Sunday, June 29, 2014

Want To Hear Fabulous Music? Take Planes, Train, Automobile, a Ferry, A Brilliant Friend, And A Lucky Green Shirt. Travel Tips, by Allison:

So,  one of the  (few, totally worth it)
drawbacks to excellent, fabulous,
Will Travel For Music Festival Trips,
 with Bestest Music Friend Ever K is this:

There is a ton of stuff, in piles -
 either FORM or laundry format,
waiting for me upon my return.

Plus I am all worn out by the awesome.

And in recent Governor's Ball in NYC,
fabulous music overload with fabulous friend,
involving cars, planes, taxis,
trains, subway,
and FERRY?
 (Note: Also tons of walking.
 And standing.
Also dancing. Does that count as cardio?)

I arrive home in time for eleventy end of whatever school closings,
 requiring my children to sing or play the violin,
plus spring concerts and swim team is starting up,
and WHERE are the goggles???
I buy three billion goggles every summer????

Anyway, frying pan into fire.

I have no time to even see if I got any decent pictures or video,
or remember which bands we saw which day.
All that awesome kind of blurs.

So I do what I always do when I try to remember something,
 and I can't figure out where I was when.

I ask myself:

What was I wearing?

I always know what I wore to what place when.

Starting with preschool.

I'm not exaggerating, it is how I remember things.
I certainly am NOT wearing a watch.

So I remember things via sartorial evidence.

Or what was up with my hair,
if I have to do like the Phone A Friend extra help option.

Hair Evidence is normally not needed because:

1. I remember what I wore when,
am savant.
Wish I had a more useful skill, but I do not.

2. If my hair is bad,
I have most likely thrown away or deleted the picture,
 so there aren't many situations I can rely on hair evidence.

I can tell you what I wore for a second grade spelling bee
(pink shirt, pink and green wrap shirt, matching purse).

Or fourth grade first day at a new school
(pink oxford cloth button down shirt, khaki shorts,
barrettes I wove ribbons in to match - I was in a preppy phase.)

Is way less horrifying than some of my middle school phases,
such as:

1. Strawberry quilted coat,  creepy giant old person tinted glasses,
 and Michael Jackson gloves,
 hiding hideous poison ivy rash,
 beginning middle school World's Most Unfortunate Outfit

2. Panama hat and white jacket adorned with Duran Duran pins -
homage to one Mr. John Taylor.
This was before I realized -
 you weren't necessarily supposed to DRESS like your pretend floppy haired musician boyfriend,
and in fact,
you should probably NEVER do that.

I remember what I was wearing on random occasions,
 as well as special days.
I remember what I was wearing last Girl Scout troop meeting,
so I don't repeat my ensemble and make M the eight year old stylist grumpy.

I am like Mnemosyne from Greek mythology,
minus the cool name.
Plus remembering my outfits,
instead of every single thing that happens?
Greek myths may indicate there some Narcissus mixed in.
Fine, whatever.

Back up there?
When I was talking about the music festival?
And how I was trying to remember which bands,
which days,
where was I?

(Note: I do remember what I was originally talking about.
I digress,
will meander down the primrose path,
or yellow brick road,
or streets of Manhattan,
but I will get back to my topic eventually.
I promise.)

Delay in cataloging,
or getting two seconds to blissfully recall the show?
Due to having to pay the piper for being away during crazy,
hectic time of year?

Means I have to piece together which day was which,
and what we saw and did,
based on my outfit.

I know I could just go look at the festival calendar and see who played when,
but that is cheating.

I realize that one of the days,
the We Are Not Messing Around Day?

Music Festival Day Categories, by Allison

1. Day One:
Get there,
figure out the lay of the land,
check out bands,
plot best spot for Day Two,
while having excellent day,
involving refreshments and people watching,
as well as music.

This is like, baby pool.
Bunny Slope.
And also recon mission for Day 2 plotting.

2. Day Two:
in our various festival experiences,
Day Two is We Are Not Messing Around Day.

We know where the stages are,
and fate/wily music festival people have the lineup we want,
on one stage,
with hours in between,
for us to revel in the grim conditions,
and lack of food, water,
or personal space.

