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Friday, August 27, 2010

Grocery Store Giggles


I knew I was doomed in the grocery store checkout line today when I overheard this conversation in front of me:

Annoying checker dude, talking to lady customer in front of me: So whatcha got going on this weekend?

Lady: Well, I’m going to see Train tonight.

Annoying checker dude: Oh, I know them. They sing, they sing…

Nerdy bagger girl (singing): Hey, Soul Sister

Annoying checker dude: They’re not really my forté but I guess if you’re a fan…

Nerdy bagger girl: I like Justin Bieber

Annoying checker dude: Ugh, I don’t know any of his songs but I see him everywhere.

Lady: He was just here, right?

Nerdy bagger girl: Yes, August 15th! My friend and I waited in line and blah blah blah

So this went on for awhile and I’m getting anxious because I know I’m up next and I have NO TIME for anything beyond pleasantries. I considered saying something like, “You know, I don’t mean to be rude but I really don’t have time to talk…” But instead, I went with the “I’m so shy that I just smile, nod and giggle” approach. Next time, I’ll go with my original idea.

Annoying Checker Dude, to me: So whatcha got going on this weekend?

Shy girl (me), giggling : I don’t know, nothing.

ACD: Just relaxing at home? That’s cool.

Nerdy Bagger Girl: I wish I could relax at home. I have to open the store four days in a row! But then I’m off on Wednesday because it’s my birthday. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I have no earthly idea what I should do. What do you think I should do?

ACD: I don’t know. Maybe go to a movie? I don’t have TV at home so I don’t even know what movies are out. (To me), Do you know any good movies that are out?

Shy girl (me): I don’t know.

ACD: Oh, has it been that long since you’ve been to the movies?

Shy girl (me), giggling more: Yes

NBG: I just have no earthly idea what I’m gonna do. No earthly idea! It’s my 23rd birthday. I can’t have a party because I have to open the store on Thursday. 

ACD: What do YOU think she should do?

My giggling is getting real now because I start imagine to this as a Saturday Night Live sketch. Then I remembered they had a sketch similar to this about a lady who worked at Target and got into everyone’s business. And that made me start to really laugh.

Then ACD and NBG stopped talking long enough to notice me, the shy girl, hysterically laughing. Hopefully they just thought I was really nervous. You know, because of the shyness.

Anyway, it all finally wraps up with her asking me if I’ve ever heard of a place called “Wild Bill’s” (a country dancing club). She said she was considering going there for her birthday and then ACD said that he can’t go there because he gets into way too much trouble.

When NBG offered to walk me and my groceries out to my car, I let her because I figured that was when she was going to break character and tell me I was on this new hidden camera show.

I was shocked when, instead, she grilled me more about what she should do for her birthday. I found myself suggesting that she have a party on Tuesday night, since she didn’t have to get up in the morning for work on Wednesday. I have no idea why I let her suck me into that. No earthly idea.

Identity Crisis



His shirt may say Leo but that’s the last thing he wants to be called. For the last couple of weeks Leo has asked to be called several different “characters.”  So far he’s been:

The Goalie (that’s the most popular one)

Soccer Goalie (similar to The Goalie but don’t confuse the two)

Mr. Conductor

The Baby

Baby Ryan

The Pilot

The Doctor

Gordon (one of Thomas’ the Train’s friends)

The Football Player

The Basketball Player

The Fireman


It was cute at first. Downright amusing. But now it’s gotten out of control. His characters dominate our lives. When people call him Leo he stomps his feet, throws a full-on tantrum and screams, “NO I AM THE GOALIE!!”

I’ve been drilling it into his head to say “Please call me Goalie” and just today he’s starting to catch on. This is affecting his interactions with his friends, my friends, strangers we see at the grocery store. A lady asked him in the checkout line today if his name was Leo or if that was his sign (because of his shirt). Imagine what she must have thought when he screamed, “NO I AM THE GOALIE!” I knew it had all gone too far when yesterday, the people who work at the YMCA play center actually wrote “Baby Ryan” on his name tag since that’s who he wanted to be. And today, his babysitter Ms. Noel covered up “Leo” on his shirt with “The Goalie.”


Now I will answer some FAQs about Leo (I mean “Baby” which is who he is right now) and his many personalities:


1. Does he have a new one every day?

Actually, he changes them throughout the day. Often he’s up to five different people in one day.


2. How do you know when he changes into another one?

For most of them he will say, “Mama say ‘Hi, Baby” (or whichever character he’s turned into). For Mr. Conductor, though, he’ll just suddenly say, “Tickets, please!”


3. Why is everyone “The” except Mr. Conductor?

Mr. Conductor is how the dinosaurs on Dinosaur train refer to the conductor. I don’t know why everyone else is “The.” He’s actually somewhat flexible with “the.” We are allowed to just say “Goalie” or “Pilot.”


4. Does he act like these characters?

He doesn’t act like any of them except Baby and Baby Ryan. For those he crawls around, cries and says things like, “I can’t talk. I am a baby.”


5. Who is Baby Ryan?

My friend Chantal’s baby. When Leo assumes Baby Ryan’s identity, he says that Ryan is Baby Leo.


6. Does he make kids and toddlers call him these names?
Yes. John is on board with it. All through sports class he called Leo "Goalie.” But everyone else is just confused. Bianca calls him “Ee-oh” and he freaks out on her. She’s just 21 months old!


