Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dirty Cups, Vol. 8496

First off, is everyone aware of the timelessness of the movie Ghostbusters?  Because my girls LOVE it.  I remember seeing it during one of our Swigart family gatherings.  I got to go with the older cousins.  Sorry about your luck, John and Rebecca.

This might have something to do with the fact that they like anything "spooky."  One of Morgan's favorite stories IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD is The Green Ribbon.  Look it up.  It is disturbingly morbid. We also have the Kid's Bop Halloween edition on loop in the car currently.

The point of that story is to ask the following question:  Will there ever be a time when someone asks you "Who you gonna call?" that you don't answer (at least in your head) "Ghostbusters!"

After spending some time with Nana Turtle and referring to Scott as "your son".
Zoe: You know, Daddy came out of Nana's tummy. Just like I came out of yours.
Mommy: Yes, I know.
Zoe: Where was I when Daddy came out of Nana's tummy?
Mommy: You weren't anywhere. You weren't born yet.
Zoe: So I was still at the doctor's office?
Mommy: Nooooo....you just didn't exist.
Zoe: But WHERE was I?


The night before my brother's wedding.
Morgan: I'm so happy for Barbi and Uncle John. Aren't you, Mom?
Mom: Yep.
Morgan: I wish Uncle Matt would marry Robyn. He would be very lucky to get a girl like her. (Brief pause) And then I could be THEIR flower girl.

Leaving my brother's wedding reception.
Gabe (my 10-year-old nephew): Bye, Uncle Scott. Thanks for teaching me how to break dance.

Yeah, that's how we roll.

Night before the first day of school.
I asked both girls to lay out what clothes they were going to wear the next day. When I got up to their room, I see that Morgan has picked out a nice pair of plaid shorts and a TWO YEAR OLD TIE DYED T-SHIRT she made for Daisy Scouts. So much for back to school shopping.

Mom: Why aren't you wearing any of your new clothes? (the shorts were nice, but not new)
Morgan: You didn't buy me any new shorts.
Mom: Okay....but we bought like five or six new shirts, including t-shirts. Why can't you wear those?
Morgan: I don't think they match my shorts.
Mom: Yeah, but they match OTHER shorts.
Morgan: Well...I could wear my new CeCe leggings?
Mom: Um, it's going to be 90 degrees tomorrow. Fine. Just wear it. Do not ask me to buy you new clothes again. EVER (this is very realistic and helpful)

Next day Morgan gets up and starts to put on her clothes, decides she doesn't think the shorts are stretchy enough for gym and proceeds to put on her purple soccer shorts instead. That is how I sent my kid to the first day of school. In a beat up old blue tie dye and Umbros. Oh yeah, and pink socks with sparkly pink sneakers.

Did I try this hard to be a social outcast at her age? I mean, I certainly don't want to be the mom to tell my kid she has to dress like everyone else, but COME ON. If you want to wear soccer shorts and tie dyes, fine. But I have to draw the line at pink socks and shoes.

That is why I didn't even bother taking a picture of her. That and the fact that it was raining and I didn't have an umbrella, so I didn't want to get out of the car at the bus stop.

Later that day...
Mom: How was your first day of school?
Morgan: It was GREAT, mom.

Contrarywise, today she wore the peasant blouse that she had on at school to soccer practice.

Okay. I surrender.

In case anyone is wondering...I took 274 photos at the wedding (see how annoying I could have been on facebook?). The best part about being the official photographer? I still got to boss my little brother around. Though I seem to be accused of embarrassing him ("often", according to the Best Man) I thought I showed remarkable restraint.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Paging Dr. Bauman to the North Horse Barn Immediately

The week of the Lorain County Fair. Back in the day, this was also known as the family vacation. We plopped our camper down in the circle on Saturday night, brought our “projects” in on Sunday and started a week of mass chaos. Imagine going on vacation with all your friends from school, but only half the supervision, because most parents still went to work during the day.

Several years ago, my aunt in Kansas asked my brothers and I to share our fair memories, so she could get her grandkids excited about started 4-H. I’m not sure this was what she had in mind, but this is what I sent her.

I dedicate this post to Gerri, Jenny, the Andolsek boys, and the Tansey cousins. If I could choose to live one week of childhood over it would be fair week 1988 - the summer before we started high school. I have added some text in italics as observations around my visit yesterday.


