Friday, October 31, 2008

I can't believe I'm telling you this...

Today is Halloween, and tonight at midnight is my ‘witching hour’. Nope, not for tricks and treats. Oh heck… I can’t even believe I’m putting this out there (even though Sarah already ‘outed’ me on her blog! Heehee!). Are you ready?

I am going to write a novel. Okay, I should say, I am going to ATTEMPT to write a novel. I am taking the month of November to write a 50,000 word novel (about 175 pages), as part of the National Novel Writing Month challenge.

A friend sent me the link, and when I first checked it out, my reaction was… “Um, right. This is for crazy people that have too much time on their hands.” No big deal, right? But for some reason, this last week, I checked it out again, and thought… “Maybe I could do this.”

The rules? Very simple, really. Just write. Starting at midnight tonight, write. Write with complete abandon. 50,000 words by midnight on November 30th. No editing… no second guessing… just write. You don’t win anything except to be able to say that you did it. And if you’re one of the lucky few, you might actually have a first draft of a ‘not horrible’ novel. That’s pretty much what I’m shooting for… ‘not horrible’.

Because if you’ve ever thought that you wanted to do something like this, it’s always been a ‘someday, I will…’ sort of thing. Well, I guess today is my ‘someday’, and the imposed deadline is what finally gave me the courage to just jump in with both feet.

And how does being a former English teacher, now stay at home mom who’s only recent writing experience is a blog that a dozen people read, qualify me to write a novel? Well, it doesn’t. Not even remotely. That was one of the biggest hurdles for me. But my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Cox, once told me that I had real potential as a writer, and she now has an elementary school named after her. That’s got to count for something, right?!

Why am I telling you this? Well, a couple of reasons. First off, the founder of “NaNoWriMo” (Chris Baty) says that telling people about the project will keep up our motivation. In other words, I will be incredibly embarrassed if I quit before I reach my goal of 50,000 words (nothing like the specter of public humiliation). Secondly, you will understand if I don’t get around to blogging as much as I normally do, or that if you happen to come by my house, why there is dirty laundry spilling down the stairway, or why my kids are complaining, “Pizza for dinner? Again?!”

I even signed a ‘contract’ that came with the kick-off kit. I read it over and signed it, feeling a little like Ariel from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” when she signed the contract with Ursula, the sea witch… ‘Take a gulp, and take a breath, and go ahead and sign the scroll!’ However, instead of beautiful legs, all I got were nerves and butterflies in the pit of my stomach.

So when you see me in the next couple of weeks, feel free to ask me about my word count, just to keep me on my toes (the goal is to write about 1600 words a day). Feel free to ask me how it’s going (I’ll try not to cry in front of you). You can even ask me how many hours are left until midnight, November 30th (chances are, I’ll be able to tell you the number with unnerving accuracy.)

Just don’t ask me if you can read it. ;)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sweatin' on the poll

I just finished exercising. And, as usual, when one exercises, I got a little hot and sweaty, and I could feel my heart beating faster.

What amazing new workout program did I undertake, you may ask? I just exercised my civic duty. That’s right, my fellow Americans… I voted.

It was a bit hot and crowded in there. The line was out the door (for early voting!), and I had to wait awhile before it was my turn to get up to the flashing screen to cast my personal vote… my voice… my selection for races being run, both the ‘bigguns’ and the more local ones.

My heart did start to beat a little more quickly when I got up to the voting booth (which technically is not a booth. I remember voting in the election in 2000, and I actually went inside a little cubicle and pulled the curtain to cast my vote. I remember this because Josie was just a tiny baby, and I carried her in her infant carrier to vote with me, and that it was a pretty tight squeeze for me, a giant diaper bag, and a carseat in that tiny little space. But I voted, and we proudly displayed our “I Voted” stickers… one on my shirt… probably hiding a spit up stain, and one on Josie’s carrier. But I digress…)

I’m always a little nervous casting my vote… and it’s definitely not because I’m uncertain about who to vote for. I’ve known THAT since the results of the primaries. I always get a little shaky that I’m going to push that “VOTE” button, having accidentally selected the wrong candidate. It is a computer, you know, and I’m not the most techno-savvy person around…

So, I reviewed… and reviewed… and checked and double checked (no wonder that line was so freakin’ long! It’s people like me!)… and sweated it out before I hit that flashing red “VOTE” button at the top of the machine, which feels so final. And then? Well, a little anticlimactic… just a flashing screen that said, ‘Williamson County thanks you for voting’.

The first time I ever voted in any type of election, I remember feeling a little letdown after it was over. Thinking, ‘What’s the big deal?’ I’m not quite sure what I expected. Confetti to explode from the top of the voting machine? Bells and whistles to go off…an announcement? “Another proud American has just cast a vote for change.”

And still, years later, no confetti, or announcements… but I can appreciate it so much more now. I won’t tell you my party affiliation (even though those of you that know me even remotely can probably figure THAT one out!) because it doesn’t really matter (well, it does to ME, but not for the purposes of this blog). What does matter is that voting is important to me. Important enough to carve time out of my day (and my blog writing!) to do it. Important enough that it still makes my heart beat faster, and my adrenaline surge to be part of this historic event.

I am now wearing my little oval ‘I Voted’ sticker (will they EVER change this generic design?!! I’ve worn the same sticker for the last 12 years!), and I’ll answer my kids questions about it when they get home from school today. I even snagged an extra sticker if I decide that I want to wear one on election day, too (hey! It doesn’t say WHEN I voted… just that I did!)

On Tuesday evening, I’ll be watching the results, along with millions of others, and know that I did have my part in it, small as it may be. I made my choice.

So, don’t forget to vote… it’s a great workout!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My new blog...

Okay, friends... I'm back on the wagon.

