Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring Break

Guess where the Shallow family is going for Spring Break. Seriously, guess.

Wrong. Here's a hint.

Your hint is that this particular bookstore carries
ZERO guidebooks about my destination.

Tomorrow at 4 am, the entire Shallow family will head off to the airport for the 5 hour flight to Panama, followed by a 2 hour flight to Managua followed by a 3 hour drive to fulfill my almost sixteen-month-long dream of going to Nicaragua.

I'm taking 3 kids to a place that they aren't writing guidebooks about yet. Yes, I know it's the second poorest country in the Americas. Yes, Nicaragua has active volcanoes, earthquakes and malaria. Trust me, my mother googled it all.

But it also has this.

And this

and this.

So I think we'll be just fine.

I won't be blogging while I'm gone. I'm going dark. (1) And sorry, Servant of the Most High. I'll be turning off comments while I'm gone. Go spam someone else.

1) I wish I could say it's because I want to completely focus on the kids, but honestly I just doubt there's wifi in Nicaragua. Also this way the dog sitter won't download porn on the kids computer. (2)
2) I know it was you Al, and I'm over it. Just don't do it again.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I went to 3 birthday parties this weekend and all I got was these 2 lousy pictures.

I really don't want to drop names (BOSSY!) but I had the most fabulous weekend (VUBOQ!) and got to hang out with the coolest people (DAVID!)

And I have the photographic evidence to prove it.

Here I have lined my drinks up shortest to tallest.
Trust me, it was
really funny at the time. (1)

I took this one on the way home
because apparently I'm a tourist.

Satisfied? No wait! Really! I was there! Here let's look at some, ahem, borrowed pictures of the festivities.

How adorable is the birthday boy? Answer: very!

Here Bossy is either warning me to stay away from her gays
or begging me to be her roommate at Mom 2.0 next year.

Possibly both at the same time, there was a lot of whiskey involved.

There's my husband standing next to David
while David auditions for a beer commercial.

The guy on the left is VUBOQs uber-awesome brother, who needs to come back to DC cause I have the greatest woman to introduce to him.

This weekend was also Jake's twelfth birthday. (2) There are zero pictures of that because his party included girls and I spent the whole party acting like I wasn't eavesdropping and I suck at multi-tasking. Being the stud his father is raising him to be, Jake sat at the movie between his girlfriend and his ex-girlfriend.

Too bad Larry didn't answer the pay phone over at the Regal Beagle cause Jake really could have used his help.

Our third birthday party was for the kids skating coach and can you even imagine the hell to pay if I told you I took dozens of pictures of that one?

1) Honestly, is there anything more annoying than people talking about things that were funny when they were drunk?
2) But his social media skills suck, so he gets second billing.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

His Jewish preschool is going to be pissed
but Eli is taking no chances of his sister pinching him

Monday, March 15, 2010

Who's on first?

Eli: I know this song. It's Eye of the Tiger.

Me: No it's (pauses, listens) I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.

Eli: What are you looking for?

Me: No, that's the name of the song.

Eli: What's the name of the song?

Me: I still haven't found what I'm looking for.

Eli: (Deep sigh) Fine. I'll help you look after Eye of the Tiger is over.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Years ago, Self Magazine (1) used to run a feature where they'd stop a random woman at the grocery store check-out lane and evaluate the nutritional value for everything she bought. I figured my odds of getting chosen were probably a solid 50 / 50 so for years I'd put all the healthy stuff first and then when the cashier started bagging, and I figured no reporter was going to pop out, I'd pick up the little lane divider and claim the junk as my own.

And even today, I still always look at my groceries and wonder:

What would Self Magazine Say? (2)

I figure the interview would go something like this:

Self Magazine: A gallon of low fat organic milk and whole wheat bread with no high fructose corn syrup. That's a pretty good start.

ShallowGal: Thanks. We only drink about a gallon a week, so it's not a big deal to buy it organic. And I read the low fat allows you to absorb more calcium than skim milk.

Self Magazine: Berries, carrots and broccoli. Not bad. The berries are one of the things you should buy organic. And you could stand some more dark greens.

ShallowGal: I know. When the weather gets nicer and I can go to the farmer's market, I will. And Millie just brought me a cantaloupe and some red peppers so I didn't need too much more produce.

Self Magazine
: OK, not a big deal, you don't need to get all defensive, this is just a friendly little page filler. So here, the four pounds of chicken is fine,if not a little ambitious, but you know to limit red meat to once a week right? And fish. You should be eating fish four times a week.

: Gag.

Self Magazine: Holy cereal batman! What was there, a sale?

ShallowGal: Yes.

Self Magazine: Pretty. It's nice to treat yourself to something non caloric sometimes.

ShallowGal: Yes, non caloric treats. Exactly what I was thinking when I bought them.

Self Magazine : Oh yeah, we heard about this. So where's the rest of the wine?

ShallowGal: Just the one bottle.

Self Magazine
: So you don't mind if we go look in the car?

: No, go right ahe. . .Stop! Wait. . . fine. There's 3 more bottles in the car.

Self Magazine: Three more?

ShallowGal: Five. You get a ten percent discount for buying six.

Self Magazine: And those baby bottle nipples on top of the cookbook. Are those from the foster baby you had here the first week in January? It's mid-March! How often do you clean this kitchen?