“Barn Duty” or “Barn Doodie” – You could hear this being yelled at any given time, in any given barn, to signify that someone’s horse, cow or steer just took a crap close to the public’s walkway and needed to be cleaned up. (They don't yell this any more and with the exception of the sheep and pig barn, most of the barns look like crap - literally. Kids have no respect for a clean barn. You could have EATEN off the floor of my barn was I was on barn duty.)

The year Zestie Bea freaked out because someone had to hammer in a stall gate and she ripped her nostril on the bucket hook, requiring the vet to give her a tranquilizer to stitch her up. And the year Zestie Bea freaked out because of the tractor pull and cut her eyelid on some unseen protrusion in her otherwise immaculate stall, requiring the vet to give her a tranquilizer to clean her up. Oh wait…same year. (I can still see the look on Dr. Bob's face when he realized he was seeing the same horse. I will also never forget how heavy a horse becomes when you are trying to keep it from falling down due to tranquilizers.)

Midway Obstacle Course – For some reason my friend and I found it very fun to see how fast we could complete a walk around the midway at its most crowded time without bumping in to anyone. Yes, entertainment! (The Midway has not changed. At all. It is still filled with idiots who will try to get in my way. However, Zoe totally hustled one of the games and came out with a "jumbo" prize stuffed dog which is currently named Bert Brady. It's a girl. It cost me a whole $3.)

Asking mom for money to get some dinner; then asking dad for money to get some dinner. Dinner would consist of either one slice of the greasiest pizza known to man or two ice cream sandwiches. Remaining money spent trying to win a mouse. (Last stop yesterday was at the Milk Barn for an ice cream sandwich. FYI - Milk Barn is the name of the booth, I didn't milk a cow and make my own ice cream sandwich. FYI 2 - For the love of god, people. All cows are girls, all steer are boys. Why it still drives me crazy when people call steer "cows" is beyond me, but it REALLY does.)

If not on Barn Duty, the Sheep Barn was the only other acceptable place to hang out. Close enough to see parents entering from the campground gate, but far enough not to hear them calling you before you snuck out of the barn the other way. (I heard there were some next generation Andolsek boys with some winning lambs this year! I once won a ribbon for participating.)

“Horse Backing” and “Horse Coming Through” – Our own way of proving to everyone that we were in charge and everyone must bow down to us and get out of our way. (They still do this. My faith is restored.)

Convincing first timers they must get licked by a steer and/or thrown in the manure pile as a right of passage. (The manure piles didn't seem as big this year, the horse people have switched thier bedding from straw to saw dust. That is probably not as fun to get thrown into. Personally, I don't feel complete without touching the sandpaper tongue of a steer once a year.)

Sitting in the Born's camper when everyone was "home." I defy anyone to not laugh when Bill, Donna, Jason and Molly are all in he same confined space. Three stand up comedians and the exhausted wife and mother. "Oh, Molly." I can hear Donna's tone of disapproval like it was yesterday. Man, I love that woman.

But the best part about fair...

Camp circle fry pies.

Going to bed while you could still hear the parents talking softly around the fire through the thin camper walls.

Waking up at dawn while it is still foggy (it was always foggy in the morning) and cold (it was always cold in the morning) and the closer you get to the barns you start hearing the roosters and then the cows as they are led to the milking stations, but that is it. Everything else is silent. Everybody’s eyes are half-closed. The animals are still lying down. But at some point, and you can’t put your finger on it, everything changes. People are yelling for misplaced pitchforks or a horse is kicking a stall or someone turns on a radio and it starts all over again.

There are a few times I have come close to this early morning silence, but without the roosters and cows, it's just not the same.

It makes me a little sad that my kids won't be in 4-H, but then again it's changed so much they would have never had my experience anyway. Zoe did request a draft pony so she could drive it in a cart. I told her to ask Papa. Morgan would still prefer a rabbit. I think a goat would be absolutely ideal.

My scrapbook from this era was pretty much destroyed in a basement water incident, but I did manage to salvage a few things.

My 1988 exhibiter's pass.

 Me and Zestie Bea's first year together.

Good times...good times.

