Category Archives: TJ + Phil

What’s up, Wrong-o?

I think it’s fine to use the popcorn button on your microwave. It’s arrogant Big Popcorn that wants you to think you can’t use it. Calm down popcorn, you’re just popcorn.

I think if you’re a grown adult and still doing any version of “I liked that before everyone else knew about it” out loud, you’re probably doing something wrong. There aren’t any points for that. You didn’t win. If you liked it a long time ago, you made a lucky discovery before other people got to it. That doesn’t make other people less, or make you more. It doesn’t make their enjoyment of Thing less true or sincere or valid, or your enjoyment of Thing a superior, more deep enjoyment or fanhood. No, rather, now you are two people who like Thing. Two people who can now like Thing together. And that’s good. Liking a thing together is one of the best things about liking a thing. Gleeful and sincere shared enjoyment of a thing is fantastic and there should always be room for more, really. Enjoyment of a thing can’t be used up. Also, stop it. Grow up. Move over, make space.

I bet you’re thinking, we all know this is going to lead into you talking about how much you like Korean television and wish people would watch along with you, but no one is going to watch with you, so you should just stop talking about it. WELL, I WON’T STOP TALKING ABOUT IT. I WON’T. SO GIVE UP, YOU.


Penelope was the Lorax for Halloween.

I spend most of my time these days in a recliner under a blanket like a hundred year old person in a recliner under a blanket, for reasons I’ll probably eventually get into if I decide to post for all of November because I don’t have thirty days of ideas but it’s actually more likely that I’ll just abandon the project by Sunday. And my recliner is under a ceiling fan that doesn’t turn off, which is just straight bullshit if you ask me. Which, if you ask me, you did, kind of, by reading this blog. Which you did. It’s still pretty warm here in the afternoons and the evenings, when the sun has been warming the house all day, and we actually still run the air conditioning in the evenings and through the night, because Phil likes to sleep at 74 degrees. Which, fine. 74 is a reasonable indoor temperature, right? And in the mornings, I turn the air conditioning off, because I’m cold. Lately, I’ve been returning to the thermostat several times a day, trying to figure out why I’m still cold when I know I turned it up. It turns out, it’s because it’s kind of not hot outside anymore. So while the air conditioning isn’t running, it’s staying around 74 in the house for most of the day, until the late afternoon, when it warms back up a bit.

Now, EXPERIENCE TELLS ME that this cooling trend is going to continue. Soon, it will stay around 74 for more of the day. And then around 73. Or lower. And no air conditioning at all will be necessary to keep it cool in the house. And as the winter season goes on, even in Arizona, the nights will be cooler. Cooler, even, than 74 degrees. We won’t need to use the air conditioning to get the house to Phil’s preferred 74 degrees, which is actually quite chilly with the blowers going at night, especially because we use a fan to keep the air moving and the dog stink from settling on us. Our room in particular can get quite still and heavy with the two of us and the two of them.

So I asked Phil this. I says to him, you like it 74 at night, right? And he confirmed. And I said, soon it will even be cooler than that at night. And he said, that will be nice. And I said, but 74 is a reasonable temperature for the house to be. Well, yes, he said. So, I said to him, we could, in theory, on those cooler nights, employ the HEAT to bring the temperature UP to that reasonable temperature of 74. Maybe 73. 70, even, could be fine. But we could use the HEAT to bring the temperature UP to the place where we are currently using air conditioning to bring it DOWN. Right? Because we agree, it’s a reasonable temperature. And he said to me, no. No, it’s different. Because it’s HEATING versus COOLING.


(I know, in some people’s houses you prefer to never run the heat. Or you actually prefer to sleep in the very, very cold. Or you prefer another specific temperature calculated exactly for maximum efficiency and money savings. I know. Everyone is different.)

If 74 degrees is a reasonable house temperature now, achieved with air conditioning, how is it NOT a reasonable temperature (even when I give a few degrees, down to 70) when achieved with heat? HM, PHILLIP? PHILLIP THE UNREASONABLE? PHILLIP THE UNREASONABLE OF UNSOUND ARGUMENTLANDIA?

Speaking of the King of LALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOUR LOGICSHIRE, our three year anniversary was last week.


Despite all capslocks to the contrary, we’re quite well matched.

“Oh,” you’re thinking. “Purple flowers and a card of a suitable nature! An anniversary well done!” WELL, GUESS WHAT, WRONG-O. Your new name is WRONG-O.

Do you see there, over to the left side of the picture? It’s Phil, leaning into the fridge, doing the traditional and ceremonial burial at trashcan of all of the leftovers we didn’t get around to eating before I went grocery shopping again. Except the day ended up all crunched and weird, and I actually ended up taking Phil shopping with me. I had a LIST that followed a carefully laid out MEAL PLAN which adhered to our budget, so this on its own was a dangerous endeavor. A Phil in a grocery store is a magnet for cheese products and crackers and cheese product crackers that I never seem to notice until I’m unpacking the groceries. They go into some hidden nook in the cart that only he knows about and I swear he slips the cashier a ten to slide them through while my back is turned and I’m left wondering how I spend six thousand dollars on two packs of chicken breasts and some applesauce pouches. OH, WE BOUGHT EIGHTEEN FLAVORS OF CAPTAIN CRUNCH AND ONE OF EVERY CHEESE THANKS PHIL.

So I lectured him before we went in. I told him, if I come pick you up from work and take you with us (otherwise he’d sit at work an extra hour or so while we shopped, that’s life with one car), you will stay near the cart! Hands where I can see them! AT ALL TIMES! He agreed. And he really behaved himself through several aisles, so I gave him some leeway. I normally don’t buy snack food by a list, but kind of just pick whatever based on what’s on sale, what looks good, and what Phil and Penny like. In the interest of speeding things along, I sent him into the cookie/cracker aisle to “grab JUST A COUPLE THINGS and bring them back.” And to his credit, he did come back with just a couple things and dumped them in the cart. We got everything we needed, we stayed within the budget, it was a successful trip.

