one I will never forget.  

Mainly because I came away from it missing my left leg.  

Still, I didn't want to start our marriage on the wrong, er, foot, so I decided to make peace with my "special" bride.

We had a couple of good years.  We partied late into the nights and took a lot of vacations.  I could tell Jingle was giving our marriage her best shot.

Soon, the two of us became three, and I was as happy as a one-legged elf can be.

Jingle's really getting into the wife and mother thing.  She even made us milk and cookies for Christmas this year!

Today is our anniversary, so Jingle prepared us a special lunch!  I can't wait!

[Note from the editor:  It grieves me to inform you that Jack is unable to complete his story.]

[He drank the Kool-Aid.]

The End.

December 24, 2012

So I used to have a dwarf phobia...

True story.

I'm not proud of it.  But I used to be afraid of "little people".*  They creeped me out.  Much like clowns do. And those Elf on the Shelf demons dolls, which are pretty much like dwarven Chuckies as far as I'm concerned.  (More on that tomorrow.)

And I realize how shitty a dwarf phobia sounds.  Imagine, you say, if some skinny dude came up to you and said, "I used to have a fat chick phobia."

I get it.  I really do.

But it doesn't change the fact that I used to freak out (on the inside) when a little person was around.  Why? Did I think he or she might magically disappear and reappear somewhere close to me like a tricksy leprechaun?  Did I think dwarfism was catching?  No.  It was totally an involuntary reaction.

I don't know why I developed a dwarf phobia.  It's not like I was jumped by a posse of mini-thugs.  (Although I did get "freaked on" by a dwarf at a dance club once.  He looked a little like this.)

I watched Time Bandits like every other child of the '80s.  Could my first experience with little people on the big screen have planted the seed?  (And don't get me started on Oompa Loompas.)  There was a tiny female dwarf who was popular with the guys in college (if you know what I mean).  Maybe that (imagined) visual is what did it.  Or maybe it was that episode of The Jerry Springer Show (What?  Meemaw and I loved to watch that show together.) when a guy with no legs scooted after another guy for sleeping with his woman.  He wasn't a dwarf, but he was little (due to the whole no legs thing).  Could that staged spectacle have pushed me over the edge?

No, I'm pretty sure it's when my youngest uncle (only 10 years older than me) sent me a cleverly disguised link to midget porn as a prank.


I am happy to say that I don't have an aversion to little people anymore.

And I owe it all to reality TV.

It all started with a Little People, Big World marathon.  I was recovering from lung surgery and living with Nature Boy in a hotel (while Tree Guy was supervising renovation work on our house to make it more lung-friendly).  All there was to do was watch TV.

The longer I watched that show, the less averse I felt.  The less weird or different they seemed to me.  Then I watched some of The Little Couple.  They were so cute!

The show that really kicked my phobia's butt was Pit Boss.  I love that show!

In fact, don't tell Tree Guy, but I kind of have a crush on Sebastian.    


*To the best of my knowledge, the medical term for a fear of little people is achondroplasiaphobia.   If you do a Google search, you'll also find lollipopguildophobia listed as the name.

I'm pretty sure someone made that one up.

December 21, 2012

Flo the 'fro had to go, but now I'm down wit' the Clown

So you know how I posted that Flo the 'fro was going into retirement due to concerns about offending Black folks and the possibility of having to deal with hateful backlash like the White chick over at Before and Afro? (She recently got her (real) hair did, by the way!)

Well, the feedback I've received since that post has consisted of:

1. Disappointment that Flo is no mo'.  (It's a public no-go fo' Flo.  But will I don her at home?  Fo' sho'.)


2. Indignance that White folks like Michelle at Before and Afro get attacked for wearing a 'fro, but Black folks can wear straight blond wigs with no backlash.  It's a double standard.  (Yeah, I said it.)

Howev, my reasons for not wearing Flo out the do' (that stands for "door", all you Whiteys) has more to do with my desire to accurately represent myself.  I'm not political.  I'm crazy.  I want to have fun, and be audacious, and rap crappily in the 'burbs.  A costume is part of the fun.  When it becomes about politics, it becomes unfun.        

Besides, my alter ago, Ms. Crazy Papers, has had the same 'do for years.  Every girl needs a change now and then, right?

I really like color, so how about some colorful do-rags?

Does this do-rag make me look phat?

Or perhaps something like this.  (I'd merely be emulating my favorite songstress!)

Or, even though clowns creep me out, how about a purple clown wig?  (Clowns are pretty much as White as you can get, so I would only be appropriating clown culture.)

Which Caucasian-appropriate look do you like best?  

Suburban Gypsy?  Frou Frou Diva?  Or Purple Clownstress?  

December 18, 2012

Broke Ass Christmas: a rap

Several of my girlfriends are struggling to afford Christmas presents this year.  Money is tight all around.  I don't know many people who aren't at least a little worried about finances right now.

I know that the real meaning of Christmas has nothing to do with commercialism, but I also know that it's at least as much fun to give as it is to receive.  (So have fun and send me an Ulta giftcard!)

I wrote this rap to commiserate with my fellow broke moms.  And to cheer them up!

Merry Broke Ass Christmas, e'rybody!