Andolsek boys.

 Last horse show in 4-H 1991.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Quick and the Dead


Movie I got sucked into this week for no apparent reason: The Quick and the Dead
Released: 1995
Starring: Gene Hackman (Herod), Sharon Stone (The Lady), Russell Crowe (Cort), and Leonardo DiCaprio (Kid)
Synopsis (from IMDB): Lady avenger returns to western town owned by a ruthless gunslinger hosting an elimination tournament.
My Rating: 3 Stars

Rating Scale:

5 An All-Time Favorite
4 Excellent Movie (not one I would watch over and over)
3 Entertaining (has some redeeming quality that sucks me in)
2 Hope I Never Have to See Again
1 Two Hours of My Life I Will Never Get Back (but will probably watch again)

This is Russell Crowe’s first movie in the states. Nobody knew him. L.A. Confidential (4 Stars) won’t come out for two more years. When it does people will think, “Where the hell did this guy come from?” He came from The Quick and the Dead, people. I don’t know how you didn’t see it coming. His hair alone could catapult him to fame.

The “lady avenger” is played by Ms. Sharon Stone who completely rocks these awesome leather chaps almost the entire movie. I mean if I looked this good in my chaps…yeah, I would probably need five or six more inches of leg. Her character should be kick ass, and she does have her moments, but definitely the weakest link in this movie.

Leo is soooo young. Like Crowe, he is two years away from his Titanic (3 Stars) role, but it’s practically the same character. All cocky and smart-ass.

Gene Hackman. Is it really possible that the last movie this guy did was in 2004? Apparently, he announced his retirement from acting in 2008. Who knew? He has 99 movies to his credit on IMDB. The only three characters I ever liked: Jim McGinty (The Replacements – 3 Stars), Coach Norman Dale (Hoosiers – 5 Stars), and Reverend Scott (The Poseidon Adventure – 5 Stars). Note: He was also very good playing characters I hated.

Obviously, the lady rides into town wanting some sort of revenge on Herod, who is a ruthless sonofabitch that everyone cowers before. It’s definitely personal.

Why People Didn’t Like This Movie

Implausible Plot 1. Why would a man who already has complete control of a town, decide to throw AND PARTICIPATE IN a gunslinger tournament? Allegedly, this is all to force Cort (who has become a preacher) to kill people again, like back in the good ol’ days when they were buds. I don’t get it.

Implausible Plot 2. The lady can’t bring herself to just shoot Herod during one of her millions of chances, but she can participate in a tournament where she will be forced to shoot/kill at least three other people she doesn’t even know before having the chance to face off with him in an unfair gunfight.

Implausible Plot 3. The Lady sleeps with the Kid.

Implausible Plot 4. The Lady doesn’t sleep with Cort. Did she not notice his hair?

Crowe is trying unsuccessfully to hide his New Zealand accent in some sort of old west boarding school accent. He would probably have gotten away with it if the writing wasn’t completely and utterly horrendous, causing you to cringe every 30 seconds or so.

Why I Liked This Movie

Despite the implausible plots (including those not mentioned), bad accents, and atrocious writing; I really do like this movie. And it all comes down to the last 10-15 minutes.

We have already found out that not only is Herod responsible for the death of the lady’s father, the former Marshall of the town, but he had given her the chance to save him. The ten-year-old Ellen was given a pistol and told if she could shoot the rope that had her dad strung up, he could live. Ellen ends up shoot her dad in the head. So, yeah, she had issues.

But now she is allegedly dead – killed by Cort in the semi-final round. And Cort’s been pretty much beaten to a pulp by Herod’s henchman, which displeases Herod to no end, leading to my first favorite scene.

Herod tells Ratsy he has 15 seconds to get out of there and Ratsy runs off like a scared rabbit, while Herod continues to calmly taunt Cort and seems to forget about the chicken shit. Then out no where he yells “Times up, Ratsy!” grabs a rifle from another henchman, fires a shot to bring down the man more than 100 yards away and tosses the rifle back. All in about 1.5 seconds. Perfectly choreographed.

So then as Herod and Cort are about to draw there are all sorts of explosions and what not, because of course the lady faked her death with some ink from a blind kid and a little white lie from the town’s doctor, an old family friend. Of course.