SO WHAT’S YOUR PROBLEM, right? Is that what you’re thinking right now, Wrong-o? (That’s you. You’re Wrong-o.)

A few days later, I was looking for a snack to give Penelope. Well, it turns out, on our ANNIVERSARY, of all days, the snack foods I had TRUSTED him to acquire? He bought WHOLE GRAIN Fig Newtons. But it was fine, because he’d gotten two packages. BUT NO. The second package was ALSO WHOLE GRAIN.

As soon as he got home from work, I confronted him with my disbelief, my deep sense of betrayal, and absolute bewilderment that he’d buy TWO packages of whole grain Newtons. And do you know what he says to me, Wrong-o? He says, “THEY TASTE EXACTLY THE SAME.”

Are you feeling it now, Wrong-o? Are you feeling your deep, essential wrongness?


And then he took it further.

“I bet you $20 that in a blind taste test, you could not tell the difference between regular and whole grain Fig Newtons.”

Well. There’s only one response to that.


Life intervened for a little while. A short while.



Phillip, Grand Poobah of Inappropriate Snackfood Choices and Head of the Parliamentary Board of Indiscriminate Tastebuds, administered the test. It was to be a FOUR NEWTON CHALLENGE – if it was just two Newtons, according to him, I’d have a 50/50 chance and there was no possible way success on my part could be credited to an ACTUAL difference between delicious Newtons and sand-wrapped crap Newton-impostors.

I turned my back to the table, and he handed me a Newton. I bit it. “GROSS NEWTON.” I set it down. He claimed I had to eat the whole thing. “I MOST CERTAINLY DO NOT HAVE TO EAT THAT. IT IS GROSS.” He didn’t tell me if I was right or wrong. He handed me another Newton to my other hand – apparently The High Muckety Muck of Newton Testing Standards and Enforcement has his ways – and I took a bite. “REAL NEWTON.” Still, he didn’t tell me. This went on for two more Newtons, for a FOUR NEWTON CHALLENGE.

At the end, I turned around. He looks at me, and he says, “You got them all wrong.”


“Okay,” he says, “You got them all right.”



Ass of Newton Challenge: Kicked

“BUT,” he says. “It doesn’t count.”


“I can’t tell the difference. They taste exactly the same. So it doesn’t count.”

Okay. Okay. So, bringing it all back around. There’s a DIFFERENCE between 70 degrees achieved with air conditioning and 70 degrees achieved with the heating, even though they’re both 70 degrees, and there’s a difference because he can tell there’s a difference. He can tell, therefore, a difference exists.

I successfully complete a FOUR NEWTON CHALLENGE, executed under his own standards and procedures, because I can ABSOLUTELY TELL THE DIFFERENCE between an excellent Newton and a crappy grainy Newton of sadness and woe, but my accomplishments in the field of snacks count for nothing, because he can’t tell, thus no difference actually exists.

Put that in your shopping cart and sneak it past the flowers, WRONG-O.

Nag Lorax

EXCUSE ME, you’re going to recycle that bottle, correct? And compost that apple core?

Super Great

I just don’t know if I’ve ever met someone so great.



Victory shoes and Makeup Monday 2: The Balm Apricot Skin Renewal Lotion. And Stuff.

Note: Please save part of this post for tomorrow. Which part you save is up to you. I’m not controlling or anything.

Toward the end of last week, I started to feel crappy, details don’t matter, but I had a rough couple of days, and Phil really stepped up in taking care of things around here and letting me get some extra rest in order to make sure that sort of crappy didn’t take a turn for extra crappy, so on Friday, I was kind of rushing around in the afternoon to pick the place up before he got home, plus do the couple of things around the house that he usually feels like he has to do the second he comes in the door. He’s one of those types, you know, can’t relax until his things are done. So I figured I’d do all the things, and he could just kick back after really stretching for most of the week.

Except things kept happening. You know, after last Monday’s entry, I guess typical Penelope stuff. Stuff I’ve come to expect from a Penelope. I forgot to lock the dishwasher (we have to lock the dishwasher to keep her from getting in it, but that doesn’t stop her from randomly starting it up whenever she wants) and she got out some serving forks. I could hear her with them, so I approached slowly. You have to approach slowly when the Penelope has contraband, because if she knows you’re coming to take it, she’ll run. With FORKS. Or whatever she might have. And if she’s running, and you’re closing in, she’ll throw whatever she’s got, like some teenager with pot running through the woods behind the house party that just got busted, flinging the baggie off into the brush in desperate hope of not being caught but also maybe being able to find it again later. Except it’s not pot, it’s my cell phone and it’s not the brush, it’s probably the kitchen floor. Anyway, this time she didn’t run, but she did throw the forks at my face.

She threw ham at the wall.

When discussing Penelope’s behavior on Twitter the other day – which I don’t do too often, because of reasons, but I wasn’t feeling very well so was just generally totally beaten – someone suggested that I possibly might need to reevaluate what behavior I consider acceptable, because it is hard to believe that a two year old could be that bad all the time. That is, could it be that my standards of behavior for Penelope are much too high, making it seem as though she is constantly misbehaving, when in reality, it is just me, expecting too much from a toddler? Is this just a case of me not knowing that I need to pick my battles? Am I exhausting myself – and probably Penelope – with my impossibly high standards?

No. No, that’s not the case. I let the ham go, y’all. I do choose my battles. I do. If she’s not throwing something at my face, I mostly let it go, with a reminder that in this house, we pass things to each other. We don’t throw.

