Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Suburban Dictionary Word of the Day: FLUcation (1)

n: an unplanned day at home with sick kid(s).

Like a Jewish holiday, FLUcations begin the night before. Usually at the stroke of midnight. Ask any mother and she will concur: no vomit comes during daylight hours. (2)

Ingredients for a successful FLUcations: pajamas, a large DVD collection, Clorox wipes and vodka.

Early in our marriage, PCSguy agreed to the title of Vice President of Bear Management and Vomit. So far he's batting 100% on keeping me safe from bears but his vomit percentage is much lower. In fact I'd hazard that PCSguy is out of town on business during 90% of all FLUcations. (3)

Last night, however, PCSguy performed admirably. He may even receive a promotion, possibly to Executive Vice President of Bear Management and Vomit. I don't want the power to go to his head though, so we'll see.

(1)Yes, it's true. ShallowGal is actually ripping off her own post from Monday. Hey judge-y reader, lay-off ! Between the Alamo Bowl going into overtime and sick kids, SG got pretty much no sleep last night. SG was tempted to just type a whole lot of j's and call it a day. Cause in her sleep deprived mind, that's funny stuff.

jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj j jjjjjj jj jjjjjjj (4)

(2)Exception: if you're at a Nordstrom sale. Or First Call at Neiman's. Then they'll throw up at school. Those clinic nurses have no sense of priority.
(3) Like the time I was 8 months pregnant and the basement was being renovated and the water was turned off. Between midnight and 5 am, Noa threw up on every towel and sheet in the house.
(4) Funny and hypnotic. Win / Win

Monday, December 29, 2008

Suburban Dictionary Word of the Day: Blogcation

n: a day trip or short vacation, taken primarily to get out of the house and educate / entertain (1) spawn, but with the added perk of providing blogger with fresh material.

PCSguy: What should we do today?
SG: How about a blogcation to Baltimore.

(alternate definition: a vacation taken from writing one's blog to reflect upon the meaning of it all. See, for example, most of December 2008. )

To pass the time on the 90 minute ride, Eli utilized his new logo recognition skill and pointed out every Honda we saw on 95 North. FYI: A lot of people drive Hondas. Also FYI: the only acceptable response to a 3 year old pointing out a Honda is "wow, you're right. It is a Honda." (2)

Our original destination was the National Aquarium where we proved the age old adage that the amount one pays for an Aquarium membership will be inversely proportional to the collective enthusiasm. To wit: for a $125 annual family membership, the kids would be less interested than they are in the goldfish at the pet store.

But how does she really feel?

Having guilted the posse into enduring a solid 90 minutes of fish (3), we headed next door to the Barnes and Noble where SG could consult a Baltimore travel guide for an idea what to do next. Fodors recommended the Baltimore Public Works museum. PCSguy and SG sold posse on the idea of learning about sewage and walked the three blocks to this:

Naturally the posse can't think of anything
they'd rather do at this point than learn about sewage . . .

We walked a few more blocks to the Civil War Museum which looked like this:

. . . except maybe Baltimore's role in the Civil war.

We eased the pain at Vaccaro's with gelato and cream puffs.

On a whim, on our way home, we followed a sign to Fort McHenry. Now ShallowGal may have many years of advanced education but after ten years of staying home with kids, SG remembered NOTHING about the War of 1812. It is entirely possible that SG forgot there even was a War in 1812.

Posse: Mother, dear. Can you please educate us on the War of 1812?
SG: Something about Canada, maybe? And Napoleon. And it started in 1812. Or maybe it ended in 1812? And that guy who wrote the Nutcracker wrote that piece with the cannon that they play on the fourth of July. You know Da da da da da da dut dut dut. Boom ! Hey look! Cannonballs!
PCSguy: Ten bucks your mom is on Wikipedia within 10 minutes of walking in the door.(4)

Jake is fairly desperate for a souvenir.

Signs were read. Park rangers interrogated. Every square inch of Fort McHenry investigated. Learning ensued.

Three hours later we got back on 95 South, the posse excitedly planning to write reports on Fort McHenry and the War of 1812.

Cannonballs. Who knew? Hey, who cares? The Blogcation was a success.

(1) Or edutainment, next week's suburban dictionary word of the day.
(2)Any other response elicits the following rebuke: "Mommy, Mommy Mommy, Mommy. Say wow, you're right. It is a Honda."

(3) Fish CPM (cost per minute) $1.25
(4) A fairly smart-ass remark for someone who couldn't add any actual information about the War of 1812.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: The Wonder Twin Powers Activate edition

Eli and his cousin taking the form of: Cookie stealing Spidermen! (1)

1) Considering he's actually Eli's step cousin, AND he was adopted, the resemblance is uncanny.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Very Shallow Book Review: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

OK, ShallowGal is going to be honest here. She picked this book for her book club for January because it had a cool cover. And then SG would have given up after only 50 pages except that Marinka called it "the most satisfying reads of the year" on Twitter. And ShallowGal both respects and fears Marinka.

