Thursday, December 22, 2011


I moved. Yesterday I said I was moving? I moved.

Here's where I work now:


View of the office from my seat. It's a jungle and I'm invisible. RIGHT??

The view out the window. Collegiate, yes?

The cubicle is large. And open. Very open. But my back is to a wall, and I'm in the corner of the suite, so there's that. Here's my building. The big dark blue part in the middle is the lobby. 120 is the Admissions Office. 140, 150, 160 are different departments. I moved from the 160 suite to the 150:
 So. That's what's going on with me. It's all very dramatic, I know.

And how's your week going?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I'm being downgraded.

I work in an office. It's an office suite at a university, in the administration building. My own private office has a window. And a door. A door I can shut whenever I want to:


I'm being moved from my office to a...a cubicle. In the suite next door. It's a long boring story but it's happening. I'm supposed to be out this week. All my belongings are in boxes around me and my phone line has already been transferred to the cubicle. But my computer is still here and I can't quite bring myself to unplug it and take it next door.

Here's my office as it stands now:

Yes, that is supposed to read "product," not "produce." No, I am not going back into Photoshop to fix it.

Honestly I've kind of been looking forward to this move on some levels. A change of scenery, a new outlook. I'm getting some new job duties along with it and I'm excited about those (it's not an actual demotion or anything, just a physical move). I'll have better front-office support in my new location and won't have to worry about things like (blech) speaking to university students and answering phones (OK look, if I'm being totally honest, I don't really do this stuff's possible if you call this office when I'm the only one here your call will go to voicemail.* I'm trusting you guys not to rat me out on that one, ok? But, you know, in spite of my pretty consistent failure to perform, there's still some weird and persistent expectation that I might actually answer phones when pressed to do so...people are constantly telling me things like "I'm going to lunch, you're covering," as if they've never even met me. So I feel I must be covert in my determination to avoid the ringing phones at all costs, and that pressure will be gone, which will be a relief).

And the cubicle isn't terrible, as cubicles go. It's ginormous. It also has a large window, 3 windows south of my current window, so basically the same view. It's in a suite with people I work with and like. And it's not like I'm doing anything weird in my office that I can't do in a cubicle. I mean, I don't strip down and take naps under the desk or anything, even when the door is shut. Usually.*

But I worked a lot of hard years to earn this office, to battle my way from cubicle hell to office paradise. I don't like to answer phones now because I was the phone-answerer forever before I was promoted into my current position. I've paid my dues. I love my office. So it's kind of a cruel irony that staying in my fancy office means I would have to continue pretending to care about the phones, and moving to a horrible open cubicle means I wouldn't have to worry about them anymore. Where's the logic in that?

Not that I have a choice. I'm moving.

So this is possibly my last post from my office, you guys.

I know what you're thinking. How am I going to blog at work when I'm in a cubicle?? Well, don't worry. My monitor has a privacy screen, and I'll arrange myself in that cubicle so nobody can sneak up on me. Plus, of course, I NEVER BLOG AT WORK! Come on, you guys. Only on my lunch break. Seriously.

Speaking of lunch breaks, mine is almost here* over.  Gotta go.

*If my boss is reading this...I'm joking! About everything. Absolutely everything you read here is a joke. I LOVE MY JOB AND MY NEW CUBICLE AND I WORK VERY, VERY HARD WITHOUT CEASING.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Things I want to make Angela say out loud: Stateside edition

I know, I've been M.I.A. for far too long. Here are my excuses: I'm sick. My kid got me sick. The little one. The one who pushes his snotty little face up against mine and demands kisses. And like a sucker I comply. And then I get sick.

Before I got sick, I was unplugged for awhile because Angela (you remember Angela, don't you?) was here! She flew all the way from Australia to be with me (ok, and her family or whatever, but mostly ME) for the holidays! So I was busy last week packing a year's worth of fun, memories, and stupid inside jokes into FIVE. AMAZING. DAYS. And I think we did a pretty good job, because we're awesome like that.

She has friends all over the state so she did a tour of California (it takes some time, east coasters!), but obviously I'm the greatest and most important of all her friends so I got a whole week of her time before she headed to the Bay Area where her parents live. Now she's with her family for Christmas, and she goes back Down Under on the 27th (let me know if you need flight numbers or anything, stalkers).

She brought my children many presents, including some book about a wombat or something. No, it's not a wombat, it's a possum. She threatened to bring some Australian "childhood classic" called Wombat Stew wherein a number of animals posing as friendly neighbors gang up and poison a wombat or something.