(Oh yeah, we’re those schmucks now. Come into our house, and you’ll get pulled aside for the little speech, like those, “Oh, we try not to say ‘No,’ we feel like it crushes her spirit,” except it’s more like, “Oh, please don’t throw anything in front of her, not even your car keys to your spouse to move the car, we feel like that’s why she keeps throwing shoes at my face, so if you could just pass things to each other and then make a huge fucking deal about what a great pass that was, that would be GREAT, thanks.” We know we sound like a couple of pass holes. We know.)

This is what’s not okay: hitting, harassing the dogs, eating out of the trash/throwing things in the trash, taking things from the fridge, throwing things at people, failing to obey reasonable requests when it’s very clear you understood and are deliberately disobeying for funsies.

Okay, I admit it, I didn’t totally let the ham thing go.

I... I can't explain this.

In my defense, I just asked her to get it.

So I don’t think I’m unreasonable in my expectations, and as you can see above, she might just be a BIT UNREASONABLE IN HER INTERPRETATIONS OF MY REQUESTS. I’m not saying she’s in any way an abnormal child, I’m just saying that normal is a range and to compose a range, you need to have children at each end. What you’re looking at here is an end child.

After the potato incident I mentioned last week, and the peanut butter incident – did I tell you about the peanut butter incident here? Brinkley ate half a jar of peanut butter, and then Penelope got the jar of peanut butter from the trash, and she had some. That happened. So after the peanut butter incident and the potato incident, we had some deliveries last week. We got some more child locks, and some more Door Monkeys, and a ridiculously priced Simple Human trash can with a pedal and a lock. Of course, after her nap, I turned my back for what I swear was the space of a super human speed bathroom visit and came back to this:

This is just a normal day, though, so no big. I mean, she gets into things, I pick them up. It’s just particularly ridiculous because that day was one thing after another, and, well, okay, she’s sitting in a pile of child locks. The point is, though, that I keep Phil updated on her doings throughout the day, and while he doesn’t ever come out and say it, I do kind of get a “… really?” vibe from him pretty frequently. It can kind of seem like, if he were home, this sort of thing wouldn’t be happening. Aren’t I even watching? How can stuff like this happen so frequently? He’s here every night and all weekend, and he doesn’t see this much stuff happen…

It doesn’t help that, a short time later – and, okay, I admit it, this is all on me – I had put her in her room for sneaking into the locked side of the linen closet (DO NOT EVEN GET ME STARTED ON HER HIDING IN THERE AND NOT MAKING A SOUND WHILE I RAN THROUGH THE HOUSE YELLING HER NAME OH MY GOD) and retrieving soda cans in order to fling them onto the kitchen floor, and I forgot that when I had to chase her out of her room earlier, I had left a tub of body butter on the floor. Okay. That was no good. That was no good at all. Especially because the body butter I have been using on her lately is one of mine (it works), so it is especially stinky and greasy. And it was so quiet in her room, and I went in there, and she was rubbing greasy, stinky body butter all over herself. And her hair. And the carpet. And everything ever.


I slept in a little bit on Saturday, and when I woke up, Phil and Penny weren’t in the living room, or the kitchen, and I wandered into the playroom and didn’t find them. But I smelled some really strong cleaning smell, and I found them both in the guest bathroom. Phil was standing at the sink, with the water running, and my new sneakers that I had just gotten, just the day before, scrubbing at the toes with a magic eraser. Penny had colored all over the toes with a ball point pen.





It is Monday again, which means it is time for Makeup Monday, which is the second part of my post, because maybe you are not into makeup, which means you can abandon ship here, but I may not always be so solicitous as to write a whole other thousand words not about makeup, so don’t go getting used to it or anything. Thought I guess you’re totally SOL if you don’t like makeup OR my kid. Are you just hanging around waiting for me to start writing about World of Warcraft again? I mean, it could happen. My account is open. If you are, I mean… I probably should. Just to reward you. Because that is some dedication.

In the spirit of the No Buy, No No Blog, I have actually gone and USED SOMETHING UP from the pile in the picture in the original post detailing all of my restrictions and rules and plans for the whole project. Here is that picture.

So, while this isn’t my entire makeup collection, for my No Buy, No No Blog, this is what I’m working with. I’ll deal with everything in the picture in one of the ways described in the original post before the no buy ends. Well, everything in the picture, plus some things that hadn’t arrived yet at the time the picture was taken.

Today, I’m talking about the product indicated with the arrow – Apricot Skin Renewal Cream by The Balm – as well as some eye makeup remover wipes that came in the Allure Summer Beauty box, and the two facial moisturizers I currently use, and why they can go right to hell.

I am currently using the two facial moisturizers pictured. I’ve got pretty normal skin, I think. It’s not particularly prone to oiliness or greasiness, and I have what I think are pretty standard hormonal breakouts – probably one or two actual pimples once a month, maybe a threatened pimple here and there the rest of the month. Pretty lucky, I think, but I suffered for it mightily when I was younger. I’ve got really irritating patches of dryness, though, on my forehead between my eyes, next to my nose, and sometimes on my chin and next to my mouth depending on how hot my shower was, so I have to moisturize every day and heavily before makeup or my makeup will look flaky and horrible.

The two moisturizers pictured – Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15 and Up & Up Facial Moisturizing Lotion with SPF 15, oil free – can go right the hell to hell, each for separate reasons. I use them in a pretty standard fashion – after the shower and/or before makeup, I put on a pretty thick layer and let it soak in. I put it on my face. My face, where the FACIAL MOISTURIZER is intended to go. My FACE, where I keep both my EYES and my MOUTH, most days.