Yep... I'm back to making my weekly menus, and thought since I'm caught up in the blog craze that I'd post it as a weekly blog, rather than emailing it to everyone (yay! smart me!) Just click on 'view my complete profile'... (it's over there on your right... your other right!), and it will take you to my profile and my blog list... "This Week's Eats (Planet Linson style)".

I'll try to include recipes, and give credit where credit is due for a particular recipe. That way if you make it and it totally sucks, you'll know who to blame. The menus are typically from Sunday through the following Saturday. So here goes nothing...

Disney Day 5

Oct. 24th Blog… Disney Day 5

Call me crazy. Call me a doofus. Call me nostalgic. Call me whatever you like when I make this little confession.

It was very hard for me to keep from crying when we walked out of the Magic Kingdom this afternoon to get in the van to make the loooooong drive back home. And no, it’s not just because I’m dreading the drive back (and the many hours of bickering and feet kicking the back of my seat that I have to look forward to!) No, I just felt a little sad to say good-bye to it all, not knowing how soon we’d be back… definitely within the next 3 years, according to Phil. I’m trying to bargain it down to 2.

Were the kids angels all week? Well, no. Was the drive ideal? Guess again. Parts of our vacation were frustrating (seeing the shuttle drive off, just as you get to the stop!), but on the whole, it was pretty terrific. Great fall weather, spending time with each other, not having to cook (yay!), and no lines. I mean, seriously… NO LINES! When was the last time you walked right up and got on Space Mountain? The longest we waited was to get autographs and even that was typically no more than 10 minutes.

We literally got to do everything at every single park at least once. We rode practically every ride, met tons of characters, watched parades, shows, and fireworks, ate way too many of those Mickey ice cream bars, spent too much money on souvenirs, and bought $40 worth of plastic rain ponchos for the off/ on rain showers today.

I don’t think there’s a single thing we feel like we missed out on.

So, excuse my tears because yes, I am a dork… and one of the worst kinds. A sentimental dork. But, I’m a sentimental dork with excellent powers of persuasion, especially where my beloved husband is concerned. I’m angling for Disneyworld ’09!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Disney Day 4

Oct. 23 Blog... Disney Day 4

Today in a nutshell…

…spent the day at Epcot (did you know that’s an acronym for ‘Experimental Prototype of the Community of Tomorrow? I didn’t… oh stop! You didn’t know that!)

…Princess lunch in ‘Norway’, where we got to meet Belle, Cinderella, Ariel, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine (that Jasmine had implants, I’m almost positive. Either that or she had her own brand of Disney magic working under that skimpy little top. )

…Test Track (loved it!)… Soarin’ (totally loved it!)…Mission: Space…meeting more characters and getting autographs…evening rain showers… souvenir shopping… skipping out on the fireworks show, due to the rain and sheer exhaustion…

Yes, I’m tired. Guess that’s what prompted Libby to tell me at around 7:00 p.m., “Mommy, you need a beer!” Yikes. Lucky for me, we’d just passed through ‘Mexico’, so I settled for an overpriced margarita in a plastic cup, instead. Must have been prices from the future, too.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Disney Day 3

October 22nd Blog… Disney Day 3

Emboldened by his success on Expedition Everest yesterday, Davis began the day at Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM) with early and persistent nagging (guess that IS the definition of ‘nagging’) that he wanted to go on the ‘Tower of Terror’. Now I’ve been on the ‘Tower of Terror’, and Phil and I just kept thinking… “Bad idea… Danger, Will Robinson…Danger…” It’s pretty intense, with a ‘Twilight Zone’ theme, and some terrifying drops in an elevator from 13 stories high.

But all day long, he kept at it (have you met Davis? The most ‘one-track mind’ kid ever born?!), so we went ahead and got FastPasses, and waited until our time slot came around. We saw lots of other kids about Davis’ age coming off the ride, so we decided to give it a go. We were about 2 minutes from boarding the ride (yes, actually getting ON the elevator… not just going INTO the ride) when Davis says, “I’ve changed my mind.” Whaaaaaat?!!

Now it was me, Josie & Davis in line because Phil was outside with Libby. We had kind of gotten to the ‘point of no return’. So, I started to talk it up… “D- it’s gonna be great! You’re gonna love it! It’s not as scary as Everest, and you did that one!” Josie was cheering him on, as well, mostly because she didn’t want to miss out on her chance to ride it. And I have to admit that the somewhat sadistic part of me wanted to remind him that he HAD been begging and nagging all day to do the stupid ride, and it was now 4:45, there were no more FastPasses being issued, etc.

So, God bless him… he sucked it up, buckled in, and grabbed my arm so tightly that I couldn’t even hold my own handrail. It didn’t help that there was some idiot in front of us telling his teenage daughter, “Good luck in that seat… I’ve heard that people have died in that seat.” Thanks, buddy.

How did it go? Funny you should ask. Not well.

At the first big ‘drop’, Davis burst into tears and wouldn’t stop crying. And even though my stomach was in my throat, I had to force myself to say, “Wheeeeee!” through the whole thing… repeating, “Mommy’s here! It’s okay! See, I’m laughing! It’s okay! It’s just pretend! Wheeee!” Jeez.... talk about feeling like a total shitheel.

When we finally came to a stop, he yelled as loudly as he could muster, “I NEVER want to do that again!” Josie, on the other hand, turned right around and went again with Phil, and has since proclaimed it as her favorite ride that day.

My guess is that this has probably adequately scarred Davis to the point that he will never seek a job that requires him to ride an elevator to get to his office on the 13th floor.

And I am now out of the running for the “Mother of the Year” award. Oh well…

Disney Day 2

Tuesday, Oct. 21 Blog… Disney Day #2

(Okay, are you all still with me, here? It’s Sunday afternoon, and I’m posting all these from last week… which is doing it chronologically on my Blogspot, but is totally screwed up on my MySpace. Oh well…you peeps are a smart crew)

Another fun day at Disney… well, technically another rough morning and THEN a fun day at Disney! (We seem to be developing a pattern… we’ve got some morning grouches who then snap out of it and get on like wildfire until we stumble back to the hotel at around 9:30 p.m.)