The problem is you aren't immediately sucked in, because it's hard to follow. All the characters have Swedish names. And the places have Swedish names. And they make inside Swedish jokes. And the only thing ShallowGal knows about Sweden is that it isn't in Switzerland. (1)

The book's premise is that Mikael Blomkvist has been hired to solve the 30 year old mystery of the murder of Harriet Vanger. He does so after discovering that in a snapshot taken earlier that day that Harriet wasn't looking at a clown like her friends were, but was looking a tad to the left. And had a funny look on her face. Blomkvist and his research assistant Lisbeth Salanader triangulate the angle, find someone else looking in that direction, figures out who they are by a sticker on their car, tracks them down, and voila ! Mystery solved.

This is where ShallowGal made a text to self connection. Connections are a big part of the second grade language arts curriculum, where you read a book and say hey! I have a little brother just like the main character! Or I once made cookies with my Grandmother!

ShallowGal's text to self connection: I once solved the mystery of Jimmy Carter's mother's secret Jewish past by using an old family photograph.

There's a long story explaining why this photo hangs on SG's wall (2)

If you look close enough, Carter's mother is wearing a Chai necklace, similar to the one shown below.

ShallowGal has the same necklace.
Therefore SG deduces that Lillian was secretly Jewish

Lisbeth would have scanned the family photo into her computer and use photoshop to enlarge the image and do some fancy crap to increase the contrast and get a better view. ShallowGal is just going to hold the picture closer to the built in camera on her MacBook. Then she'll use the annotate feature on preview to draw a red circle around the necklace. Similar results with less work.

This is the computer equivalent of talking louder to someone who doesn't speak English

Part of the problem is we don't know the occasion of this photograph. Lisbeth Salander was a hacker but ShallowGal is just a plain old hack. So rather than break into we'll rely on plain old wikipedia to figure out the timing.

I think we can agree that the couple on the far right are John William (Jack) Carter and his first wife. That would make the toddler with the bowl cut holding Amy's hand Jason James Carter, born Aug. 7, 1975 and the baby Sarah Rosemary Carter, born Dec. 19, 1978.

The baby is somewhere in the 3-6 month range. That puts the photo in the first half of 1979. Just months before the mysterious death of
Bertil Ohlin, Swedish economist, Nobel Prize laureate. This is just keeps getting weirder and weirder.

Ohlin, not surprisingly, also looking slightly to the left.

Carter's other 2 sons are harder to differentiate between. One is James Earl III (Chip) and the other is Donnel Jeffrey (Jeff). SG traced used this family tree to see that Donnell is married to Annette Davis who went to the George Washington University with Colin Powell who was (wait for it) was in Footloose with Kevin Bacon. How has nobody ever discovered this before?

That makes the tot in the short pants James Earl Carter IV, born Feb. 25, 1977. Although this is clearly an important occasion, he's sitting in the chair, looking not at the photographer but at a spot 27 degrees down on the floor. WTF? A toddler not cooperating in a family picture? Clearly the only thing that would have distracted him completely explains Lillian's secret Jewish past.

I've laid out all the evidence, and won't patronize you by spelling out the answer. But man, I did not see that coming.

Bottom Line: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is like a well written Swedish John Grisham novel. With Nelson DeMille's obsession with perverted sex. And some author who writes about Nazis knowledge of Nazis. Who, OMG, would not like Lillian's necklace.

Read it and see what mystery you can solve.

(1) Although SG should practically be an expert since the posse is addicted to ABBA channel 31 on XM Radio
(2)It's a good story that includes Magnum condoms and a 4 foot tall stuffed green dragon. Remind me to tell you sometime.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: The It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas edition

Because it isn't officially Christmas-time around here
until SG starts making daily trips to the pediatrician

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

How to score a hotel upgrade, PCSguy style

Let me make one thing clear, the quest for the free upgrade falls entirely on PCSguy. ShallowGal is thrilled just to be out of the house, and would happily vacation in a cardboard box as long as she was with her loved ones. (1)

Quick free travel lesson: When you redeem Marriott points to stay someplace like a Residence Inn, you have a choice of rooms; for enough extra points you can upgrade from a studio to a 2 bedroom suite. When you use them at a Ritz Carlton, you get a standard room, no view. Consider yourself lucky that you don't get the room with the roll in shower (2)

When we made our reservation at the South Beach Ritz, they asked if we were celebrating any special occasion. PCSguy informed them it was our anniversary. Rule #1: It's always your anniversary. Prove it's not. Who travels with their marriage license? Last year on our "anniversary" the Ritz in Naples upgraded us to a suite and sent us chocolate covered strawberries.

This year, however, we messed up:
Check-in agent: Happy Anniversary. How many years?
PCSguy: Four

ShallowGal: Twenty (3)
Rule #2: Get your story straight before check-in.

Other mis-truths that may or may not have been told during our stay; that ShallowGal is a thoracic surgeon, that we met in Spain while SG was on spring break and PCSguy was on a layover returning from the a stint with the Peace Corp in Iceland.