If I use the Cetaphil, I get a taste in my mouth that I am pretty sure is poison. And it just hovers in the back of my throat for most of the day, ruining things and making life miserable. And look, smartbutticus, I know I’m not supposed to eat it. I don’t eat it. It’s on my face, all smeared around on there, and some of its fuminess kind of gets into the general mouthy area. I’m not rubbing it directly into my tongue. I guess it performs its general moistness duties okay, but the fact remains that when I use it, the back of my throat feels like a little man is standing back there with a fireplace bellows, releasing puffs of TERRIBLE all day long. It’s no good. It’s just no good.

And then there’s the Up & Up. I’m a pretty big fan of Target’s store brand of products, I haven’t had too many stinkers. Well, unless you count shmazors. And for a moisturizer, this does okay. Just okay. It’s not really anything super special as far as under makeup goes, considering my especially flaky spots, but for every day (I don’t wear makeup every single day) and before bed, I don’t mind it. Except for one thing. One teeeeeny, tiny thing. It’s trying to blind me. It gets into my eyes somehow – AND NO, I AM NOT APPLYING IT DIRECTLY TO MY EYES – even hours after application, even if I don’t feel like I am sweating any especial amount. It runs into my eyes when I’m just sitting on the couch, and holy shit, does it burn. It burns to the point that shortly thereafter, I’m barely able to keep my eyes open, what with the tearing up and the flames of hell and the rubbing and the splashing of water. BUT DON’T SPLASH THE WATER. Because that just seems to reactivate all the REST of the moisturizer on the face, which then rushes to my eyes. I’ve actually texted Phil at work near the end of his day to ask how close he was to coming home, because hey, I’m blind, and I can’t afford to show any weakness to Penelope, she kind of has the upper hand as it is. But it doesn’t happen every TIME. Only sometimes. At random. Maybe when Pen-o is about to stage some kind of coup. Maybe there’s a connection. I don’t know. I’m not a Makeup Scientist.

SO AS YOU CAN SEE. My current moisturizer selections are NOT EXACTLY EXCELLENT, so the samples I received in my recent order from The Balm were pretty well timed. I got two, and decided to start with the Apricot Skin Renewal Cream for no particular reason. I actually had a reason at the time, but I don’t remember it.

The Balm website says that this lotion smooths the skin and also slows down the aging process, but a small foil packet is hardly enough product to really evaluate those claims, so what I was really looking for was how it dealt with my problem areas, did it try to poison me, and did it try to kill me and/or enter into cahoots with my daughter?

Texture: I probably should have taken a picture, but I DIDN’T. This is a pretty thick lotion. It’s less liquidy than it is creamy, and has a greasier feeling than the two lotions I’m used to using. It’s not a slap on the face kind of lotion, but more of a rub it in type. It has a higher quality feeling to it than the two I normally use, which makes sense, considering it costs several times more than they do.

It actually made my face feel kind of greasy when it was on, too. I don’t know if greasy is the word. I think makeup people prefer the word dewy. Yeah. I was dewy as shit when I put this on. I used it at night only for the first two applications, which was about all that was in the packet. I wasn’t sure if I’d actually wear it under makeup, because it felt… tacky. Not tacky like the way I usually dress, but tacky to the touch. I kept thinking about that one scene with Jordan and Ted from Scrubs, before she was in that other show that makes up for the fact that she’s not a great actress by just writing for the fact that that’s her face. You know what I mean? I WANT TO TOUCH IT BUT I DON’T.

I didn’t really time it, or do anything really professional in nature like any kind of actual reviewer of products, but normally I put on my moisturizer and let it dry down for a bit, then put some more on my trouble spots before applying my primer and foundation, or BB cream, or whatever the hell I’m going to wear that day. I didn’t really notice this stuff drying down completely for a while. I don’t know how long a while is. You’re going to have to ask someone with a clock. I probably could have gone ahead and applied primer over this, but… I don’t know. Not my style, really.

Poison-ness: I don’t know what something called Apricot Skin Renewal Cream is supposed to smell like, but I’m guessing apricots. It doesn’t. But, good news! It doesn’t smell like poison, either! You know what it smells like? The Dollar Store at Christmas. Or that one store in your hometown that you go in and quickly realize it is really not for you because it’s all dolls or sun catchers or wall plaques with country ducks on them, but you’re the only person in the store in the middle of a Saturday afternoon and the lady who is clearly the owner came out from behind the counter when you came in, so you feel obligated to give a kind of courtesy wander of the store, but the longer you stay, the more it seems like she thinks you might actually be the type of person who is really into country ducks or whatever, so she starts kind of following you and maybe pointing out different things in the store that she thinks you might like, or that are on sale, and, really, if you were into that kind of thing, you’d have to admit, you’d be a FOOL to pass up the deal, but you’re NOT into that kind of thing, and now it’s awkward, and you have to walk out the door without buying anything. So that’s kind of a weird smell for a lotion, and it’s even weirder if you think that it was maybe intended to smell like apricots, because I don’t know about you, but I don’t think country duck when I think apricot. I like apricots.

Kill/Cahoots: No attempts were made on my life during the use of this lotion. This probably could have gone under texture, but it didn’t run at all, and I don’t feel like if it did run, it would have caused any pain to my eyeballs.

Effectiveness: Like I said, the foil packet really isn’t enough to judge if the Apricot Skin Renewal Cream can, you know, renew skin. I got two full applications out of it, and in the interest of the No Buy, No No Blog project and using things up, I squeezed out the last bits and applied them to my most troubley areas, and you know, I was pretty pleased. I ended up just applying makeup in the middle of the night to send ridiculous pictures to Diane and Jonna, but hell of my skin didn’t look kind of fantastic under the clown face. I could actually see using this at night, something a little lighter out of the shower, and then this again on my flakiest areas.