We started our day with a character breakfast at Chef Mickey’s… well worth it! The food was just ‘okay’ (picture: semi-warm 3 cheese egg omelets and mildly greasy sausage links), but getting to meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto? Yep, well worth the crazy scramble to get to the Contemporary Resort at an ungodly hour. (Yes, Ricci, next time I’ll do what you tell me, and schedule it as a brunch, instead.) I got some super cute pictures, too, so don’t be surprised if that shows up as our Christmas card this year. ;)

We spent the rest of the day at Animal Kingdom. The highlights? Well, certainly, I have to include the 3-D interactive movie, ‘It’s Tough to be a Bug’, in which I had to rush out of the darkened theater with a screaming Libby. Seems our little arachnophobe didn’t like all those giant spiders that came down from the ceiling to dangle menacingly just above our heads. Go figure. At every attraction for the rest of the day, she asked, “Does it have poison spiders?” Thanks for the nightmares, Mr. Disney.

Josie loved the Kilimanjaro Safari and was so excited to ‘finally’ get to see real animals. Of course since we’d just taken the Jungle Cruise at the Magic Kingdom the night before, which is chock full of very realistic looking animatronic animals, she was understandably skeptical about the animals we were seeing on the safari. “Um… is that lion real? What about that elephant? How about that elephant poop?”

The highlight of Davis’ day had to be Expedition Everest. Haven’t been on it? Well, I have. And it’s scary as hell (at least I thought so.) Before we got on, I was teasing Davis just a bit that he could ‘re-think’ going on the ride if he wanted because it was pretty intense. “Davis, we don’t HAVE to ride this… if you don’t want to.” His response? “Mom, if you’re too scared to go… I can always ride with Daddy.” Damn, that kid’s got my number.

At the Lion King show (which is spectacular! Seriously.), all 3 kids were chosen out of the audience to participate in the musical finale. They were given maracas and shakers and they then paraded around the stage with the performers and a handful of other (less cute) kids that were also chosen from the audience. (Oh come on… we all think we have the cutest kids!)

Phil and I were amazed at how much Animal Kingdom has changed in the 10 years since it opened. We were there on our honeymoon just months after it opened in the summer of ’98, and it’s grown like crazy. Guess a lot can happen in 10 years… (jeez, just look at the Linson family for a testimony to that.)

We finished out the day at Downtown Disney, shopping and eating (la, la…these are a few of my fa-vo-rite things…) The kids were still going strong, running around, checking out all the Lego creations, petting a Lego Dalmatian (that’s the kind of dog we need! Lego dog poo is sooo much easier to clean up), when Mommy finally just cratered. Time to call it a night… and yes, it’s time to call it a night.

Disney Day 1

Monday, Oct. 20th Blog.... Day 1 in Disney

Today was amazing. We started off our day at the Magic Kingdom and arrived just moments before it opened.

Everything is completely festooned with fall decorations, orange and pumpkins, and we fit right in our UT burnt orange. Yes, we wore matching t-shirts. I know, I know… and after you all gave me such a hard time ;) But we DID look pretty cute and got tons of comments from people… “Let me guess… you’re from Texas?!” The only downfall was that guys kept stopping Phil to talk about Longhorn football (there’s a time and a place, fellas!)

It wasn’t all smooth sailing from the get-go. The kids were still pretty tired from going to bed so late the night before (not to mention that Florida is an hour ahead) and a couple of times this morning, Phil and I gave each other ‘The Look’. Oh you know, ‘The Look’… the ‘He gets that from YOUR side of the family’ Look.

But once we met a few characters, got some autographs and rode some rides, we started hitting our stride. (p.s. FastPass… best invention ever!) Everything the kids got off of was declared their ‘new favorite’. Not to sound incredibly cheesy, but Disney really is so magical and it just gave me the warm fuzzies to see my kids fall so completely in love with everything, and have them enjoy all the same things Phil and I enjoyed 10 years ago when we were here for our honeymoon. (Note: We were given ‘Happy Anniversary’ buttons when we checked in and we were told approximately 500 times today, “Happy Anniversary!” Guess they knew we belonged together… you know, what with those matching T-shirts AND matching buttons.)

So, I was reminded of a couple of things today: first off, that’s it a bad idea to eat shrimp scampi for dinner and then go on Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride (spinning?!) Ugh… needless to say, Phil took Josie and Davis on Space Mountain by himself.

Secondly, I was reminded of how incredible my family is and how unbelievably blessed and lucky I am to have them, even when they drive me completely crazy. And I admit, that during the fireworks over Cinderella’s Castle tonight, I got a little teary-eyed, watching my kids with their faces tilted up, lit up from the display, taking it all in. Who am I kidding? I was more than just a little teary. And while I snapped a few pictures, after a couple of moments, I put away the camera and focused on just taking it all in, as well. Because I want to remember this. I want to remember this day and how today was a day where it felt like dreams really do come true.

Oct. 19th... 30 miles outside of Disneyworld

Oct. 19 Blog… 30 miles outside of Disneyworld

(okay, let's everyone try to follow along... these are blogs from our adventures last week. Hope this is not too confusing!)

I’m writing this blog in pencil. Still in the van… kids watching their 2000th DVD… I’ve finished my 2nd novel in 2 days… Phil’s been listening to college football on the radio… and so have I, since my IPod died out about 4 hours ago. (Don’t get me wrong… I am a football lovin’ girl, but I just can’t listen to it on the radio! I’m a visual person.)

Aaaah…. Long car trips. We’ve eaten too much junk, completely trashed the van, and tried to complete some of the homework the kids’ teachers sent with them. My left arm has a pinched nerve from reaching into the back so often to hand out snacks, pencils, pick up dropped things, etc.