OK wait...I just read the Amazon description and it actually sounds quite lovely and cute. What is wrong with you, Angela? Why did you tell me these animals were ganging up to poison the wombat when they were actually saving him? I worry about you, I really do.

Well, possibly she's been traumatized by my reaction to the book she bought my child years ago, "Love You Forever" (creepiest. book. ever.), and is terrified to bring anything even hinting of controversy into my home. Wise move. So the one she brought is not Wombat Stew, it's actually about a possum. Possum Magic. It's a cute story. And I guess a slightly more normal animal; we have possums here.  Or are they opossums? I really don't know. Or care. Moving on.

So now my daughter is fully educated regarding the wildlife of Australia. Wombats, possums, kangaroos, koalas, emus, kookaburras, tasmanian devils (evidently they don't actually spin around like tornadoes), dingoes (don't worry, I warned her that they eat babies).

Sugar gliders look terrifying. Also? An echidna looks suspicously like a porcupine.

Yeah. Apparently that's a wombat. Some kind of furry pig? I don't know. It doesn't look particularly appetizing to me.
Angela also brought my 5-year-old...a boomerang. A "Genuine Australian Returning Boomerang."

"Guarantee to return...when thrown correctly." 
It's winter here (not like in backwards Australia, where it's inexplicably summer), so we haven't actually ventured outside to attempt to "throw correctly" this boomerang. I'll let you know how that goes, though. Possibly one or both of my children are about to die. I don't trust inanimate objects that come back to you when you throw them.

So. It's been awhile since I did "Things I want to make Angela say out loud," right? I think it's about time for another installment.

We'll call this the Stateside Edition. Don't worry, Aussies (Roz, Lizzie, Triona, I'm talking to you. I know you're reading this, because I am an international phenomenon) (Yes, I know Triona isn't an Aussie but whatever. If you want me to think of you as Irish you may need to come visit me and prove your Irishness. It'll be fun! I bake!). Maybe I'll do another Aussie edition for you after she returns.

If she returns. I'm still holding out hope that she'll change her mind and stay, frankly.


Things I want to make Angela say out loud, stateside edition:

(With feeling, please, Ang. And I realize your tradition is to read this to your housemates and they're not around right now, so you can read to your mom or somebody. Just read it out loud. Humor me.)

  1. Australia sucks. I'm staying right here. 
  2. You know what? American peanut butter is SO MUCH BETTER than that junk they sell in Australia. I LOVE American peanut butter. I think I'll just stay home and eat it for the rest of my life.*
  3. Hey, girl. You want a toothpick?**
  4. I've lived in Australia for two years of my life and I still cannot even come close to faking an Australian accent. Obviously I'm a failure and there's no point to living there anymore. Guess I'll just stay home.
  5. Ryan Gosling? Is he that guy from The Notebook? Yeah, he's not really my type.
  6. There are no Chili's fried cheese sticks in Australia. LAME. I'm staying in the good old U.S. of A. where they know how to do appetizers.
  8. I'm totally planning to bring a bomb on the plane back to Australia, so they should probably just put me on the no-fly list now and save everybody a lot of trouble. Yeah I said it. BOMB. On a PLANE. Bomb ba bomb bomb bomb! Seriously. No-fly list. I belong on it.

*You guys, she still totally hates peanut butter. That's why it's still funny
**This one is probably only funny to me. I'm ok with that.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Today I'm over at The Smartness earning some cred as a guest gangsta. Yeah, that's right.

Click over to read some of the dark confessions that I just couldn't bring myself to share with you here. And while you're there, give some love to Moxie, the original gangsta who's welcomed me to her crib (do gangstas still say crib? Did they ever say crib?).

I'm still not sure why Moxie thinks I'm cool.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Simmer down. Elf acquired.

OK, you can all RELAX. I know, this has been weighing on your mind all weekend: are Alyssa's children being tormented by Gnarles the Zombie Baby Elf?? Well, they weren't. Calm down.

Grandma pulled through and discovered an Elf on our doorstep when she dropped by to bring us some cookies (seriously. She brought us cookies. She would be exactly like a cartoon Grandma, except that her husband baked them. Also they were leftover Halloween sugar cookies, mushed up to disguise the fact that they were meant to be pumpkins. So they were basically orange smoosh cookies).

