Losing Streak

QUICKIE: Vincenzo was pretending to make a birthday cake out of his couscous by stirring it with his finger.  He pulled out his finger, held it out to Kevin, and asked, “Wanna lick the spatula?”
I have good news and I have bad news.  You all seem like the kind of people who like bad news first, so I will tell you that NO ONE guessed the three incorrect classes yesterday.  Not even people who know what city I live in and could have cheated.  I’ve said this before and I’ll have to say it again: you’re all a bunch of losers.

The fake classes are, in no particular order:
1.  Intermediate Juicing (because SERIOUSLY…)
2.  Excel as a Pedestrian (though the city is selling a video by this name)
3.  Yogaerobics (but if you want to take Yogalates, this is your town!)

Now for the good news: I’m feeling generous.  Five people guessed two classes correctly, so I’ll draw a winner from them.  I’ve gone ahead and assigned each of these half-losers a character from Candy Land.

Midwest Mommy, you are Jolly:


Tricia, you’re Mr. Mint


Jennifer J: you’re Lolly


Andrea: you’re Gramma Nut


McStreamy: you’re Red Square


I’ll be Princess Frostine, your beautiful and unconditionally loved leader.


I will now turn all the cards face down and call in the Royal Card Turner to choose the one and only winner of this competition.  Royal Card Turner?  Ahem, ROYAL CARD TURNER?  Oh.


Anyway.  Here’s the drawing.



Congrats, Midwest Mommy!  You can send your address to me at rachelabeto (at) hotmail (dot) com.

Win big!!!!

QUICKIE: Vincenzo: “Dad, remember when you were a little boy and I was already grown up…”
I just got my city’s catalog of recreation classes for the upcoming season.  I laughed my municipal arse off at some of these classes!  To make it more fun for you, we’re going to do this competition-style.  7 of these are real classes and 3 are made up.  Guess the 3 real ones in the comments and I’ll send you a set of these handmade birthday cards.


If you’re clever, I may even include envelopes.


1.  Gift Wrapping
2.  Beginning Juicing
3.  Intermediate Juicing
4.  Body Language
5.  Excel as a Pedestrian
6.  Drop-in Pinochle
7.  When to Worry
8.  Movie and Popcorn with the Community Center Advisory Board
9.  Yogaerobics
10.  Restless Leg Syndrome

Life’s full of tough choices, ain’t it?

Oh Santa, you shouldn’t have!

QUICKIE: K to V: “I’m going to yoga now.”  V: “Okay.  I hope there aren’t any robots there!”
Sorry it’s been awhile since I posted.  I’ve been too busy taking egg nog baths to blog this week.  (What else are you going to do with all the leftover nog?)

We had decided to be low-key on Christmas gifts this year since Vincenzo already has two of EVERYTHING.  Then at the last minute I decided I wanted him to wake up and see a big bean bag underneath the tree.  We found one no problem but try as we might we couldn’t find any filler.  So on Christmas morn’, when little Vincenzo rubbed the sleep out of his eyes to see a  piece of red cloth crumpled underneath the tree, JUST FOR HIM!!, he was notably less excited than his parents were.  When people asked him what Santa brought for Christmas later that day, he just said, “A candy cane.”

As for Kevin, after the Miracle Fruit fiasco I decided I better get a backup present.  And what would please my husband more than a swimsuit calendar for his office?  Better yet, a swimsuit calendar of ME?!  But, as I don’t own 12 swimsuits, nor access to a non snow-covered beach, I found a calendar that featured 12 girls whose bodies were uncannily similar to mine.  (It was hard to find as I am so much skinnier and my boobs are so much bigger than most swimsuit models’.)  I taped pictures of my own face atop each one.  Kevin loved it but made me add clothes because apparently hanging up a calendar of your wife in the office is not politically correct these days.  Here are a couple samples:




(It’s a pickle.)

And me?  I got a cheese grater and a set of sheets.  I’d write more, but my emotions are still sorting themselves out.

How about you?  What Christmas joys made your hearts aglow this holiday season?

The Christmas Gift

QUICKIE: Me to Vincenzo: “Who would win in a type-off, me or Daddy?”  Vincenzo: “Nobody.”  He’s right.  No one wins when Mom and Dad compete.
Last week a friend sent me a touching e-mail about someone who was making Christmas happen despite times being tough economically.  She didn’t have money for gifts so she scrounged some things from her cupboards then set to work, lovingly crafting what would be her family’s only gift this season.  I hope her story–and her gift–warms your heart this holiday season.


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maxi pad slippers

(If you are not laughing right now, you are probably a guy.  Show these to your wife and ask for a translation.)

I totally wanted to title this post “The Gift of the Maxi” (get it?  Magi?) but didn’t want to give it away.

Merry Christmas everyone!  May your heads be filled with super-absorbent sugar plums too!