I’ve peed in a few too many public toilets this weekend and my thighs are sore from all the ‘hovering’ (gilrs, you know what I’m talking about here!) I have gone through a bottle of antibacterial hand gel and have tried very hard to limit the ‘touching’ of anything in the restaurant/ gas station/ rest area bathrooms, which prompted Davis to tell his dad, “Did you know that Mommy opens all the doors with her butt?” Phil’s response? “Wow, I had no idea that Mommy was so talented.” Har har…. Very funny.

Fortunately the last 2 days have been fairly free of meltdowns and bickering, both on the parts of the kids and the parents. Libby did have a ‘moment’, however, when we crossed over into Florida and stopped to take the obligatory picture in front of the ‘Welcome to Florida: The Sunshine State’ sign. Phil said, “Well that’s what we came for. Now we can go back home.” When we drove out of the welcome center/ rest stop, we heard wailing from the backseat… “We turned around! I don’t want to go home! I want to go to Disneyworld!” We assured her that we were, in fact, still going to Disneyworld. She glared at us, and said in her most accusatory voice, “Why did you trick me?”

We are now 20 miles outside of Disneyworld, and we can see the fireworks from Epcot (yes, that’s how late it is.) The excitement level has ratcheted up quite a few notches now, and the kids are practically singing, “Disney, here we come!” Davis was even so charitable as to say, “Tomorrow when we get up, all our friends will be doing boring stuff at school, and we’ll be having fun!” (sorry, suckahs)

We’ve just caught our 1st glimpse of Cinderella’s castle, illuminated against the night sky, so I’ll be signing off. It’s been a long couple of days but it will all be worth it, come tomorrow morning, seeing the faces of my kids seeing it all for the very first time.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I missed youse guys!

I missed youse guys!

That’s right. I will now be speaking with a Jersey accent from here on out. Why? Because there were plenty of samples to choose from at lovely ol’ Disneyworld. I will occasionally be swapping it out for a Wisconsin accent… “Oh yeeeah, you betcha.” How about this for an accent? “You’re makin’ me wicked angry!” (we actually heard a mom say that to her kids)

With that being said…. We had a totally fantastic time!!!!! (the people watching, alone, was a hoot!) But I am very glad to be home.

It’s about 10:30 pm, the van is scarcely unloaded, the kids are collapsed in their beds, the hubby is checking the college football scores on T.V., but I had to get back to you… my lovely, loyal blog readers!

So, my friends, we have some catchin’ up to do. Or as my kids like to say… “Ketchup, mustard!” (don’t ask me why they like to say that. I think they heard it at school. That, and an assortment of other things that make me say, ‘Where did you learn that?!)

But never fear because for you, I did the unthinkable. Yes, for you, I wrote a blog entry each day in PENCIL!!!! (and by the end of the week, it was a pretty sad looking little pencil. I didn’t have a sharpener with me.) Just so I could transfer it later when we got back home. I’m a damn junkie with this blog, I swear.

Over the course of the next couple of days, I’ll get them posted, so read them if you like, and experience the world of Mickey and Minnie with the Linson gang.

It’s gonna be fun. Oh yeeeah…. You betcha’.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hitting the road... hard.

It's been a long day. Kids to school... kids picked up from school approximately an hour after they were dropped off (gotta get counted on the attendance sheet!)... van loaded... van unloaded (did we pack enough socks?!)... van re-loaded... last minute things taken care of... alarm set (that's right, potential burglars who read this blog! We have a top-notch alarm system... so don't even think about it!)... READY TO GO! Time to hit the road...only to return 10 minutes later because we'd forgotten something.

We also had to stop by Phil's office for him to finish up a couple of things, and of course, for the children to mildly entertain his co-workers for the first 5 minutes ('Omigosh! They're so cute!')... that is, until they get utterly annoying, spinning around in everyone's chairs, and 'borrowing' Post-It Notes off of people's desks ('Wow...shouldn't you guys be on the road by now?')

How far did we make it today? To Houston. To my mother-in-law's. Yep, that's it, and I'm already exhausted. I swear to God in Heaven that my son started this about 20 minutes after we left... "Are we there yet?" "How many more minutes?" "Mom! Why aren't you answering me?! Are we there YET?"

I wanted to throw something (or someone) out of the window. Instead, I clenched my teeth and said, "Not yet, honey" and downed a couple more Ibuprofen. Right around Bastrop, I was wondering what the hell we had gotten ourselves into. Was it really that expensive to fly?! (yes... yes, it was.)

Fortunately after lunch, everyone assumed the 'position'. Josie & Davis, glassy-eyed, with headphones on, watching something on the DVD player; Libby sleeping, with her thumb in her mouth, and LuLu tucked up under her chin; and me, asleep and drooling, with an incredible crick in my neck. Phil, of course, was thankful that everyone had finally just shut the hell up.

I have now had a glass and a half of wine (God bless my mother-in-law's little heart... always prepared!) and it is 4:30 in the afternoon ('it's 5:00 somewhere', right?!) The kids are watching yet another movie ('but we haven't seen this one!'), and Phil has already escaped to go get a 'haircut' and interestingly enough, there must have been a six-pack of Bud Light on sale at the salon.

Tomorrow, onward to New Orleans... and then on Sunday, to Orlando. Disneyworld or Bust, baby...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Just a little white lie...

Yesterday I blogged about the brutal honesty of children, which is a little ironic, considering that as parents, we are often not very honest with our children. Well, don’t let me lump you into that ‘lying sack of doody’ category… let’s just say that, I, personally, am not always completely honest with my children.

I firmly believe that you can be too honest with kids. A little mystery is good. For example when my oldest asked me how the baby got in my tummy when I was pregnant with the youngest, I gave her as honest an answer as I could... “Jesus did it, honey.” Seriously, no 4 year old needs THAT much information.