Our Elf is named Jacob. The Princess tried to play it cool at first, like, eh, maybe he's a real Elf, maybe he's not, but then when she slept and he MOVED?! Totally. Convinced. "Oh, Jacob," she gushed when she discovered him swinging from the kitchen chandelier Saturday morning. "I just knew you were a real Elf! How did you get up there, you crazy Elf?!"

Jacob had brought with him a "make your own snowman ornament" craft kit, so we set about making our own snowman ornaments. We decided this was probably Jacob's way of telling us it was time to take down the Halloween decorations and put up some Christmas cheer, so we did just that.

Daddy heroically risked serious injury or death hanging lights on our very tall new house, climbing a ladder much higher than any he has climbed before. We discovered after he was done that the ladder has a 200 lb. weight limit. tHe O.G. is a little closer to, say, 235. But he lived! It's a Christmas miracle! And the house looks fabulous!

Actually the house looks a little out of place, because we find ourselves living in a very, very nice neighborhood (as in, we're the only renters on the block, yo) and apparently there's an unspoken rule in very, very nice neighborhoods that you decorate with white lights only. tHe O.G. doesn't hang white lights. He just doesn't. That's not how tHe O.G. rolls. So there's our very, very nice (did I mention tall?) house in our very, very nice new neighborhood, enthusiastically draped corner to corner in furiously bright multicolored, blindingly, dazzlingly multicolored LED lights.

And the neighbors' houses in their demure and elegant white-lighted glory look down on us with dismay.

And we're cool with that.

Santa likes color, y'all. Everybody knows this.

Sunday morning we found Jacob the Elf had rather unwisely positioned himself on the playroom floor surrounded by blocks. After the Monster gleefully destroyed all of Jacob's towers and castles, he set his sights on the Elf himself, and I was forced to intervene. Now, if you're familiar with Elf on the Shelf lore, you know that touching the Elf is strictly verboten.

The Princess was torn: surely we should not move the Elf from his chosen resting place. On the other hand, would Jacob prefer a quick move to safety, or being chewed on by her Monster of a baby brother? So we opted for a quick, frantic, hot-potato move to safety, chanting "I'm sorry Jacob, I'm sorry Jacob, I'm sorry Jacob" all the way to the top of the refrigerator. We then informed Jacob that he needed to find higher resting spots from now on. This could be challenging. For Jacob.

This morning we found Jacob perched atop a speaker on the wall, clutching a tube of glitter glue. He'd added some bling to the big "Merry Christmas" sign the Princess had made to hang above the fireplace. Oh, that Jacob.

Friday, December 2, 2011

If I Only had an Elf

If you're new here (yay!), you might want to familiarize yourself with the Elf on the Shelf saga here and here. Or don't! I don't care. I mean honestly it's an incredibly stupid story, so you probably don't want to waste your time. You can just pick up here if you like. Or go read something less stupid.

Some of my readers aren't familiar with Elf on the Shelf. I wasn't either, until very recently, so allow me to introduce him to you.

You should definitely start where I did, with Periwinkle Papillon's video, The Beauty & the Agony of Elf on the Shelf. Go on and watch, it's quick and hilarious; we'll wait.

See, the idea is, the Elf hangs out in your house, disguised as a creepy stalker delightful toy, observing your children. Then as soon as they fall asleep, he comes to life and flies straight to the North Pole to tattle to the big guy! So you'd better be good!

He flies back and spends the rest of the night amusing himself in your home, but when the kids wake up, he turns back into a toy--right in the middle of whatever he was doing! And so the kids leap out of bed with joy and no grumbling and go searching for the Elf.

Here are some photos from Pinterest of Elves in action:

He's a literary Elf.

He's a game night Elf.

He's an arty Elf.

He's a lady's man Elf.

He's a mischievous Elf.

He's a fishing Elf.
Most notably, he's not a Zombie Elf.

Many of you on Twitter have taken up the cause, retweeting and crying out for somebody to send me an Elf and deliver my children from the threat of A Very Gnarly Christmas.

We're expecting delivery of our own Elf any day now. We didn't order one or anything, I just have faith in holiday miracles. And Grandma.

If you don't have a mom like this, I'm truly sorry. But you can order your own Elf on the Shelf through Amazon, and if you use my Amazon Affiliate link I might earn half a penny or so on your purchase!  WIN-WIN!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Desperate, Elfless times

Yesterday I told you how I desperately  need an Elf on the Shelf to keep my kids in line spread holiday magic throughout my house.

These elves are incredibly creepy:

"Hey, girl."

But as you know, I kind of dig creepy. And Christmas. So Christmas creepy is right up my alley.