Then the second best scene is Cort’s little killing spree of the remaining henchmen, proving that he most definitely still has some skill. It’s like kung fu moves, with old revolvers and rifles.

Then you’ve got the lady’s big reveal to Herod and her calling him out.

Herod: “You’re not fast enough for me.”
Lady: “Today I am”

Then Herod looks down and sees the hole in his shadow, which is impossible because the sun is practically overhead so he wouldn’t even have a shadow, but it’s all good. And she blows him away again, just in case he thought he wasn’t dead. Then she picks up the Marshall badge she had flung at him and tosses it back to Cort, whose razor sharp reflexes nab it.

“The law’s come back to town.” And she leaves. She LEAVES! Without smooching Cort! Or asking him where he gets his hair done!

And yet, I will watch again. What is wrong with me?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Middle-Class-People Problems

Can we all just agree that the world changes and we change with it? And sometimes change is good and sometimes change tastes like a big horse turd?

When my generation starting having kids, all we heard from the old farts was “back in my day” we didn’t have Boppies, Bumbos and Travel Systems. Yeah...sucks to be you.

And then our kids started growing up and all we keep wondering is why they aren’t playing outside till dinner time, living in fear of their “father coming home” and finding joy in sinking someone’s battleship.

I’m a middle of the road kind of parent with a “what doesn’t kill you will teach you not to put your finger in the electric socket” attitude. But that doesn’t mean I don’t constantly feel like I’m being judged. And I freely admit, that people might not give a shit about what I do, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling that way. I blame Mark Zuckerberg.

So here it is. My philosophy. I’m just going to lay it out there if only so you can judge me with a little more authority on the subject.

I dig juice boxes. Considering my childhood beverage of choice was Kool-Aid (and not that sugar-free piss – real Kool-Aid), I figure juice boxes at least offer some modicum of nutritional value along with the sugar. I’m also not opposed to desserts at lunch AND dinner as long as they ate something healthy at both of those meals.

My kids don’t wash their hands every ten seconds. Yes, I’ve tried my best to instill the “after the toilet” hygiene. And I’m not opposed to washing hands before you sit down for a meal. But if you want to play in a dirt pile, pick up barn cats, and then go steal fish out of Uncle Mike’s bucket before having a Popsicle. Meh. Whatever. Guess what? My kids have had no major illness of record.

I’m the first to admit safety was a little lax back there in the 70s and 80s. Car seats, shmar seats. The back of a pick up was a sweet ride. And helmets only existed if you were trying to do some Evil Knievel stunt off your neighbor’s roof. (Trying to be Mary Poppins off the front porch did not require head protection.)

So yeah, the child mortality rate has benefited. My kids sit in boosters still and put on helmets if the bike is leaving the driveway. Some of this also has to do with protecting my kids from the larger amount of ass hats on the road these days rather than my or their own stupidity.

But don’t be deceived that the safety didn’t come without a cost. Kids have a lot more anxiety these days than we did. How could they not? They can’t leave the house without a lecture on Stranger Danger or the deathtrap attributes of a trampoline.

When we were kids, we were invincible. We walked out of our houses and let the screen door slam behind us without ever once thinking we might not make it home again. There is a fine line these days between cautioning your kids and scaring the bejesus out of them.

That little thing called television. My kids watch it. A lot. Probably too much. But even though television wasn’t my go to entertainment as a child, I can guarantee when I did sit down to watch something it was in no way, shape or form educational. Unless you count learning “Mom always says, don’t play ball in the house.”

So my 4-year-old knows how to say “thank you” in Spanish and my 7-year-old has been on countdown to Shark Week. As long as they aren’t drawing pictures for therapists to represent all of the ways I neglect them, I’m still in the win column.

And yes, mark me down for JEALOUS of all the moms that have gotten their kids to like vegetables more than cookies, spend time in their preschooler’s classroom, and have more than 30 minutes a weekday to play “make believe”. I’ve sacrificed. I’m aware.

But you know what my kids are pretty great at?
Being polite.
Making up bedtime stories.
Waiting their turn.
Helping each other.
Giving hugs and Eskimo kisses.
Being kind to stray animals.
Saying “I love you.”

All that, and without being breastfed.