However, not all of my evasive, only borderline truth answers are a result of uncomfortable questions I’m not ready to face. Sometimes they are borne of necessity… and an inability to find a matching pair of socks.

This morning, I searched in vain for socks for Davis. Socks, socks, everywhere, but not a single pair for the boy could be found. And he had to wear socks because 1.) he had Wellness today (P.E. to everyone else in the civilized world) and 2.) It was actually quite cool this morning, and sandals or flip-flops were not going to cut it. (Yay! Fall in Texas… gotta love it!)

And actually, the drama of the missing socks is not because I haven’t done the laundry… I’m a bit of a laundry schedule freak. If it is a Tuesday, Thursday, or Sunday, the washing machine is running. (Hear that? Yep… it’s Thursday).

The lack of socks is proof positive that we’re leaving on vacation tomorrow. I have packed so many pairs of socks and underwear that it’s a wonder my kids actually have any on right now. You can never take too many socks and underwear on vacation… who knows what sort of ‘undies emergency’ you might run up against when you’re away from home? And if you do know, I don’t want to hear about it. I’ll just plan to be prepared, without hearing your gruesome stories, thank you very much.

So everything is packed, and short of raiding my neatly sorted piles of clothes that are already loaded in individual Zip-loc ‘Big Bags’ labeled for each day of our vacation (I KNOW! I KNOW! I’m a freak… please know that I DO know this, and that I genuinely cannot help it), my only option is to give Davis a pair of Josie’s socks to wear. No big deal, right? I can just explain the situation to him… the socks, being packed for Disneyworld, his mother’s OCD, etc.

Clearly you have not met my kid…. “Mr. Black and White”… “Mr. Future Litigator Because I Can Argue till We’re Both Blue in the Face”… “Mr. I’d Rather Cut Off My Own Feet Than Wear My Sister’s Socks To School”…

So, here’s the scene at our breakfast table this morning…

Davis: “Whose socks are these?”

Me: “Um… they’re yours.”

Davis: “I don’t think so.”

Me: “Yeah, they’re new ones I bought for you to grow into.”

Davis: “They’re short.”

Me: “They’re a new style. You’ll like them.”

Davis (suspiciously): “Why do they have pink writing on the toes? Are they for girls?”

Me: “Nope. Pink is the best color for the brand name (in this case, Hanes) to show up on white socks. Didn’t you know that? So no, they’re not for girls. Anyway, no one will see the writing because it will be inside your shoe.”

Davis: “Did it say ‘for boys’ on the package?”

Me (pretending to think back): “Um. Yes. Yes, it did.”

Josie: “Heeeey! Why is Davis putting on my socks?!!”


Note to self: When telling your child a little white lie, do it out of earshot of his sisters. And be prepared to find his flip-flops for him to wear to school.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Can I be honest with you?

Brutal honesty. If you have a hard time with people being honest with you, and you’re one of those people that need your feelings ‘spared’, I highly recommend that you never become a parent. Just when I’m feeling pretty good about my mothering, and feeling like I’ve got some pretty ‘mad skillz’ in that department, my kids come along and club me up-side the head with something that I’m just not expecting.

This afternoon I was helping Josie practice piano before her lesson. She really has a great ear for music, and has a natural rhythm. So, don’t ask me why I was helping her. I lasted in piano lessons all of about 6 months, at which point I begged my parents to let me quit, even though they had already bought a piano for me. But Marge, the world’s worst piano teacher, called me ‘Tracy’ for every single lesson of that looong six months, even though I corrected her week after week. No wonder I hated it.

Anyway, during practice, I was counting out the notes for Josie, trying to help her keep the beat by snapping my fingers with the count. She finished her song (“Windchimes”), and said, “You know, Mom, its kind of hard when you’re snapping like that.” So, I asked her, “What can I do that would help you?” thinking that perhaps I was going a little too quickly. Her nonchalant answer? “Um…you could probably help by being quiet.” Ouch…

And last week? When the kids and I were dancing around the kitchen to ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ by Depeche Mode? Yes, I know… major flashback…but they love that song. (Who am I kidding? So do I.) The very same child was sweet enough to tell me… “Um, Mom? Your dancing is kind of freaking me out. Just thought I’d mention it.” OH MY GOD!!!! She’s only 8 years old. Surely it’s too early for her to be that embarrassed by her mother? Well, she’d better just get ready… now I can’t wait to chaperone all those junior high dances.

Sometimes, it’s a compliment that is delivered in such a way as to knock you down a peg or two. A few nights ago, Davis asked his dad to draw a scorpion for him. Phil did what he usually does when a request is made for him to be artistic…. “Why don’t you ask your mom to draw you a scorpion? She’s much better than I am.” (too true) Now, I am a fairly decent artist. I have been known to paint a mural or two in my time, and on occasion, people have actually paid me (actual money!) for said mural. So I took pencil in hand, and using my vast memory of arthropods (ahem…that’s what a scorpion is), I drew a damn nice looking scorpion.

Pretty proud of my efforts and expecting effusive praise from my son (seriously, can YOU draw a scorpion?), he took one look at it and marveled, “Wow, Mommy, you’re really not horrible at drawing scorpions!”

Gee, um… thanks? Can’t you just feel the love?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

And now... I'm back!

Darn kids.

They just haven’t said anything goofy or silly enough for me to blog about in the last few days. I even begged Libby yesterday, “Say something funny for Mommy’s blog.” She actually looked at me, and with her silliest voice, mimicked… “Say something funny for the blog!” Lucky for her she’s so stinkin’ cute. I don’t think she knows how serious this blogging business is. I’m saving them all for her future boyfriends to read when she’s older, though. I think the embarrassment alone will keep her from dating. (well… maybe I’ll delete the ‘stripper’ one.)