It will be sluggish, hot, stagnant day.
Or rainy and cold, doofuses wielding umbrellas day.

Pick your extremely yuk weather condition,
and stand in it for hours.

Why would anyone do this, you ask?

And I answer:
Because it is awesome!

Like, why you fly to cities far away,
and take every means of transportation other than hovercraft -

(Note: That would be so cool, a hovercraft?
Please someone get on that.
Also, I would like a time machine.
So I can see shows that I have missed.)

The music, the overall vibe (minus the doofuses),
hanging out with Bestest Music Friend Ever K,
as well as other music fanatics all packed together like sardines?

All those people (minus the doofuses),
 plus all that music?

But on We Are Not Messing Around Day,
We Do Not Mess Around.

we have our game plan
(In this case, Broken Bells, Jack White),
And we settle in,
as close as we can get,
to a scalding hot barrier,
the best way to hold a spot for hours.

Because we heart these bands times a trillion,
and want to see them up close.

And we wait, interspersed by crazy good music.

Which rules.

And then we lurch like zombies out of the park.
Happy, sated with awesomeness zombies.

3. Day Three:
This is the day after Day Two.
In Which We Were Not Messing Around.

Day Three starts a little slower.

We have brunch on Day Three.

We mosey over to the show, have a blast,
and do not voluntarily shut ourselves into metal, grated corners all day.

Is more mellow.

Although actually,
I did decide I needed to be on the barrier for Vampire Weekend,
so I take that back.
But still.

Tangent Over!

The reason I went off on that tangent?
In hunting through the photos I took from the festival,
I can tell which day is which,
because of my outfit.
Which included?

Lucky Green Shirt !!!!

(Note: I love my Lucky Green Shirt.
It was acquired for me by awesome friend hunting the Earth for it,
after I saw it and did not buy it,
but then wanted it,
and tragedy -
it was gone from every store ever ever,
and I would not stop pitching a fit,
and my awesome friend magically found one,
from Mars or something,
and it is my lucky shirt. )

I wore Lucky Green Shirt on We Are Not Messing Around Day Two of the music festival.
For good luck,
plus also I love that shirt.
So now I can remember who we saw that day!

Based upon the following evidence:

Me, and Lucky Green Shirt,
worn as talisman,
 so we would get excellent barrier spot for We Are Not Messing Around,
Where Are Broken Bells and our sunblock? afternoon.
You can see by the fact that I am wedged into a corner of barrier that the shirt,
and our strategy, is working!!

Because look where we were not!
We were SO not in the middle of those people,
far away from scalding hot barrier of excellent music coming soon.
And I am apparently feeling very smug about that,
given the cat who ate the canary expression I have on,
along with my Lucky Green Shirt.
But here is why I was so pleased with myself:
Broken Bells!
Playing October, I love that song!
I love them.
Bestest Music Friend K is brilliant strategist, 
with minor assist from my Lucky Green Shirt.
And I know the picture below is of waiting for more awesome music,
 in that same spot by the scalding barrier on the same day,
due to brilliant deductive sartorial analysis:
Since I am a terrible photographer on the best of days,
you can barely see Lucky Green Shirt,
but that was during super sunny, hot,
 smooshed wait for The Strokes.
This is a new friend we made, she was with her dad,
who was making sure she was hydrated and happy. (She was.)
 It was cool to see a dad and daughter spending quality time,
 smooshed in the heat at a music festival. 
That was adorable.
It is nice when the people you are smooshed with are as cool and friendly as they were.
And I know this is pre-The Strokes playing,
because that was a very enthusiastic crowd,
some of whom got heat stroke or whatever,
 and had to be handed overhead to security,
 and we'd been at our barrier spot a good while -
(And were not budging.
 Jack White was coming up, you could not pry us off that barrier),
and I was visibly a hot mess,
in my Lucky Green Shirt.
I am kind of regretting not deleting that picture,
but it is evidence of what day it was.
 Lucky Green Shirt, total wreck me.
 But still happy because?
 Jack White!!!!
Who was fabulously insanely good.
  I have no photos of that,  
because he doesn't like cell phones at shows and we were so close!!!
(Strategy! Perseverance! Brilliant Friend K! Lucky Green Shirt!)
Even without proof (though you can YouTube it or hear live feed somewhere),
it ruled.
And all was well.
Look at that charming, fairy lights and happy crowd scene.
Behind us!
Because We Were Not Messing Around.
But also we had a total blast and saw many, excellent and fabulous bands.
I can't go into all of that, though,
 because I think my phone either died,
or I can't tell what I was wearing,
so I am not an unimpeachable witness.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Ditch the Sugarplum Fairy and the Pony, But Bring The Butcher Knife, or Tips On How To Throw A Successful Kid Birthday Party Without Losing Your Mind, by Allison