Rebuy: So, would I buy this again? Well, it smells funny, but that kind of wears off eventually. It’s expensive, to me, at $29 for 2.36oz, compared to, say, $7 for 4oz of my usual murder lotion. But can you really talk about price when you’re talking about murder lotion? I have three more lotions to consider in my No Buy, No No Blog project: a Nutrogena from the Allure Summer Beauty Box, a sample from VMV Hypoallergenics that’s been kicking around my tippy piles for a while, and another foil packet from TheBalm – Grapefruit Antioxidant Day Face Cream (spoiler: it smells like the locker room at the YMCA.) I know that the poison/murder lotions are out the door for sure, but I don’t know for certain what will replace them.


SPEAKING OF APPLYING THINGS DIRECTLY TO EYES: Simple brand Eye Makeup Remover Pads for sensitive eyes! Yes! Ish! I have definitely applied these directly to my eyeballs in my attempts to learn how to tightline my eyes (which I can now successfully do THANK YOU), and I was not killed, nor was my daughter allowed to launch any of the multiple plots that are surely in any of several different stages of hatchery at any given time. Excellent. EXCELLENT.


Any makeup remover pad, when confronted with waterproof makeup, or lots of makeup, or lots of waterproof makeup many times over, like when someone with ham hands is learning a new skill very close to the eyeball, is going to be rubbed over the delicate eye area lots of times. Waterproof eye makeup is tough stuff, and eye makeup remover, especially that designed for sensitive eyes, cannot just go at it with fire and chemicals and burn that shit all to the ground. So it takes some swiping. And swiping. And swiping. So any makeup pad, no matter how intended to be gentle, is going to start to feel like you’re taunting your eyelids with a fiberglass mitten. These are no real exception.

So. If you’re sensitive to actual makeup remover, as in, the formulation of the stuff hurts your actual eyeballs and skin, Simple Eye Makeup Remover Pads for sensitive eyes are an excellent choice. If you’re sensitive to having the eye area rubbed repeatedly with cotton-like pad thingers, well, maybe just rub it once or twice and call it good enough. You know what they say. Tonight’s mascara & eyeliner are tomorrow’s smoky eye.

This is how it happens.

There’s this specific type of question Phil asks me sometimes – it doesn’t really matter what it is, except to say that he asks it and it’s not really a question. I don’t know how to explain it, and if I did, I think I’d just get a rack of Phil apologists in here telling me why I’m wrong to be annoyed by my husband, and that would be a mistake. On their part.

Anyway, so there’s this one specific type of questions that Phil asks me sometimes, and it just gets right under my skin. It immediately gets right under my skin. You know that kind of thing, right? How there’s something – I don’t know if it’s something your husband does, but it probably is – but something that just gets RIGHT UNDER YOUR SKIN RIGHT THE SECOND IT HAPPENS? Yeah, it’s something like that.

He asks this question, and it’s immediately right under my skin, and my blood pressure shoots up, and there’s this little “pah!” sound, and that sound – it’s really tiny, you wouldn’t be able to hear it even if you were sitting in my lap (which is not something you should ever, EVER do) – it’s the sound of all of the moisture on the surface of my eyes poofing away in an INSTANT. Just “pah!” Pft! Teeny little vapor puffs, all the moisture on the surface of my eyes just GONE.

And this is all AS he is asking the question. He hasn’t even finished the question before I hear “pah!” Because I know Phil, and I know this question and the forms it can take. It starts with either, “I thought…,” or “Aren’t you…,” or “Are you going to…,” and he only has to get THAT FAR before “pah!” and desert eyes, and then I am moving on to the next step, which is, or must be – I don’t know, I’m not an eye scientist – eye boil.

There’s some kind of water in the eye, or eye goo, at least, and I know this because I cut apart a sheep eye in the ninth grade, and I remember a pretty decent amount of watery goo, and after the “pah!,” my head swings or swivels on my neck, depending on if he’s been unwise enough to stand very close to me, or is asking his question from a smart and safe distance or maybe even directly behind me, which used to be safe but isn’t really anymore, because I’ve become very adept at getting my head ALL the way around, you’ll see my hypothesis on why in a moment – wait, what? I’m lost in this paragraph. Let’s meet at the next one down and backtrack a bit.

Okay, so Phil gets partway into his sentence, “pah!,” eye desert, neck swivel, oh, and then we’re at eye goo. Okay. Okay, so AS MY NECK IS SWIVELING AND MY EYES ARE TRACKING HIM, I can feel my eye goo. I feel it, you guys. I become aware of my eye goo. I’m really sorry for how many times I’m saying eye goo, and the fact that I may be making you uncomfortably aware of the fact that eye goo exists. I mean, we all logically know eye goo exists, but it’s not something we want to acknowledge on a daily basis, and I get that. I am apologizing to you. But Phil asks this question, and I become aware of mine, because I feel it HEATING UP TO A BOIL.

Now, there’s no real climax to this story, because as of yet, my eye goo has never really reached a boil. I’ve gotten a “pah!,” I’ve developed heat so intense it causes instant evaporation. My neck has reached new levels of swivel, but I don’t know if that’s a development or just practice. My eyes sometimes narrow, almost like I’m bringing in a really intense focus, and I feel the eye goo heating.

This all happens when Phil asks me this one specific type of question that gets under my skin SO FAST that this process is triggered almost like a REFLEX. So you want to know what I think is happening?




My husband does this one specific thing that sets off my rage so quickly and so intensely that my body is ACTUALLY TRYING TO EVOLVE LASER VISION WITH WHICH TO SMITE HIM WHERE HE STANDS.