Knowing this about me, @MotherhoodTruth suggested the possibility of locating a Zombie Elf.

Naturally I thought of Gnarles, who is really wasted packed up in the Halloween box all year when he could be spreading his special brand of cheer year-round.

What do you think?

You better watch out. You better not cry.

The possibilities are endless. He's nothing if not versatile:

Hippity, Hoppity.

Folks, Christmas is drawing ever nearer, and not an Elf in sight. These are desperate times, and I'm not above resorting to desperate measures. Gnarles would be thrilled to come out of the shed and hide in my children's rooms and dreams. Don't think I won't do it.

Somebody send me an Elf, or this might become reality.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Somewhere there's an orphaned Elf looking for me.

OK. I warned you, in my Halloween post, that my Halloween obsession was nothing next to my Christmas mania. I. Love. Christmas.


You guys? It's Christmastime. It is! Thanksgiving is over and it's Christmas!

Last month I entered (ok, I obsessively entered every. single. day) a contest over at Periwinkle Papillon to win an Elf on the Shelf.  Now. I had never heard of an Elf on the Shelf before. I had fully enjoyed my holidays for 30 years now without an Elf. But now that I'm aware this magic little creature exists, I need one.

Sara at Periwinkle Papillon foolishly allowed multiple entries to her contest, and I called her bluff. I've done the math (shocking, I know) and my entries totaled 28% of ALL TOTAL ENTRIES. I should have won that thing.

Here's a small sampling of my 17 entry comments:

It begins.

Don't think I won't.

This right here had to be what killed it for me. Stupid!

Did you miss me? 

Why is the universe conspiring to keep me from my rightful Elf?? WHY??

Through it all, I felt Sara had my back. She wanted me to win this Elf, I really think she did.

I'm a prophet. I really am. Pretty sure the girl who won really DID only enter once.


Alas. I did not win. Sara recognized my passion and dedication and expressed her remorse that I hadn't won, but apparently she was not remorseful enough to fix the contest and give me my Elf. Whatever.

So here I am. November 30, and no Elf. I don't even know how I'm going to make it  my kids are going to make it 26 days without an Elf watching their every move and threatening to tell Santa when they whine. Like I can be bothered to discipline them?! Please! I have Christmas movies to watch! Plus, why would I want to be the bad guy? That's why we have Santa. And Elves.

So I've been whining about how badly I want an Elf, but how I don't want to actually pay for one (where's the fun in that?) and then Twitter brought me this:

Elves from Catie. 
Pros: it's an Elf! It's cheaper than Elf on the Shelf. And it supports a good cause.
Cons: Less creepy.

So. In conclusion: who wants to send me my kids an Elf? I don't even need the book, you guys. I'm a writer. I can make up my own story. I just need a seriously creepy Elf to scare my children half to death and instill in them the holiday spirit. Is that so much to ask?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Save Our Sam

Remember Sam?

This is Sam. He's adorable and people love him and he has cancer. No fair.

If you haven't read the story, you should. Sam was brought into this world and into the arms of his loving parents through a gestational surrogate, JW Moxie who blogs at The Smartness. Now he's been diagnosed with leukemia (no fair), and Moxie is going all out to rally the troops in his support. Please take a moment to visit the Save Our Sam website and find out how you can help, even if it's just to leave a note of encouragement for Sam and his family. And please, keep praying!

How to help:

To send love from afar, sign up for SOS Care Mail and give little Sam something to look forward to and distract him from the yuckiness. He's a kid, you guys! Kids love mail and presents! And kids with cancer need stuff they love coming at them every day.

If you're in the Savannah area (I'm totally not, but maybe you are?), show some local love.

If you make stuff and sell it, or if you have the talent to make stuff that people might potentially want to buy, or you know someone who does, and you and/or your friend like self-promotion, brand exposure, saving lives, and good karma, consider joining the SOS Online Store.

Visit Sam's Caring Bridge site and leave a note for Sam and his family. They read them and they love them.

And of course, follow Save our Sam to keep updated on other ways you can help. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Twilight. I Love it. Also, I hate it. But man do I love it.

I think the Twilight series is awful. It's a terrible example of how to be a woman, of how to love a man, of how to live your life. Worse, it's poorly written. It's full of plot holes and angst and purple prose. The movies are poorly acted, poorly directed, and somehow even more poorly written than the books. They turn Robert Pattinson, a beautiful, charismatic man in other contexts, into somebody I want to punch in the face.

I fully intend to go see Breaking Dawn: Part I as soon as possible.