Rule #3: Thoracic surgery is a good fake career, because nobody really knows what it means, and even if they do, it's not like they're going around asking for help with their esophagus. And thoracic surgeons receive way more respect than stay-at-home moms / bloggers. Go figure.

Our small free upgrade to a standard room with a pool view was much appreciated as both PCSguy and ShallowGal succumbed to a nasty cold. And it rained the entire time. (4) Our faux-anniversary was spent in bed watching a Saved by the Bell (the college years) marathon and eating matzoh ball soup delivered from Jerry's.

And enjoying the pool view. Suckers.

1) Did anyone actually buy that? I thought it was convincing.
2) Until this very second, SG didn't realize it meant roll in, like wheelchair accessible. She thought it meant a bunch of rooms so cheap that they had one shower between them, that they rolled from room to room as needed. Live and learn.
3) Correct answer 12 1/2. The couple checking in behind us also claimed it was their twentieth anniversary. Too late losers, they've heard it before.

4) SG wonders who will be the first to use the word Karma in their comment.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cause a million monkeys with typewriters will eventually type Hamlet

Things that make me think my three year old is secretly a prodigy:

Eli (points to television): Look Mommy. Obama.

SG: Who is Obama?

Eli: Our new President.

Things that make me think my three year old is actually not a secret prodigy:

Eli: (to 17 year old short haired, African American man working the front desk at the ice rink) Are you Obama? (1)

Things seal the deal:
Eli: (pointing to front page of Washington Post ) Look Mommy, it's the man from the ice rink.

1) Also falls under the category "things make me think my kids are really trying to kill me by embarrassment"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Disneyworld Edition

It was a very impressive parade indeed. (1)

1) ShallowGal's photography skills however, are less than impressive, bordering on non-existent.(2) That had the potential to be an awesome picture.
2) Her wordlessness meanwhile is getting way better. And ability to post Wordless Wednesday on an actual Wednesday? A+

Monday, December 8, 2008

Jewish Jeremy

From an actual conversation I had a few months ago. Because once strep throat season is upon us, the only grown-ups ShallowGal gets to talk to in person are pediatricians and pharmacists. And the guy at the liquor store. And nobody wants to hear those conversations.

ShallowGal: How was your trip to Greece?

Neighbor: Amazing. We went with this great group from Randall's school, all nice kids. One in particular, Jeremy. Hey, he's Jewish, maybe you know him.

SG: Jeremy?

Neighbor: Yeah, he keeps kosher so I guess he's probably Jewish. I don't remember where he said he lives but he goes to TJ so somewhere around here.

SG: Oh. Of course. Jewish Jeremy from Northern Virginia. Everyone knows him.

Neighbor: See I figured as much. Nice kid. Wait, are you fucking with me?

SG: Well, yeah. Just cause we're both Jewish doesn't mean. . . . (all of a sudden SG remembers Jake's girlfriend's brother is named Jeremy, keeps kosher and goes to TJ ) Jeremy Kringlehoff? (1)

Neighbor: Yes.

SG: Yeah, I know him. Good kid.

Neighbor: I figured as much. Hey, what's Barbara Streisand like in person?

SG: She's nice. (2)

1) Obviously his name isn't Jeremy Kringlehoff. Nobody is named Jeremy Kringlehoff. Seriously. ShallowGal googled it and nada. So, bonus! SG should,as of tomorrow, be the #1 hit on google for Jeremy Kringlehoff.
2) Ok, maybe she didn't ask that. But it makes for a way better story.
Don't make me have to resort to liquor guy stories.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: The raisin returneth (1)

Raisin watch continues:
Saturday will be the raisin & dashboard's one month anniversary

1) Technically "the raisin stayeth" but dude, it's mostly wordless Wednesday on an actual Wednesday. That's got to count for something.
2) Hopefully Zappos will send something.
3) Let's cut SG some slack here. In the past two days SG has been to the eye doctor (4) the mammogram place (5) and got the tail light fixed in the car (6)
4) Someone needs reading glasses.
5) The girls are just fine, thanks for asking. And the mammogram doesn't hurt at all, people! Hooray for healthy tatas!
6) Why that mechanic didn't just throw away the raisin while he was there is the question we should all be asking.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Zappo-versary to ShallowGal

On November 29th 2007 ShallowGal bought some boots. And just when she thought the day was going to pass by completely without any commemoration, the following e-mail arrived:

One year ago, you ordered the following product from

La Canadienne Blanche - Cherry Crinkle Patent - 8.5/M (B)

We wanted to let you know that right now, your size is still available
from You can order the same product again by visiting:

So now SG is confused. (1) She expected a cake, or maybe some flowers, but instead just got this weird e-mail. Does Zappos think these shoes have already worn out ? (2) Or maybe they think SG has grown another pair of feet? Possibly they want to rub it in that SG has such bizarre taste that a full year later these shoes are nowhere near sold out.

There's only one possible explanation; Zappos is hinting that *I* should buy my boots a birthday present. What on Earth does one buy boots that already have everything? Except maybe some friends.

I know, I know.
I'm just too nice to my shoes.

1) Yes, now.
2) and if so, that she would then order the exact same pair?