I feel it happening, Internet. This is how it happens. Our spouses and children and bosses and that woman who parked her truck in the Target parking lot in such a way that not only was she over the line into my spot, but her back tire BLOCKED MY BACK TIRE IN and then WENT INTO THE STORE AND LEFT HER TRUCK PARKED LIKE THAT and then HAD THE AUDACITY TO GLARE AT ME WHEN I WAS PARKED IN MY RUNNING CAR WAITING FOR HER TO LEAVE WHEN SHE FINALLY CAME OUT. This is how the next round of human evolution is going to happen.

Surely you can force down just one more.


Let’s just do this.

2011, a pretty rough year.

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?

I invited the entire Internet over to my house and threw a big weekend long party. I flew across the country with my baby by myself. I went to an aerobics class and also ran out of that aerobics class for reasons I will never, ever discuss (again, because I eventually very briefly discussed it on Twitter).

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

As usual, I didn’t really make any resolutions for 2012, aside from the usual stereotypical vague ideas of starting new and fresh and generally doing better at everything, you know, housework and diet and exercise and marriage and parenting and all of that. Phil went away for three weeks right at the start of the year, so it all went to hell pretty fast.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Not anyone physically close. My cousin had another tiny baby just before Thanksgiving. He’s pretty cute, but I didn’t hold him, because I don’t want to catch baby germ. Also, tons of Internet baby!

4. Did anyone close to you die?


5. What countries did you visit?

Stealing last year’s answer, which I stole from the year before, as I intend to do for the foreseeable future. And by foreseeable future, I basically mean forever. And look, I don’t feel guilty about it. I’m done feeling guilty or ashamed about the fact that I don’t care to travel. I don’t. Not everyone does. There’s nothing wrong with a person who has no desire to travel. There isn’t.

None. You can also retroactively write that down as my year end wrap up answer for every year since 1981, though it isn’t really fair to count 1981, since I was born in December of that year and didn’t even have my birth certificate issued until early 1982, let alone a passport.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?

We’re looking to move early in 2013. We need more space. MORE SPACE. We need more space. I need space. SPACE. Please. I need space. I need a bathroom for just girls. I need a room for toys. Or at least a room that doesn’t have as many toys as the other rooms. I need to not hear every fart that every creature in this house makes. I need to not be aware of all of the farts.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I hate that like 2011, this is hospital related again, but on July 5th, Peno had her kidney surgery, and it went perfectly, way better than expected, even, with how quickly she bounced back and was sprung from the hospital, but when we were waiting in pre-op, and they came to get her, there was this little bit of confusion about when they were taking her, and how far Phil and I were allowed to walk with her, and we had to say this quick and awkward goodbye right outside her pre-op room while she was sitting on this wheeled bed, and then they walked away with the bed, and it was so awkward and sudden that she didn’t even realize that Phil and I weren’t still beside the bed walking along with her, so she didn’t even turn and look, and we just stood there and watched the nurse roll the bed off down the hall and go around the corner, just seeing her sitting there with her back to us, and her tiny curly head not looking back, with no idea when she finally realized we weren’t there with her. UGH. WORST. WORST EVER. WORST THING. Everything went great, it was all perfect, but that was the last thing we saw and I still torture myself all the time wondering when she figured it out. When she was in the OR alone? When a stranger was holding her? When they put the anesthesia mask over her face? GAH. GAH. WORST DAY.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Even though I’m not entirely thrilled with how it came off and plan to do way better, the fact that there’s almost a 100% return rate from 2012 PJs at TJ’s to 2013 PJs at TJ’s tells me that that was a pretty good one.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Keeping this blog up this year was a pretty big failure, and I think that if I make a resolution at all for 2013, working harder at that will probably be it. If you’ve been reading along for the last year, though, you know the issue I’ve been dealing with on that front, the huge fun-sucker-outer. It’s really something I need to move past. When you put someone completely out of your life, it should be just that – complete. They shouldn’t be allowed to continue to suck the fun out of things you enjoy.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Unfortunately, another fun-suck has been some headache-slash-migraine matters I’ve been dealing with. I was hospitalized in April and I’ve been seeing a neurologist since then. I say headache-slash-migraine because it’s seemed to be both – sometimes migraines, and sometimes distinctly separate just very bad headaches. However, in the last couple of months, things have been looking quite bright – no migraines since October, no runs of terrible headaches since a particularly bad stretch in November. The dosage of medication to get to this point has made blogging and even, oddly, Twitter a bit of a struggle, but life in general just that much more pleasant. Fingers crossed.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

For our anniversary, I got Phil a custom caricature of himself drawn as the tenth doctor from Doctor Who. I was quite proud of that!

Phil as the Tenth Doctor

12. Where did most of your money go?

Penny, bills, rent, a trip to Pennsylvania.

13. What did you get really excited about?

My cousin and I dropped our babies off with grandparents and went to see Shawn Klush (link has autoplay music) while I was in Pennsylvania. Even though it left me with a terrible case of Elvis Mope (IT’S A THING) when it was over, I looked forward to it for AGES, and it RULED SO HARD.

14. What song will always remind you of 2012?

Put Down the Duckie, and anything Fresh Beats, probably.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

happier or sadder? Around the endish of 2011, I went on prescription medication for postpartum anxiety that was just ridiculous. I mean, ridiculous. Looking back now, I can’t believe I let it get as bad as it was. And the medication turned me right around within a couple of weeks. And this year, I had to go off it because of a conflict with my migraine rescue medication. And… I’m fine. Like, really fine. So, happier? I’m good.
thinner or fatter? Ok, so… this time last year, I was at my pre-pregnancy weight, but a size higher than pre-pregnancy. This year? Hey. Did I tell you guys I lost 27 lbs? I did! I lost 27 lbs! I’m also still a size bigger than pre-pregnancy. So. Whatever. I’m calling it thinner. I lost 27 lbs! 16 of it since starting the most recent round of the Biggest Blogging Loser, which I am joining up again in January.
richer or poorer? The same. Money comes in, goes back out.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Playing with Penny. I don’t know, I play with her, and then I have things to do, and then the day is over, and I think, why didn’t I play more? Why was I so annoyed?