So Matt just emailed me a picture from V's first birthday.

The picture was adorable,
 I love her "you are totally embarrassing me, take this dumb hat off of my head, where is the cake and the pony" face.

But that particular day brings up waaaay too many cringe-worthy memories for me to just say "She was so little! Time Flies!"

My memory needs no refreshing when it comes to that day,
as it is otherwise known as
Allison's First Ridiculously Absurd Overblown Child's Birthday Party Planning Disaster.

In fact, I have a whole collection of Ridiculously Absurd Overblown Child's Birthday Party Disasters.

I wish that were not the case, but there are photos proving otherwise.
It took me approximately fifteen of my various daughters' various birthday parties before I stopped the insanity.
The first non-disaster,
when M was 7?
And her birthday party was the most lovely, peaceful, non-horror-show event?

Matt and I were looking at each other like,
when does the bloodshed start?

(Spoiler!! No blood!
Not even a scratch!
Or an evil clown!
Or animals!
Or other mayhem!)

Just a few little girls getting their nails painted and then cupcakes.

It would have been better for everyone involved if I had stopped being insane before the INDOOR PONY,
 and the BAD CLOWN,
 and the BALLERINA SHOW and all,
but no.)

So I am feeling like being a good citizen, a benevolent benefactor today,
and in case I am not the only one who is LUNATIC child birthday party planner,
before I was soundly defeated by my own idiocy,

I am generously sharing the following helpful advice:

Allison's Tips On How To Celebrate Your Child's Birthday Without Being Crazy Person:

I am generously sharing the following advice:

1. When organizing your first child's first birthday, pay attention to what season it is. For example, if it is still winter, an outdoor petting zoo might not work out very well. Especially if it is sleeting.

2. If it is sleeting during the supposed outdoor petting zoo for your one year old who does not know a thing about what is going on as she is one year old
(Note: No parent ever ever will believe you if you tell them this information,
that their one year old has no clue whatall is going on.
I certainly ignored sage advice from just about everyone because V was genius savant miracle child who surely would appreciate and remember the petting zoo and all details of this giant party),
do NOT bring the petting zoo inside.

(Note: I realize this is the part where you say, Allison is a total liar and cannot even tell believable lies. But everything in this whole Tips For Parties list is true. I am not exaggerating, I wish I were, but alas, I was actually lunatic enough to do all the things I say I did, and more that I do not wish to recall)

3. If the petting zoo lady says, "No, it is sleeting, I am not bringing the pony and iguana and ducks and snake and such", do NOT beg and bribe her to bring them anyway as not to disappoint your one year old who has no idea any of this is happening.

4. If the petting zoo lady shows up with the animals you begged her to bring, DO NOT bring the animals in the house.

Who would do that?

A pony?
For real?

(Spoiler!!! I totally did that.)

Ducks in a barrel? An iguana on a leash?
All in my house, for the enjoyment of my daughter who is still a baby and her baby friends who have no idea what is happening? NOT a good idea.
But, Silver Lining: All adults in attendance got a laugh and/or a "Whew, thank the heavens I am not married to her" out of it. Well, all adults except for Matt.

Pony. I have pictures.