I'll do this in spite of all the awful reviews. I expect awful reviews. I believe the awful reviews, and anticipate that I will agree with them wholeheartedly. But I'll put down my $10 to see it anyway.

Because I love Twilight.

No, you don't have to "love it or hate it," as seems to be the popular opinion. I do both, simultaneously, and enthusiastically. As do all my most awesome friends. YES, I recognize the pure awfulness of it. But you know what?

I have a sense of humor.

You know what else I enjoy? Plan 9 From Outer Space. "The Bachelor." Harlequin romance novels (yeah, that's right). Quentin Tarantino movies. Maple donuts. "Family Guy." Also? Pride and PrejudiceMcSweeney's Internet Tendency. Shakespeare (seriously). The Bible. T.S. Eliot. Jack Kerouac. Edith Wharton. Hemingway.

I'm a smart chick. I have a college degree. Magna cum laude, y'all. It's even in literature. When asked to list my favorite authors I'll give you names like Marilynne Robinson, William Faulkner, Dave Eggers, and Toni Morrison, and I won't be posing. They really are my favorites. When asked what I'm doing this weekend, I'll tell you I'm going to see Breaking Dawn: Part I, and I am stoked.

Here's a text message from Ashley (I know, it's been awhile, and it's not even Tuesday):

Why do people have such a hard time accepting this whole franchise for what it is? Bella IS sad sullen and wincing. Why should she be anything else? Why does every heroine have to be the cookie cutter strong independent feminist? That's not real life. And speaking of which, neither is any other aspect of this story! So why does it have to model marriage and love? If it did, it wouldn't be Twilight. If we all wanted to see accurate portrayals of family and marriage, we'd just stay home and stare at each other.

Will I see you at the cinema?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Rainbows and Unicorns: The best. Party. Ever.

So, the lovely Ilana over at Mommy Shorts is wondering if it's possible to have a themed birthday party without selling your soul to Elmo. Whether it's possible to dive headfirst into themed birthday goodness and still be awesome. I'm here to tell her it is.

The Princess has had birthday parties featuring Blue's Clues, Tinkerbell, and Fancy Nancy. I've featured some of those cakes in a past post (that post also, weirdly, features Ilana and Mommy Shorts. I don't only blog about her, I promise. That would be creepy, right? Ilana? Would that creep you out? It would, right? OK I'll find another topic). 

Today I'm going to share with you the greatest little girl party theme of all time: Unicorns and Rainbows.

I'm starting with the best part: rainbow cupcakes.
Those are sour Airheads, if you were wondering (you know you were). Simple, adorable

Unicorns. And rainbows.

Rainbow gumdrops.

Unicorn coloring table. I just Googled "unicorn coloring pages" and printed out a bunch.
I do this for pretty much every single birthday party I throw.
Cheapest craft project ever and the kids love it.

The birthday girl and her BFF.

Eating jelly beans! And coloring! And eating jelly beans!
(Also? Did I mention? JELLY BEANS!)
(It's common knowledge that unicorns love jelly beans.)

The cupcakes on their stand. Should have probably dressed up the stand a little.

A little free play time.

"See? This is the unicorn's horn. You throw the ring on the horn."

That's one way to do it.

Pin the horn on the unicorn party game. Bought it at Oriental Trading, I believe.

I won't name names, but #7 cheated.

Present time!

New skirt from Ashley. Handmade, of course. But hey, I'm no slouch myself!
I made that Unicorn ring toss, OK?  I found a picture I liked online and used a projector to blow it up and trace it on butcher paper, glued the paper to cardboard, and painted in the colors. Then I cut it out and taped a wooden dowel to the back (all the way up the horn for reinforcement). The dowel is then shoved into a styrofoam block which is in turn shoved into a Christmas tree stand.
I know. Brilliant.

My husband made the t-shirt. It's an iron-on transfer. The kind made for dark fabric.
He found the rainbow and unicorn separately and Photoshopped them together for the perfect image.
He then meticulously cut that image out with an Xacto knife. I know.
She still wears it constantly.

To whomever bought her this game (yes I've forgotten, this was MONTHS ago, ok?), she loves it.
She really does.
I'm the one who isn't a fan. But I play it anyway.
Because I'm an awesome mother.

(An even more awesome mother would have covered that Christmas tree stand with something pretty.)

(Oh, you knew it was coming.)

I wish this one still had the candy rainbow on top, it's such a great photo otherwise.

Oh, go on and hit your "Pin It" button. You know you want to.