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Right when Peno hit this stage she’s in now, which I won’t describe too much because you know it, right, she’s 20 months old and punishment is ineffective and she also has zero impulse control, I just lost my mind SO MUCH. And it just helps no one. We’re just a little way off from when she’ll start understanding, and me yelling just works ME up, and it’s not doing anything for her but putting an impression in her mind of a mean, angry mother. She doesn’t get it yet. She will. SHE WILL. But she doesn’t. She doesn’t get time out, she doesn’t get consequences. I’m not saying my kid doesn’t need discipline or that I can’t discipline her or that I won’t or that it’s pointless. I’m saying that right now, all I can do is just stop her doing what she’s doing, and that losing my mind isn’t teaching her anything and certainly isn’t making anything better for me. And I just wish I’d done less of that before I clued in to the fact that just taking a deep breath and reminding myself that better times are coming down the road after this phase is a more sane way to go.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

Here, with our little family of three, and it was just perfect. Phil and I did our first “set everything up on Christmas eve like Santa came,” Pen woke up in her own house and came out to inspect all her toys, I cooked dinner, we Skyped with family.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

Doctor Who. I watched all of Doctor Who starting with the ninth doctor in 2005 this year, and this was me:

WHY did I wait so long? WHY are YOU waiting so long? Just do it. DAYUM. Just do it. Shit. Shit. Watch the show. WATCH IT.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

I had a goal of reading 130 books this year, and I failed. As of today, I’ve read 101. Here’s a link to the first batch, and I plan on doing the second batch this week. My favorites, though, were probably The Fault in Our Stars, because, come on, John Green, and The Art of Fielding. See DAYUM man above.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

I listened to a lot of Pink and Taylor Swift this year. I mixed that in with my standard Alkaline Trio, The Get Up Kids, Reel Big Fish, Dashboard Confessional, and Penny and I had about four million dance parties to Shoulder to the Wheel by Saves the Day.

Do yourself a favor and have a dance party to Shoulder to the Wheel by Saves the Day.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

I didn’t see any movies in the theater this year. I don’t think I saw any new releases at all… except maybe the Hunger Games. Was that this year? It was good.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

On my actual birthday, Peno and I met up with her cousins in PA for a very ill-fated photo shoot in which none of the actual photos came out.

Then I had Chinese food, and we all sat around and applauded for Penelope while she put a shirt on as pants.

When I got back to Arizona, Phil and I went for our traditional joint birthday celebration dinner, since we don’t really celebrate our birthdays, as they fall right in the middle of anniversary-Thanksgiving-Christmas holiday run up. It did not go well, as right after dinner, I was felled by the violent 24 hours stomach bug that had gotten both Phil and Penny before me. I thought I was going to escape it. I did not. While I was laying in bed, running to the bathroom to lose more food than I realized I’d eaten EVER, Phil ate our delicious slice of joint birthday cake. And he didn’t leave me any. And then? HE WENT TO THE STORE AND BOUGHT A BOX OF FUNFETTI CAKE MIX. SO THAT I COULD MAKE MYSELF SOME REPLACEMENT CAKE.

I was 31.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I don’t like this question. SKIP.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?

Forever on a quest to attractively house the c-section pooch.

26. What kept you sane?

Routine, Phil, Penelope.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.

Let’s go back to 2010, because if I’ve learned anything in 2012, it’s a relearning of 2010 lesson:

I never learn. Ever.



There’s one good line in this whole damn thing.* **

We’re leaving in the morning for Pennsylvania, and I almost decided to just not write this post at all, because we are entering the fail now or fail later portion of NaBloPoMo – I will be travelling all day tomorrow with a toddler who saw that I was almost completely packed WELL ahead of schedule (I am a stay up all night the night before type, without fail, since the first time I flew, ever) and decided to spring a fever (of course she decided, I have met her and you have not, so I know), so the chances of me actually posting tomorrow night are pretty slim, and even if I do, then I am facing the entire rest of the month with the crappy equipment of the – oh, God, I know exactly how I am about to sound – stupid Android phone that will only let me upload pictures via email to Flickr which will then post all oddly and weird and I don’t even use email on the phone because it is stupid and I hate it and don’t even have that Flickr contact in the phone and I also hate stupid Flickr; or the iPad which doesn’t let me put in pictures and has a stupid keyboard that sometimes vanishes because my BOOBS touch it and they’re not even WARM boobs, being so large that nerves and blood vessels long since parked their Conestogas and settled in the DeSmets of the Breasts, and it’s not very kind about where it lets me select words; or the old MacBook Pro, which heats up like I imagine tiny breasts might and has a battery life of approximately 12 minutes.

Anyway, oddly, I persevere.


Q: What do you do when your weekly weigh ins are going well, but you’re going out of town for a month?


Now we’re free to see the world!

Also, we’re going to be gone for a month, and that’s a long time. I know my parents appreciate it a whole lot, and I know Phil is going to miss us, some of us more than others. I also know that he is going to appreciate the absence of some of us who never throw anything away. Actually, both of us don’t throw anything away, but one of us isn’t allowed to touch the trash can/go outside alone. Actually, neither of us gets to go outside alone.

I just thought I’d leave this here for Phil to find when he gets a spare moment of downtime at work on Friday, after we’re gone.

* One of the bonuses of dropping the ridiculous BlogHer ads, besides not getting checks every month, because I totally hated that part, was that I could start cursing in my post titles, and I realized I haven’t been taking advantage of that at all. Ball sack.