5. Learn your lesson after Ponygate 2002. Do NOT pretend none of that happened and throw another giant party for your next one year old, this time taking weather into account but not thinking about how it would totally be horrible if you hired a BAD CLOWN to come to your house and scare the babies AND the parents.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Breaking News!!! Observing Hammock Dude, A Bizarre, Ridiculous, Ludicrous Tradition Gets Way, Way More Ludicrous! by Allison


In the world of random lunacy,
that becomes a tradition amongst the girls and me,
our routine of driving past House of Hammock Dude,
and noting whether he is or is not in his hammock -

(Note: Mostly that is a yes.
Almost always.
Except today)

And what, if any,
perplexing changes to Dude's Hammocking are happening?

As our route to all the places we go involve driving by Hammock Dude's house,
and Observing Hammock Dude is way better car activity than the girls squabbling over whatever ,
or pulling out phones or whatever.

Really, the car is the only time I really have them captive,
 and can extract details of their day and their lives from them -
they cannot escape.

Today was a banner day in What In The World Is Up With That?
regarding Hammock Dude.

V and I were driving home after she played in the orchestra at Middle School Closing -

(Note:  Different day from Lower School Closing.
I am drowning in events,
now that dance rehearsals and performances are done.
But the scent of sunblock and chlorine ,
and the dulcet tones of my girls screeching over goggles and towels,
means it is time to switch my brain into summer
(meaning swim team and swim meets) mode.)

And we are stopped at the red light on the fairly major, busy four-lane road,
the light that if we are stuck with a red light,
we have ample time to Observe Hammock Dude?

Total Nonsense.

V, who is exhausted after ten thousand events in which she has attended, performed, or both,
and is mostly a violin playing zombie, rightfully so-
is like,
 "Mom? Hammock Dude is doing something weird."

Understatement of the year.

Hammock Dude has dragged a yuk brown sofa out of his home and placed it next to his chronic hammock.

Hammock itself is empty.

Yuk sofa contains Hammock Dude,
and a guitar which is totally a prop because he is not holding it right or playing it at all.
This stupid red light lasts long enough for us to assess this scene.

If you want to add to the list of What Is Up With Hammock Dude?)

He has a homemade, cardboard sign propped against the sofa thing.

It says "Will Rock For Peace."


He seems very pleased that the two of us were Observing his (proximity to) Hammocking.
Because of course, he is smack up on a major road,
looking to see who is looking at him.

But he was lucky he could not hear the conversation in our car, which was:

Me: "Please tell me that sign does not say Will Rock For Peace."

V: "Sorry. That's what is says.
Why is he on a sofa instead of the hammock right next to him?"

Me: "Remember what I told you and your sisters about dudes with sofas in their yards?"

V: "Not to buy anything they are selling out of a box,
or marry them?"

Me: "Yes.
He is not hammocking,
he is attention-seeking, overtly,
with this sofa and guitar he doesn't know how to even play and faux Peace on Earth sign."

V: "Will Rock For Peace?
What does that even mean?"

Me: "It means he is so clueless he isn't even in his hammock,
and you can rock in a hammock,
and so his sign could have
(by generous hearts, not mine)
been seen as a play on words,
with the hammock rocking and the guitar prop which allegedly can rock,
although he is holding it like a tennis racket,
and no rocking of any kind is happening."

V: "At least he has his shirt on."

Me: "Good point.
You know what we are doing?
We are Ham Mocking.
I hate puns, you know that,
but he is pulled up to the side of a busy road,
putting on this nonsense peacock display of I do not even know what -
next to his hammock, and I can't help it.
He's an attention-seeking ham,
and we are mocking him."

V: "True."

Me" "Really, ignoring him is the best way to make this nonsense stop,
but we are stuck at this red light,
and it is a family tradition,
Observing Hammock Dude.
Isn't it so fun when we are in the car alone together?"

V: "At least you aren't talking about music."

Me: "I can, in one second, if you bait me like that.
Instead, let's vote on who gets to tell your sisters and dad about this new Observation."

V: "Mphf."

V got to tell her sisters - I am not kidding,
Observing Hammock Dude is a tradition like normal families have, like,
 taco night or something.
I don't know.
We aren't normal.

(Though I am all for any night in which themed food is cooked by someone other than me,
but that is not one of our traditions so far.
We do things like dress up in costumes like the Incredibles family and surprise Matt on his birthday.)