Davis had a couple of blog-worthy moments this weekend during the Texas game, but in the excitement of the big victory (#1 in the AP poll, my friends!), I promptly forgot what they were. It was JUST that kind of a game. At one point during the game, I yelled so loudly at the television that Davis said, “Mom! Don’t yell like that! You scared the crap outta me.” Um… hello?! I immediately told him that ‘crap’ is not a very nice word, and I wanted to know where he heard that kind of language, but that first I wanted to watch the replay of that ‘damn sweet interception’. Excuse me, here, but I was a Longhorn long before I was a Mommy.

Josie, on the other hand, is far too busy packing and re-packing all the necessities for Disneyworld to give me any comments for the blog. And when I say ‘necessities’, it is in the loosest possible terms…Stuffed Lady dog from Lady and the Tramp? Check! Hannah Montana t-shirts? Check! Minnie Mouse ears that were a gift from the Levines when she was 7 months old? Check! You think I’m joking?! You wouldn’t believe how much one 8 year old can cram into a backpack. If she tried to carry that thing around the theme park, somebody could potentially mistake her as Quasimodo from Disney’s “Hunchback of Notre Dame” (um, yes, I know…quite possibly Disney’s worst movie ever!)

Well, what about Phil, you may ask? Can I count on him to give me some fodder for the blog? Well, those of you that have been to Planet Linson, personally (the place, not just the blog) KNOW that I’m the funny one. Just kidding, honey… people think that YOU’RE funny too. (Everyone just nod your head…) Besides, Philip’s been a little busy too. Working a lot, being SuperDad… not to mention that he now has to pick up and drop off his own dry-cleaning. (Yay for the loyal blog-readers… you know just to what I’m referring!)

Clearly, I’m going to have to branch out. I can’t always count on my family to give me stuff for my blog. I guess everyone’s just going to have to watch out. So, mind your p’s and q’s, people, or I might just have to put you in my blog. Don’t worry… its relatively painless. Just ask Jim.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ode to Jim... part 2

I had my blog all thought out for today. It was a GOOD one, too… trust me on this. But when I walked in the door last night after Bunco, everything changed.

When I looked at the computer, I noticed that I had some new emails, so of course, I checked them. Nothing really that interesting… until…um… what does that say on the “FROM” line?!! Does that say… JIM SPENCER?!!

That’s right, my friends. I had an email from Jim Spencer, the KXAN weatherman, thanking me for the nice email that I had sent to him, and my equally nice blog entry. (if you have absolutely no idea what I am talking about here… Welcome to my blog! Go back and read the ‘Ode to Jim’.) How did he know about the blog, you may ask? Um, well, duh! I sent him the link in an email I sent to him, telling him what a big fan I was, and telling him that I was upset that I couldn’t watch his weather reports anymore.

Now, I don’t typically send ‘fan mail’, or at least I never have before, but I figured if I felt strongly enough to blog about it, I should let the station know how I felt, as well.

Here’s the email, in its entirety… first, the one I sent to him….

From: The Linson Family
Sent: Friday, October 03, 2008 8:51 AM
To: Jim Spencer
Subject: A blog entry for Jim

Hi Jim- I just wanted to let you know that I've been a huge fan of yours since the early 90's when I was in college. I'm now a mother of 3, and I still rely on you to give me the weather each day! I even wrote about it on my blog, and how miffed I am about how the whole Time Warner Cable thing is going to prevent me from being able to tune into your weather reports. I'm probably just going to have to switch providers.

Have a great day!
Staci Linson

And now his response!!!

----- Original Message -----
From: JIM
Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2008 10:42 PM
Subject: FW: A blog entry for Jim

Hi Staci—
I just wanted to say thanks for the very nice e-mail (and blog entry!). You are too kind!

I too hope our parent company and Time Warner get this worked out soon, and I’m sure they will since LIN stations are off cable in 11 cities around the country right now.

Thanks again for the nice words, and for your patience!


OH MY GOD!!!! How cool is that?!! Totally freakin’ awesome, if you ask me. In light of this event, please stay tuned for my next blog entry, entitled:

“Ode to Matt Damon”. ;-)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

These t-shirts are making me blue...

The countdown to Disneyworld has begun. And my stress level is rising. There’s too much to do in the week before we get to the happiest friggin’ place on earth…

Sorry… venting.

I went to the Disney store today to try to buy matching T-shirts for the kids. Yes… you read that correctly. Matching T-shirts for every damn day we’re there. I’m not just nervous about losing one of the children, I also want them to be color-coordinated in my pictures (scrapbookers everywhere are nodding their heads right now… or at least Wens is! You know what I’m talking about, girl. I’ve seen YOUR pictures ;-)

Luckily for me, they were having a sale. Most unluckily for me, they were having a sale. Whenever the Disney store has a sale: 1. I spend waaaay too much money. 2. I can never find the right sizes that I need of what I went in for. Soooo… 3. I end up buying a bunch of stuff I didn’t intend to buy and that we don’t necessarily need. (I call it ‘stocking up’). Which brings us ever so nicely back to #1.

You wouldn’t really think it would be that difficult to find matching shirts for three kids, would you? It’s not like I was trying to get all 5 of us to match (wow, wouldn’t Phil just looove that?) But there just weren’t very many items that were ‘gender neutral’. So unless we want Davis explaining to his future therapist about the Disney princess shirts we made him wear on our trip, they’re not going to be ‘technically’ matching.

I then decided that as long as the colors matched, that would work for my obsessive, compulsive picture taking tendencies. Well even that proved to be a bit of a challenge. Most of the girls’ shirts are in pastels, and the boy shirts are primary colors. Does Disney not understand my dilemma?!! Is it too much to ask for matching red classic Mickey Mouse shirts? Apparently, it is.

The ladies working in the store seriously hated me, I’m sure. I just kept unfolding shirts and muttering to myself… ‘This is a medium?! It looks way too big. Oh, and OF COURSE they don’t have *that* one in a small!’ I know they were eyeballing me, calculating how long it was going to take to put their display back together. And also wondering how long it would be before the ‘crazy lady’ actually bought something.