** A more sophisticated blogger would probably try to pretend like she didn’t know where her good lines were and play it off like she doesn’t laugh at her own jokes. There’s no more to this asterisk line.

There are a lot of invisible NOs as well.

I came home from my hair appointment tonight pretty late, and my head is stinky yet adorable, and I don’t have a headache, and moves were made before I left that lead me to believe that certain intentions were understood to be in the air on both sides, and when I came home and made to make good on said intentions, it turned out that SOMEONE just wanted to GO TO SLEEP.

While I believe that digging through your archives when you are in a BAD MOOD because you are leaving FOR A MONTH in less than 48 hours and you thought that there was a mutual understanding to do the business and it turns out no one is going to do the business goes against the spirit of NaBloPoMo, I think it’s PERFECTLY KOSHER to look through all of your draft posts and find an UNPUBLISHED post that just so happens to be conveniently about not doing the business, and post that.

Look, it’s November. Not only can they not all be winners, none of them are going to be winners.


Phil kept making gross sounds with his beer bottle. You’re going to have to trust me when I tell you it was super gross and frankly, quite egregious. I told him. I SAID, if you don’t stop doing that, I’m not going to do the business with you. And he wouldn’t stop. So I said, for every time you do that is one more day that I will not do the business with you. And he wouldn’t stop.

And that, students, is how The Great Sharpie Battle of 2011 began.

Monster feet vs butt.

Failing NaBloPoMo on the first day really takes the pressure off for the rest of the month.



Penny was a duck/chicken (chucken?) for Halloween.

Do you love it? I love it. I love it so much that when we have her 6 month portraits taken this weekend, instead of being suckered into the “Holiday” backdrop they are pushing on me so hard, Penny is being a duck-chicken. A dicken. A 6 month old dicken.


I haven’t done Penny’s 6 month post yet, but here’s a brief synopsis: she yells, she’s pleasantly fat, she can roll back to belly and shriek mightily once she arrives there.

She has a test at Phoenix Children’s Hospital tomorrow, one we fully expect to come up negative, but we like making her miserable, so we’re doing it anyway. You should just have us arrested. We’re terrible parents.

Don’t worry about Penny, though. She’s never had good parents, so she doesn’t know any better.


You know, I haven’t been around here too much lately, and you know what it is? I’m enjoying spending time with my kid, which tells me that I’m finally starting to arrive in the time I’ve been looking forward to.

Noemi talked about this the other day, and I feel the same way – ending breastfeeding has really improved my relationship with Penny. Ending it was the right choice for us for a lot of reasons, and while I definitely don’t speak for everyone, it has really turned out to be extremely beneficial in a lot of different ways. The main one being, of course, that I actually ENJOY PENNY a hell of a lot more than I did previously.

With no struggling to feed her, no watching the clock for the pumping schedule, no washing pump parts, no waking up in the night to deal with any feeding-related activities — well, you know, it’s just better. Phil splits the feedings with me. I can leave the house without Penny and not worry about rushing back. I can leave the house WITH Penny and not wrestle with feeding her in public – like Noemi, nursing was never graceful or easy, positioning-the-baby-wise for me.

So, while I do believe that breast milk is certainly the best choice for a baby if it is available, not breastfeeding has been just about the best thing to happen to me since this damn wiener child was born.


A few days ago, Phil accidentally left the lid of the washer up with our bedsheets sitting inside soaking in fabric softener. He asked me if soaking too long in the fabric softener would ruin the sheets, but I wasn’t sure – mainly because in my entire life I’ve caught the rinse cycle in time to add fabric softener about four times, so I don’t have too much experience in the field of softening.

He put the sheets on the bed and made up the bed for the one time it gets made each week and I didn’t noticed anything until the next day, when the blankets were pleasantly running amok and askew, as is my preferred state of the bed. On my side, right about there my butt usually is, the fitted sheet had a different texture than the rest of the surface. On closer inspection, it was full of tears, kind of like a run in pantyhose.

“So, it looks like the fabric softener did ruin the sheets. It really seems to have damaged the more worn spots – I’m pretty sure we’ll have to throw these out.”

“Oh, that’s where your butt goes. Your butt must have put extra wear on the sheets.”

“No way! My butt didn’t — wait, can that happen?”

(You’ll understand that here, of course, I had a moment of insecurity – see: double pear, Two Butt – and, okay, I had a bit of a gassy pregnancy, but not any more gassy than – okay, maybe SLIGHTLY more gassy than the average person, but could that really RUIN the SHEETS?)

“Yep. Your butt put a weak spot in the sheets.”

“WAIT a second. If you flip the sheet around, this spot is where your disgusting, scaly MONSTER FEET would be.”

“Oh. Huh. You’re right.”


“But your butt finished them off.”


I’m planning something and it’s kept me pretty busy lately, and I expect it to keep me busy for a while longer yet. I’m pretty excited about it, but as with everything I do and cook, there is still the possibility that it will all blow up in my face or otherwise go terribly wrong, so I’m not quite ready to share all the details here yet. If it appears that all is going to go well with my small test group, I will, of course, let the rest of you know about it. Once danger of explosion has passed.

I hope it works out, though. It’s one of those things that I talked about the last time I got around to writing something here. One of those things that you think is something that only other people do, but it suddenly dawns on you that you could do it to, if you wanted to. So, aside from the silly stuff like getting married and having a baby, this is inarguably one of the “biggest” things I have ever done. And if it goes wrong, it will be the biggest thing I’ve ever fucked up. And if it goes right, I AM A HERO.

Well, not a hero. More likely briefly, but SIGNIFICANTLY AND SINCERELY celebrated. Which is probably as close to hero as I will ever get, unless someone who weighs very little needs to be awkwardly rescued from an extremely and freakishly slow burning building and there’s really just no one else at all around who can handle it.