E and M were all,
"Why wasn't he in his hammock?
Is the sofa different from the weird chair that is already in his yard?"

(Note: We are not stalkers.
When we get stuck at that red light,
Observing Hammock Dude is the only distraction until the light turns green.
I think that is why he lives there.)

And as I am writing this I realize,
I did not go into the whole backstory like I usually do.
I apologize for the brevity (subjective brevity but whatever).


Observing Hammock Dude, or Another Absurd Activity Enjoyed by Allison and her Daughters,
by Allison:

So the drive home from the gym, and also the girls' school,
and lots of other places,
involves passing this one particular house that is known in our family as Home of Hammock Dude.

We call it this inventive name,
because in this house lives a dude who is ALWAYS in his hammock,
which is placed prominently smack in the middle of his yard,
 right by this main road where cars drive by all day and night.

Hammock Dude is also always shirtless.

He's not horrifying, in fact he reminds me of the character Brad Pitt played in True Romance -

(Note: and purely for informational purposes I have been google imaging Brad Pitt for quite a while just now,
but it was ONLY to further this pointless narrative,
it was not because I was plotting to make another laminated Brad Pitt wall since the one I had in law school no longer exists)

That character who is always lounging, totally high,
oblivious to the entire universe?

Here's the Brad Pitt one, and now that I think of it,
it would have been great if he had been shirtless in that movie,
since that would help the character development.

So Hammock Dude is not at Brad Pitt level, or I would know his name -

(JOKING!!! Hammock Dude is a professional lounger in hammocks,
that would not earn enough to support my tea habit)

but he gives off that same slouchy,
slightly scuzzy but not unattractive,
clueless but harmless vibe.

And he is ALWAYS in his hammock.

All the time.

No matter what, unless it is during ice storm,
and he may be in the hammock then too,
I am just not driving in ice storm to go check.

The girls keep track of Hammock Dude on their way home from school daily for update,
which is always "Hammock Dude was in his hammock."

I see him all the time, lounging away, never a shirt,
never doing a thing
(Note: Not even reading! Reading is awesome in a hammock!)
other than being in the hammock.

And now I have written hammock so much I think I am spelling it wrong so going to check on that now, whew, had it right, moving on. . .

Anyway, today is major breakthrough in Observation of Hammock Dude.

Apparently, professional hammock lounging is not earning him enough (or any) money to pay the rent or buy a shirt or weed,
because he is now Hammock Dude,
The Entrepreneur.

And I am pretty sure that he has completely baked his brain out of his head through whatever he has injested or smoked or whatever.
Or maybe just gone insane from doing nothing other than hammocking for years.
(It has been years, really,
that we have been Observing Hammock Dude).

Because his business?
Is selling warm generic soda out of a brown cardboard box,
conveniently located right next to hammock,
so he can continue to lounge while running this very thriving enterprise.

Of selling gross warm fake drinks for two dollars a can.
I know the price,
 because he has very cleverly made a cardboard sign that reads "Coke 2 $."

This sad sign is also very inaccurate,
because there is not Coke in that box,
it is clearly Food Lion generic versions of random sodas.

And also?
The dollar sign should come in front of the 2 if he is going to word it like that.
And also?
Two dollars for yuk warm soda can?

All of that is absurd.

And of course the girls want to stop and check out this very booming business of NO ONE buying Hammock Dude's drinks,
to add another thing to the list of why Hammock Dude needs to rethink his business model?
He lives on a super busy road,
and you can't easily hop off of it and go buy your nasty warm drink, which you would never do anyway.
And then to get back on the road would be worse.

And I am all,"Girls, why do you want to get gross drinks that I will not let you drink from Hammock Dude?"

And they are all, "He's doing something different, it's exciting!"

And I am all,
"We are not stopping for gross yuk drinks at Hammock Dude's pretend store.
We can be fascinated by the fact that he is always in his hammock,
because that is strange,
and its constancy can amuse us,
and his dedication to hammocking can impress or confuse us,
but we are not going to go hang out with him,
because he is a stranger,
and also a shirtless Hammock Dude,
and your dad would kill me,
and to make this an educational experience?
Let's discuss his bad business plan,
and how you will never ever date any guy who has a job of professional hammock lounger." 