I managed to find a few shirts that were similar enough in color to meet my once rigorous, now exceedingly altered, specifications. Blue is blue is blue, right?! The ‘characters’ on the fronts are all different, but for heaven’s sake, they’re all blue! Libby’s might drag to her knees, but it’s blue!! Blue, I tell you!

I think I need a vacation.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Years ago, when I was pregnant with my oldest child, I imagined all the things I might say as a ‘Mommy’. Not the least of which was, “Oh yes, she started sleeping through the night at 4 weeks old!” (um, no… she didn’t). And then later, “You made the honor roll again?” and let us not forget, “Sweetie, of course, we knew all along that you’d get a full scholarship to Harvard!”

However, a few years into this job, I discovered that there was a whole version of “Mommy-speak” that I had just started to experience. The things I found myself saying would have been beyond my comprehension in my ‘pre-Mommy’ days. Things like: “It’s a ‘no-no’ to squeeze an entire bottle of shampoo on the stairs while Mommy is nursing the baby.” (the people that bought our house in Colorado are probably still wondering why that spot on the carpet collects so much dirt.)

Some of the other things I heard myself saying in the early years of motherhood, “Get OUT of the toilet!! Aaaah! You have your shoes on?!” (No… for the last time, I did NOT take pictures! I was just completely flummoxed that my kid was sitting in the toilet bowl.)

And here’s a string of words that I just never pictured saying at any point in my adult life: “It’s not nice to throw the cheese grater at the van.” Yes, I actually said this to my son when he was a toddler. He loved playing with the kitchen utensils and just happened to be toting the cheese grater around that day (thank you Fisher-Price for all your useless crap I spent big money on). And even better, I was on the phone with a childless friend at the time. She HAD to have thought I was making this up. Either that, or she thought that I’d been hitting the rum a little early that day.

Another personal ‘mommy-ism’: “Honey, please don’t lick the watermelon.” Okay, that one’s not too bad. You might even be asking yourself, ‘What’s so wrong with licking watermelon? Jeez… this lady’s got issues.’ Well, if it hasn’t yet been cut up… heck, it was still in the grocery cart! Um… yuck.

Some of my responses are a result of simply being distracted. Libby came inside crying today because Davis had taken the quarter she had found outside. I was unloading the dishwasher, so my answer? Did I deal swiftly with the little perp? Actually no… Instead I said, “Ooooh… look at this nickel. It’s very shiny. Why don’t you take IT outside?!” (okay, in my defense, she’s three, and she was very happy with the nickel. Please don’t judge.)

Some of my ‘mommy-isms’ are what I like to call ‘save my own ass’ answers, which most typically is: “Honey, I don’t know HOW that got in the trash!” (crap, crap, crap!!) And of course, the classic: “Because I SAID SO!” (always a show-stopper)

Some of my ‘mommyspeak’ is just on ‘repeat’… you know… auto-pilot. They are the things that we say about a thousand times in a single year.
1. Did you make your bed?
2. Please go make your bed.
3. Did you flush?
4. Please go flush.
5. Did you wash your hands?
6. Please go wash your hands….
7. What do you mean you don’t ‘need’ to wash your hands?!! Oh, gross…

But of all the things I say to my kids, there are a few that I’d like to remember to say more often. I tell my kids every single day that I love them, but other things just aren’t said enough. That’s my goal… to try to say *those* things on a daily basis, too. Things like:
1. You’re an awesome kid.
2. You make me proud.
3. I’m so glad I’m your mom.
4. Now please go wash your hands. ;)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

'Pretty' as a picture

I hate having my picture taken. I always have. Well, correction: I don’t mind having my picture taken, I just almost always hate the result.

I’m not sure I’ve EVER taken a picture, where upon seeing it, I’ve immediately said, “Wow! That is a great picture of me!” Pictures have to ‘grow’ on me, and then after looking at them for awhile, I decide that the picture is not really *that* horrible, and that it might be ‘passable’. Possibly even mildly cute. A decade usually does the trick.

Years ago (and several pounds ago!), when Phil and I had our engagement pictures taken, I hated the proofs when they came back. I hated every last one of them, and was pissed that we’d spent so much money on our little photographer out of Westlake. But the more I went back to look at them, the more I started to like them. Now, looking at the picture that we chose as our ‘official’ engagement shot, I love it. We both look so cute (and young… and skinny… and starry-eyed…. and in love…. and did I mention ‘skinny’?!) It’s absolutely one of my favorite pictures we’ve ever taken together. Not that I don’t just love the dozens of “Photo Tech!” pictures from all those college fraternity parties we went to…(rolling eyes )

And isn’t it ironic (don’cha think) that someone that loves to scrapbook as much as I do, so totally hates pictures of herself? But unless I want my children to look back at their scrapbooks when they’re older and wonder where the heck Mommy was during all the important events in their life (‘in the bathroom…again?’) I’ve just had to learn to suck it up and put pictures of myself (that I do not always like) into their books. And truthfully, when I look back at their albums, I often think, “Why did I hate that picture so much? It’s really not that bad....”

Other people can look at pictures of me, and say, “That’s a cute picture!” To which it’s usually difficult for me not to say, “Ugh. Barf.” (not really a very ladylike way to accept a compliment). I know, I know… I’m too critical. And I guess it doesn’t help that I have a tendency to act incredibly goofy for pictures. I just get this irresistible desire to cross my eyes and stick out my tongue whenever a camera is pointed in my direction (sorry, Dona, for the incident with your cell phone. Hollah!)

Some people look amazing in every picture they take. So, understandably, I hate them. And I do not let them be my friends. Oh, I might be nice to them, but you can bet your bottom dollar that I delete them off my digital camera when they’re not looking. And I sure don’t put them in my scrapbooks. I certainly don’t want to look at their flawless skin and beauty queen hair for the next 50 years. Of course, by then, I’ll be so senile, it won’t really matter.