Flakes among flakes

QUICKIE: Wendy to V: “What do you wear when you go out in the snow?” V: “Um, NUFFING!”
It doesn’t snow much where I come from.  I mean, it did when I was a kid and walked both ways uphill to school, but since my last day of 8th grade we’ve maybe had enough snow over all the years to scrape together one snowman–if we threw in the ice scrapings from our freezer.  This week, however, it’s been snow, snow, snow and we are behaving as expected: like a town of n00bcakes.  Check it out:

1.   Schools were canceled all over the area on Wednesday, not because it was snowing but because it MIGHT have snowed.  As it was, the sun came out, the birds sang, and the only flakes we saw were the ones on TV, reporting on WINTER STORM WATCH ’08 and noticeably over dressed for the weather.

2.  My neighbor has spent the past three days trying to get his car up his driveway into his garage.  Sometimes he tries it from the downhill side; sometimes from the uphill; sometimes he tries to catch his driveway by surprise, suddenly jerking the car to life from out of nowhere and hitting the driveway head-on.  So far nothing has worked, but it was really cool when the car came inches from flipping over and rolling down the driveway.

3.  I waved at said neighbor as he stood at the top of the driveway after another defeat but he just gave me a stony stare.  He probably thinks I’m going to tell him, “All’s you need to do is put some load in the back of yourn truck there,” like everyone else keeps telling him.  That, or he probably thinks it was ME who messed up his beautiful yard with a snowball fight earlier in the week.  (It was.)

4.  My other neighbor was seen attempting to RAKE a foot-deep snow out of his driveway.

5.  We went to Fred Meyer to stock up on storm supplies and it took two hours to finagle the crowd, only to discover they were out of chains, out of candles, out of flashlights, out of fire logs, out of handwarmers, and out of Bud Light.  We bought as much SPAM as we could carry, being the only thing in abundant supply, and went home feeling like rich folk.

Only the kids seem to know how to really handle the snow, as I have seen snow castles and igloos that would make an Inuit swoon.  Vincenzo and I watched from inside as my husband built himself a snowlady with graceful hydrangea hands and a pouty rose mouth.  Now he keeps going outside for hugs.  I’m  not worried though; she doesn’t look like the type who’s going to stick around.

M Week: not just for kids.

QUICKIE:  Me to V: “Do you want some crackers?” V: “Yes.  I want lots of crackers.  Like FIVE crackers.  A whole town of crackers!”
We just finished M week, and for those following along at home I will tell you there are so many things that start with M that you don’t really even need to plan it.  Just every once in awhile say to your child, “Hey, you’re drinking MILK!” or, “Look, we’re at the MALL!”  or “Because I’m you’re MOM and I told you to clean up this MESS.”  No extra teaching required; just say the M words louder than all the rest.  Oh, and be sure to stock up on marshmallows because once your child hears that they start with M there will be many heavy demands placed on you to keep the supply coming.  No worries, because R is for Rehab week is just around the corner.

Other secondary M themes we touched on were moody (although that one was really all Vincenzo); money (specifically the concepts of recession and the importance of consumer spending in times of economic downfall); and his mother, a MILF (hey, his friends were going to tell him if I didn’t).

The art project was our only real struggle.  The kid just won’t art anymore, and Kevin’s belts can’t hold up through many more lashings.  Kevin and I eked this monster painting out of Vincenzo, i.e. we made this project in front of him and pretended like it was the most fun thing we’ve ever done together.  Well–second most fun.


I squirted four blobs of paint on a piece of finger paint paper, stuck another paper on top, and squished the blobs around.  I lifted off the top sheet to dry then found a bunch of eyes/mouths in clip art that I printed and cut.  I glued them on and–TA DA!!  Monsters that look like a three-year-old made them!

While M week was rough in patches, for the first time ever Vincenzo answered one of his Week in Review questions correctly.

Me: Vincenzo, what letter did we study this week?
V: Meow.
Me: I’ll just tell you.  It was M.  Do you know any words that start with M?
V: Meow.

My son.  He’s so smrt.

Truly the Worst Xmas Gift Ever

QUICKIE:  I just wanted to thank Andrea for posting a picture of her fridge in response to last week’s post.  It confirms what I thought about my readers: you’re a bunch of smarta**es like me.

And now for the Humor Bloggers’ best/worst Christmas gift ever.  My worst gift ever comes to you straight from last week and involves a large box, some very tiny berries, and about $1,200.

This year, Kevin’s gift was going to blow all other gifts out of the holy water.  He had heard about something called Miracle Fruit that, when eaten, makes anything you eat afterwards taste sweet, no matter its natural flavor.  Well I happened to find a web site that sold them and I purchased a box of 30 fruit for $35.  Su-weet!  A $35 miracle!

My first clue that something was up happened when a $90 bill showed up on the credit card for a company called Miracle Fruits Exchange.  I spent the next few days trying to open the receipt they sent me via e-mail, to no avail.  Meanwhile, the box was delivered.  I took its picture next to a quarter so you can see the general size of it.  Not too shabby, eh?


And inside that box was another box.


And inside that box lay a packet of miracle fruit.


There it is!  A miracle!  My quarter grew eight times in size!