And as further proof that I am Mother of the Year,
I also added to that list Dudes Who Sit on Sofas That Are Outside of Their Homes. 

My duty is done for the day,
now can go back to google imaging
(Or not, I may go teach the girls long division, you'll never know.)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Rock, Paper, Scissors, Bath!! It May Be Absurd But It Worked, a Victory: by Allison

So tonight, as I am assembling dinner,
(Note: I cannot call it cooking.
It feels like I put the proper healthy things on plates,
but I derive no joy from it,
so I get an assembly line vibe)
I realize there is enough time for one of the girls to get in the bath before dinner,
thus making after-dinner bath-book-bed march less of a Byzantine dilemma.

Matt is at the hospital doing good deeds,
so there is no reasonable, rational person in this house to stop my nonsense.

There should be no need for nonsense anyway.

On a normal day, the girls squabble over who gets the first bath,
and they have rules and agreements they have made amongst themselves that I do not know because I do not want to know.

But tonight?
Bizarro World.

Nobody will take the first bath, which is all warm and fab,
 and I am like,
"What is wrong with you girls? You normally fight over who gets this bath?
Stop changing all the time!
It is exhausting."

And since I am left to my own devices,
which can never be considered reasonable or rational,
I try to think of a lure, a bait,
or a way to spin the first bath into something awesome.

(Note: The bath is already awesome.
And they know that,
 and bicker over that issue every other day but today.)

Since I know, kind of,
when dinner assembly stuff will be ready:

(Note: I don't wear a watch.

I know I have a time constraint (I HATE those) to get somebody into that bath.

Bribery to take a bath seems like a totally horrible,
I will regret that in the long term idea.
Nothing to use as blackmail.
Can't take the time to write a contract or have a dance - off.

And then I thought, what is the Cro Magnon,
easiest and quickest thing I can come up with in two seconds?

Answer: Rock, Paper, Scissors.

Only other quick thing I could think of was "pick a number between one and ten."

I can't tolerate the "pick a number between one and ten" contest.
Because there is no way to prove the person with the alleged number in their head is not totally lying and orchestrating things unfairly.

And I can't think of anything else I can do extemporaneously.

So I'm like,
"Hey girls?
Get out of wherever you are sequestered hiding from me,
we are going to do a Rock, Paper, Scissors thing."

And that is apparently siren call - they all appear in front of me in two seconds.

So I am like, "Ok. You guys are clearly deranged and nobody wants this awesome first bath.
It is now Rock, Paper, Scissors for the bath."

The following ensues:

M: "Does the winner get the bath,
or not have to take a bath,
or pick a sister to take the bath?"

V: "You can't play Rock, Paper, Scissors with three people."

E: "I vote V takes the bath."

(Internally thinking, drat.
I did not think about all these rules and how I can make this play out with three people.
I am going to have to make up some stuff fast.)

(Speaking off the top of my head,  not silently lamenting):

"Ok. Here are the rules:

1. You cannot invent something like "nuclear fire bomb with spikes" or "end of the world."

2. Rock, Paper, Scissors.
No other options.

Anyone who makes up something,
or deviates from the three options is automatically disqualified,
and gets the first bath.

By the way,
is warm and foamy and you are all crazy people for not jumping in it right now.

3. No Two out of Three.

4. If one person wins,
victoriously crushes or cuts or covers or whatever?
That person goes over by me,
and the two who did not win face off.

5. If two people win,
the one person who did not win goes in the bath,
and the other two face off for second place.

6. If you all throw the same thing,
we start over.

They are all,

I cannot believe this is working.

Rock, Paper, Scissors, Shoot:

V is scissors, E and M rocks.

V goes and gets in the bath, no argument,
which there shouldn't be an argument anyway,
 because on any other day they all WANT the first bath.

But I am still astonished my made-up thing worked.

And get this?
E and M are now Rock, Paper, Scissoring for who gets the second bath.
Winner GETS the bath,
not avoids it.

I am a genius!

Accidental, absurd,
spontaneous contest throwing as parenting tool genius,
but I will take my tiny, random victories whenever I can.