December 08, 2012

Drama: ain't saving it for my mama

I haven't been clicking my way through Blogland for a couple months because Nature Boy and I have been BI-ZAY.  We both got roles in a community theater production of Oliver! The Musical, and theater is a jealous mistress.  It involves so many practice sessions that I don't know how people with actual jobs do it!  They must be exhausted.  I can only do it 'cuz Tree Guy's bank-rollin' this operation.  (Thanks, babe.)

I totally get the draw of theater, though.  So many creative folks go through life doing what they have to do to get the bills paid.  Because of time or family or financial constraints, creative expression gets pushed to the bottom of the list.  I admire the people I'm working with.  They are committed to making room in their lives for creativity.  They are making sacrifices to honor the artsy fartsy parts of themselves (and to entertain the public!), and I'm sure it's not easy.  (I'm wo' out, and I'm a lady o' leisure!)

Me, as Mrs. Bedwin

We only have two more shows.  I'm really going to miss these peeps!  Theater is weird in that for two months, we're spending several days a week with former strangers.  Changing next to them in the dressing rooms, zipping up their dresses, complimenting the job they do on stage, talking about our families and hopes and health.  Then BAM!  Everyone goes his or her own way and it's back to reality.  Doing theater is a close-knit, intense, all-for-one-and-one-for-all experience.  It's like friendship bootcamp.  I hope I am able to keep some of the new friends I've made.

I hope Nature Boy stays in touch with his new pals too.  Theater kids gotta stick together!  Because their brand of awesome isn't really appreciated by their peers when they are children.  They have to wait until adulthood to get that recognition from their age mates.  It's hard.

Nature Boy, as The Artful Dodger

I've learned three major truths by doing this, my first musical in 24 years.  Prepare yourself for this wisdom I'm about to lay down:

#1 - People are basically good.  (And theater people are basically AWESOME.)  
It's okay to open yourself up to new friendships and experiences.  It helps you grow.  And it has major fun potential!  As my regular readers know, I like to say that I tend toward paranoia.  (For real.)  Doing community theater has been a sort of exposure therapy for me.  And I love the results.

#2 - It's possible to overcome stage fright.  

I've written before about my fear of performing in public.  Doing this show has been exposure therapy for that as well.  I can now walk out on stage in front of a theater full of people and belt it.  No tinny, wavering voice.  No 'stache-area sweating.  No backing out.  This has been a lifelong fear, and I am conquering it.  I'm proud of myself, y'all.

#3 - I'm nearing 40, and there's still so much to learn.  (Yay!)

I love learning.  It's exciting to get involved in something new and discover fresh avenues to explore.  I've learned how to project my voice, that even mid-1850's housekeepers need supportive bras, that menthol cough drops right before a solo really help open the throat, that theater kids really need the support of the adults in their lives, that baked goods are always welcome in the Green Room, that stage acting is not the same as film acting (it's more exaggerated), that defining one's brows makes a world of difference, that a bit of brushable hairspray is my friend, and that people in my real life think I'm nice.  (Aww!)          

What do you do to exercise your creativity?  When was the last time you tried something new? 

December 05, 2012

White chick + Afro wig = Racist

DANG, y'all.

Apparently, wearing an Afro wig as my (crappily) rapping alter ego, Ms. Crazy Papers, is racist.

That is, according to the majority of the commentors at Before and Afro.  It has to do with the appearance of caricaturing Black features and appropriating racial traits that aren't ours (as White folks) to possess.

Or something like that.

Like the blog author, I view wearing my 'fro wig as an expression of what I really like about Black culture. The attitude, the sass, the unapologetic, Here I am!

Unlike the blog author, I live in the White Capital of the World, so the fact that so many Black people find a White woman wearing an Afro wig offensive has never come up.

As I've written before, I grew up in racially mixed areas.  We moved a lot and in a couple schools I attended, Whites were the minority.  And I always felt comfortable.  That I belonged there.  I was accepted.  I wasn't prejudiced; I was "real"; I could sing, and I was "thick".

In other words, I was down.  (Check out my white girl "fade".)

And I still feel that way.

But I probably don't appear down to folks, since I've been living a very suburban lifestyle in a very Caucasian part of the country for many years.

This cultural juxtaposition is amusing to my White friends, something that I occasionally play up by wearing an Afro wig.  I really didn't know that it was a faux pas.  An incidence of cultural vampirism.  That wearing an Afro wig as a White woman was, in fact, evidence that I was not as down as I had thought.


Other than taking Nature Boy and his friends trick or treating in our subdivision last year, I'd never worn my 'fro wig anywhere but at home.  This Halloween, I impulsively vowed on Facebook to wear my 'fro all day.  In the car.  To a jewelry store.  To that bastion of Whiteness, the "country Walmart".

And I was surprised to find that I was really uncomfortable.

For the first time, wearing my wig felt wrong.  I felt like I was misrepresenting myself as a racist.  To the people who know me, who've called me "the blackest white person" they know, the wig was funny and appropriate.  It was an outward representation of  the inner me.  But to people who don't know me, it most likely appeared that I was making fun of Black people.

That was already on my mind before reading the blog post (and the resulting angry comments) at Before and Afro.  Since I am now aware of the offense, Flo the 'fro is going into retirement.

"What?" you say.  "No mo' Flo?!"

I know.

But you know what?

I'm bad enough without her.