Well, actually, my quarter didn’t change size at all.  You are looking at a $90 packet of 30 very small berries, people.  I felt like Ralphie in A Christmas Story, when he finally receives the Little Orphan Annie decoder pin, only to find out the secret message is an ad about Ovaltine.

Meanwhile, our bank kept calling about recent credit card activity.  They do this often so we didn’t panick at all.  But when we tried to use our credit card and found out the account had been blocked, we panicked a little bit.  Turns out SOMEONE had gotten our credit card info and ordered over $1,000 in cash advances and other purchases to be sent to Romania.  It felt creepy.

Kevin checked out the Miracle Fruits Exchange site, which now looked completely different from anything I remember seeing, and which also sold miracle fruit for $90 not $35, and which also bought their security license the day after I ordered my miracle fruit.

We haven’t tried any of the miracle fruit yet but I’m pretty sure after everything I went through to get it, it’s just going make everything taste bitter.  Next year I think I’ll just get Kevin a tie.


Welcome to my first ever double-post day.  I just wanted to comment on President Bush’s being hit by a shoe in Iraq.  Apparently this is the worst possible insult an Iraqi can give–so bad they wouldn’t air it on Iraqi TV.  I was just wondering, what would the American equivalency of shoe-throwing be?  Sticking your tongue out?  Too childish.  Flipping him off?  Too MTV.  Spitting?  Too “Flavor of Love.” (that’s a link worth clicking on).

I think the American equivalency would be–ready for this?–the all-powerful, undeniably offensive, all-American BA.  Yes, it takes an American bottom waggling in the air to reproduce the gravity of a shoe being thrown in Iraq.

If you want a chance to throw shoes at the president yourself, spend a few minutes playing this game.

All I want for Christmas is my reputation

QUICKIE: Vincenzo: “Mom, let’s pretend you’re a person.”
Humor Bloggers is doing a “best/worst Christmas present ever” bash tomorrow, and I was going to post the following until this year’s present came.  I will thus spend today writing about false advertising and Internet crime , but in the meantime, here is the present formerly known as my worst Christmas present ever.  Enjoy.

My husband is a notoriously bad present hider.  He usually sticks my present somewhere like in my son’s closet, right next to the wet wipes I use every day.  Or there will be a very large charge to the WWE on our credit card that I couldn’t possibly overlook and that he didn’t warn me about but that earned me the title of “snoop” for years afterwards.  Kevin’s strategy has improved over the years, but only slightly.  For example, I am currently not allowed to dig too deep in my son’s 6″ deep underwear drawer because apparently there’s a little something for me in there.  (Anyone want to bet against me that it’s a toddler-sized turd?)  To regain my noble, non-snoopy reputation, I have kept my son in the same pair of underwear for two weeks now.

Last year’s Christmas present’s hiding place was classic.  A couple days before Christmas we ran out of TP upstairs.  Naturally, I headed to the garage to tap into our Y2K supply of TP and there, in plain sight, was a set of tiered serving platters in a brand-new box.  I quickly grabbed the rubber mallet off Kevin’s workbench and whammed myself in the head repeatedly so I might forget the Christmas present and NOT be accused of being a snoop for Christmas, but alas, the tiered serving platters were burned into my retinas.

You can imagine my delight on Christmas morn’ when I was presented a beautifully wrapped box–a box the size of, oh, a set of tiered serving platters, not to pigeon-hole it or anything.  I opened it up and pulled out…our own, batter-splashed hand-mixer.  Then our stained kitchen towels.  Then a pair of my husband’s briefs and some half-used candles.  I looked up at him questioningly, but he had already headed to the basement, yelling, “I give up.  SNOOP!”

Now why he thinks I had anything to do with the box’s content it is beyond me.  Why would I sabotage my own Christmas gift?  Me, who LOVES surprises almost as much as I love MYSELF!?

And just because I managed to come across a brand-new set of tiered serving platters for appetizers later that day doesn’t prove anything.

The Rise and Fall of Kevin

QUICKIE: Still nothing.  Vincenzo is stuck on yelling “NO!!!” all the time instead of saying super cute things.
When I first met Kevin in Y2K, he wore exclusively free Microsoft t-shirts; Eddie Bauer jeans, tapered somewhat for the perfect middle-age man look; tube socks; and no-name, misshapen tennis shoes.  Case in point:


I’m assuming he also had access to a large supply of date-rape drugs because I know I wouldn’t fall for someone in such a state of disarray.

For nicer occasions, Kevin would borrow a shirt and shoes from his father’s closet.


And for the most holy of holy occasions he’d pull out the Razor Ramon Oozing Machismo shirt.  (I believe this picture is taken from the Pope’s induction ceremony.)


Over the years, Kevin’s supply of date-rape drugs depleted and he realized he needed to change his look or lose me forever.  He experimented around at first.



…until he finally settled on this look: striped polo shirt + cool jeans + Puma shoes.


It works for him.  It works for us.  Or, that is, it was working until he came home from work one day looking like THIS.

ugly k

So tell me, is my husband just so cutting edge that I don’t get it…or is this a mid-life crisis?  I’m not sure which answer will make me feel better, but I think I deserve some answers here!