Self Magazine: Lunchables! Lordy, is this a joke? They're filled with sodium and nitrates! How long would it take to just make a sandwich anyway? And there's a rumor you call them DINNERABLES. I knew you were full of shit with all that chicken. What do you do all day, that come 5 o'clock all you have the energy left to do is pull off a plastic cover?

ShallowGal: Actually the kids can do that themselves.

Self Magazine: Wow, all that pretend turkey makes you snarky. And what's the deal with the toaster? Everytime we see a picture it's a different one. I've never met anyone who cycles thru toasters and dishwashers this quickly. What exactly goes on in here?

I think we all see now why that particular feature ended.

1) Maybe they still do, my subscription ran out. Hint hint Self Magazine!
2) Get it? WWSMS.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


As far as I'm concerned, there are basically two categories of notes that kids bring home from school. The first informs you of a classroom lice infestation (1) and the second warns of an impending award ceremony. In my house, both kinds of notes are viewed with equal terror.

Maybe it's ADHD in me, but sitting through any kind of school assembly bores me to tears. (2) There's just not enough drama. (3) If I were the principal, I'd totally arrange for someone to propose or get a Harley delivered during the event de jour. Now that's entertainment.

So last week when Jake brought home a notice about a ceremony for Reflections winners, it was headed straight to the recycling bin. (3.5) Then I noticed a small handwritten note on the bottom.

"Jake will be receiving a special award."

Like I'm falling for that. Not my first rodeo, nice PTA volunteer. If I were to ever redesign my blog, my tag line would be "avoiding all school functions since 1998." I sent the nice PTA volunteer an email:

"We're so proud of Jake and excited for him to receive his award. Unfortunately, we have some other commitments for that afternoon. (4) Before we rearrange our plans, can you please specify if Jake has won a special award or a "special award?" Thanks so much.

Within a few minutes we had received the following response:

"Jake will be receiving a special award."

I'm pretty sure she's playing with my head because NOBODY is that dense.

Because even more than the boredom factor, I object to the whole pretend award aspect. I'm cool with giving the kid who showed up at every swim meet but never scored any points a little trophy. But back in 2005 when we went on a Disney cruise, Jake got a diploma for "graduating" cruise ship camp.

Hence my suspicion of "special awards."

Thanks to BillyBear4Kids pretty much anyone can be special.
Although in this case, "special" refers to the upside-down monkey

I asked Jake how important my attendance was to him. He explained that he knew that he hadn't won a first, second or third place award as those had already been announced. But maybe like in Toddlers and Tiaras (5), he was excluded from those because he was being pulled for a higher award. You know, like Grand Poem Supreme. Also there was going to be cake. So I went.

Of the 53 kids who entered this year's reflections contest in Jake's school: 8 first places, 12 second places, 9 third places, 23 honorable mentions.

And one special award.

We still aren't entirely sure what this award signifies but I suspect it's
PTA code for "trick that poor kid's mother into showing up."

1) Lice notes will be covered in an upcoming blog post, and integrated so craftily that you'll say "Oh THAT'S where she was going with it." Or not. I'm unpredictable that way.
2) And I do mean
any kind. I sat out a large portion of my own law school graduation.
3) Exception: any ceremony involving Noa contains
plenty of drama.
3.5) I may be a crappy mother but at least I recycle.
4) Not a lie! On this particular Friday, I had both the season finale of Real Housewives of Orange County and the season premiere of Real Housewives of New York on tivo.

5) Ahh Toddlers and Tiaras. Offensive and creepy, but entertaining.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Begin with the end in mind

First off, thank you so much for the incredibly warm welcome back. I wish I could thank each of you personally, and honestly, since there were only a dozen comments I probably could, but I don't want to set that kind of precedent. What if I hit the big time? It would be like the blogging equivalent of driving you all to the airport. (1) Begin with the end in mind, I always say. (2)

But seriously, thank you. You all were way too kind. (3) Had I known, I would have stopped blogging years ago.

Blogging after a hiatus presents unique challenges. So much happened during my unfortunate incarceration that it's hard to decide what to write about first. We weathered three blizzards. I had a mammogram with a suspicious, but ultimately benign, mass. There were enough earthquakes to make us wonder about the end of days. My kids took TEN snow days, making the end of days look like a pipe dream (4)

Of course, there were good times too. A family vacation in Mexico. A coaster bonanza in Orlando. Eli turned five. We snuggled with a newborn foster baby and hung out with an about-to-be adopted teenager.

But one image stands out from all others. One life-changing, brief glimpse of something that makes one wonder: What is it all about, this thing called life?

Although in this case, it's meat on a stick in a box.

Let me know where to pick up my Pulitzer.

1) For the record, I do occasionally drive PCSguy to the airport. But I charge him $30. Hey! Gas ain't free!
2) I do too always say it, I've already said it twice in this very entry. Exception: Blogging. I usually just sit down and type until I get bored. (I have no clue where I'm going with this entry. Hell, I have no clue where this footnote is headed!)
3)Even Kelly who called me a biatch.

4) FYI: If I were to rank these in terms of disturbance factor, I'd go with (from least to most upsetting) mass, blizzards, earthquakes, snow days.