I just wish I’d been born with that photogenic gene. ‘Whaaaat?!! A gene?’ Well, yes, of course. Didn’t you know that it’s part of your genetic code as to whether or not you can take good pictures? Hence the ‘genic’ in ‘photogenic’. (Like….duuuh!)

My three children, of course, all have the photogenic gene (well, of course they do… as I’m sure yours do too!), but they certainly do not get it from me. And judging by pictures of my wonderful, handsome husband sporting his mohawk in high school, I’m not entirely certain they got it from him, either. My punky little children, God bless their hearts, are completely, utterly gorgeous. And as long as they are in the picture with me (usually all in front of me… kids make good camouflage), it makes it a whole lot easier to love those pictures.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Ode to Jim

I never thought it would actually happen. I’ve been hearing about it for months, but I just knew they’d be able to work it out. But sadly, no. When I switched on the television this morning, there is just a looping disclaimer on channel 4. That’s right… KXAN, Austin’s NBC affiliate, is off the air. I don’t get it! How can you just pull an entire network?!! What the hell? And if you don’t have any idea to what I’m referring, you obviously do not have Time Warner Cable.

I don’t know all the particulars about the failed negotiations, contract disputes, etc., and I don’t really watch anything on NBC, except the “Headlines” on Monday nights with Jay Leno. So, what do I even care, you may ask?

Because KXAN has always been my ‘news’ station. They’ve always been the ones I watched for my local, ‘up to date’ news stories. Well, we also watched to see what the heck Michelle V. would be wearing each night. But the main reason I watch KXAN? Two words: Jim Spencer.

Oh yes, I’ll say it right out loud… I LOVE JIM SPENCER. He is ‘the man’. He is the rockin-est weatherman ever to grace the screen of Austin news stations. You can always count on Jim, with his own little brand of humor to give it to us straight.

Now, I know other people might have a certain fondness for Jim, but I have been watching him since he started with the station during my freshman year at UT. I can remember listening to his weather reports in my dorm room, as we got ready to go out at night. (yes, remember the days when 11:00 p.m. was too early to get somewhere?!! Jeez…)

“Jim, we’re going out dancing at Dessau tonight… what’s the weather going to be?” (omigod! Remember Dessau Hall?!) “Jim, what’s the humidity? Am I going to have a bad hair day?!” Answer: ‘most likely, yes’.

Jim has always been my ‘go-to guy’ for the crazy Texas weather. The only time that Jim and I almost came to blows was on my wedding day in 1998 when he kept telling people to “stay inside. Don’t try to get out on the roads… the rains are just too heavy.” I was just praying that my guests were watching another, ‘sub-par’ weatherman that day.

When we moved back to Texas after almost 6 years in Colorado (I call those the “Jim-less years”) I was delighted to be back with good old Jim. He hadn’t changed a bit, and evidently I haven’t changed too much either. I still rely on Jim to tell me when to send jackets to school with the kids. When the weather is bad, I stay constantly tuned in to what he has to say. And Jim won’t let you down. He won’t leave the station while we’re under threat of severe weather… he’ll just stick it out until “ICE STORM (insert the year here)” comes to a conclusion. That’s my Jimmy-boy.

So, here’s hoping that KXAN and Time Warner Cable can end their stalemate. I guess in the meantime, I’ll have to tune in to another station for the weather updates. But it just won’t be the same.

I miss you, Jim. And it’s only been one day. (Sniff, sniff…)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sing it, baby...

You know you’ve totally done it. You have sung the wrong lyrics to a song. And I’m not talking about just forgetting the words momentarily. I’m referring to that embarrassing situation in which you’ve misunderstood what the lyrics said in the first place, and then you proceed to belt out the completely wrong phrase every time you hear the song on the radio. That is, until someone is ‘kind’ enough to say… “Omigod… THAT’S what you think they’re saying?”

When everyone was buying CD’s it was less of a problem. Those handy dandy lyric sheets that came in the packaging of most CD’s gave us the ability to ‘decode’ those pesky verses, and we could avoid the embarrassment of singing… “Like a virgin, touched for the thirty-first time.”

But now that we’re downloading music off of the internet, there is just that much more of a chance that embarrassing lyrical slip-ups will occur. I know I’ve mangled more than one Alanis Morissette song in my day. In my defense, she can be a little difficult to understand in her ‘angry’ songs…which is really… um… ALL of her songs.

And what’s even worse than someone pointing out to you that you’re singing the wrong lyrics? When you try to convince them that YOU are right, and then discover that you were, in fact, sadly deluded and incorrect. It used to be that you would call a half dozen people to get their opinion. Now you can just Google the lyrics and eat crow. I thought for the longest time that the B-52’s were shouting “HEN---RY! BUSTED!” Guess I thought that poor Henry got busted hanging out in the Love Shack (… baby.) Made a lot more sense to me than the tin roof thing.

Which brings me to my favorite John Mayer song, “Say”. I love this song. It’s my theme song, if ever there was a theme song for a girl that really doesn’t have too much problem saying what she ‘needs’ to say… or wants to say… or shouldn’t say, for that matter. If you haven’t heard it, you should definitely check it out on Youtube, or this next part isn’t going to make any sense to you at all.

I usually have music playing in the kitchen while I’m cooking dinner, and the kids are working on their homework (what an idyllic little scene I just created in your head… trust me, it’s not all that.) The kids like to sing along to the songs they know or have heard dozens of times (when they’re not requesting to hear the Vacation Bible School CD… yet again…God bless ‘em) and a couple of days ago, I overhead them singing along to the chorus of “Say”.

“Sandwich, you need to say… sandwich, you need to say… sandwich, you need to…”

Hmmm…guess it’s genetic.