7. What about if you’re just talking about him? Do you still have to use the character name?

Absolutely. He will catch you from the next room if you slip up. He even caught Bianca’s mom saying “Leo” and she was speaking Romanian!


8. At what point will you seek professional help?

I think if we’re moving him into his dorm room and he insists that the sign on his door says, “The Goalie,” then we’ll consider it.




Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ya Gotta Have Friends

Leo has had built-in friends since he was born but just recently he’s really started to enjoy playing with other kids. He and John, especially, love being together. They both ask to go see the other one and when they see each other, it’s a love fest. “JOHN!!” “LEO!!” They exclaim. Then they chase each other in circles. Tomorrow they start sports class together so I’m sure we’ll have some good pictures and stories from that. Leo already pretends to play sports with John. He’ll hold a football and say in an almost announcer-like voice, “And then I THROW the ball to John and John catches the ball and then I tackle John.” He gets tackling and tickling mixed up so he actually means he’s going to tickle him :)

Last weekend Leo met a new friend—Celia. She’s our friends Courtney and John’s adorable one-year-old daughter. They came in town for a visit and we all went out to eat and to the Aquarium. As you can see, Leo thought Celia was pretty cool:




Celia wasn’t so sure. “Why won’t this dude let go of his train when he hugs me?”




On a date at Johnny Rockets. “So do you come here often?”




With Hunter and Olivia—all holding lovies and snack traps. I thought little Olivia was laughing but I think she might be screaming because Leo is stepping on her foot. Oh,well, they all had fun using bowling pins like bird wings and running around, flapping their arms.




Talking sports in the pool with Dawson and John. “Texas is totally gonna dominate this season, guys!” Dawson and John say, “This is Clemson’s year!”



Hand in hand with his bestie:


The Evolution of Email



Some people can say they remember when TV was invented. Others remember the first records. I am proud of the fact that I will be able to tell my grandchildren that I was there for the debut of email.

It was August 1995. I was a freshman in college when my dad told me about it. “Email?” I asked. “What’s that?”

“It means electronic mail,” he said. “You have got get an email address!” He’s had an email address so long that the year “95” is still part of his email address. I’ve never thought of my parents as early adopters so it’s really extraordinary that they were the first people I knew to get email. I mean, they didn’t even get a cable-ready TV until a few years after they got email.

My dad hounded me about it for weeks. I remember thinking, “What do I need with one of these things?”  But then I figured out that I could get one through school. I still didn’t know exactly how to go about it so one day, while I was over at my friend’s dorm, the IT guy there said he would help us set up our email addresses. He was typing all the stuff into his computer and he said, “What do you want your password to be?” Since we were all about to go to the pool, I was holding my beach towel with a Disney character on it. I looked at the towel and said, “Jasmine!” He made my password “Jasmine” and do you know that every single password I’ve had for the last 15 years has had “Jasmine” in it? (By the way, it’s not actually Jasmine. I didn’t think it was smart to post my actual password.)

The only way I could check email in college was to go to the library and get on a waiting list for a computer. Can you imagine doing that now?

I remember thinking it was so weird when I got out into the workforce and people would email me when they were three cubes away. And all business was conducted over email. I could barely keep up with all the messages. Luckily, I had access to a computer and didn’t have to wait in line.

This is gonna be good stuff for the grandkids! But Great Grandpa Ron will have the best story of all. He can say he was the FIRST person (well, the first in our family) to have email. That’s totally better than a story about walking to school in the snow, uphill, both ways.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What the Sprinkler Guy Thinks of Us

I usually keep a clean house. People sometimes comment, “It doesn’t even look like a child lives here” (which I take as a compliment). I mean, I let Leo pull out toys and play but only so many at once and we always put them away before nap time and bed time.

But somehow yesterday, things got out of control. This was the scene at our house when the sprinkler guy showed up:


It looks like Cousin Eddie’s house in the “Vacation” movies!

And if you think the sprinkler guy just thought we were messy, you’re wrong. He also thought we were gross because we have a potty in the middle of the floor and my child has NO PANTS ON—not even a diaper!! (Now this is because I was half-heartedly trying this potty-training method where the kid runs around naked. More on that later.)


So to sum it up, here is what the Sprinkler Guy walked into:

  • A living room with toys scattered everywhere
  • A pile of trains, planes and cars in the foyer
  • A plastic potty right in the middle of the floor
  • A bottomless kid sitting on a chair, watching TV

It’s unfortunate because normally we are a clean-house, pants-wearing, potties-only-in-bathroom kind of family. But he’ll forever think otherwise.

Oh, and when I took this picture, my half-naked son said, “CHEESE! I’M WATCHING THOMAS!!”

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Roller Skating Girl Scouts with Up-Dos


I saw this commercial the other day for a local water park. It was shot on video (as opposed to film) so it had, what I call, the “we filmed this commercial in our backyard” look.

The amateur approach to this commercial gave me a flash back to a  commercial that I was almost a cast member of:

Let’s say it was 1986. I’m not exactly sure of the year but I feel like I was about nine. I was in Girl Scout Troop 114 (that I AM sure of) and we went on this excursion one Saturday that involved the most random of events:

First, we went to the local junior college to get our hair and make-up done. The cosmetology students there fixed us up with tons of blue eye shadow, blush and lip stick. Then they topped us off with up-dos. Some of us got French braids. I’m not sure which is funnier.

And we were wearing our Girl Scout uniforms, mind you.

Then we all went to this roller skating rink. Now the roller skating rink was owned by the dad of this girl in our troop named Becky Jo. (That’s not her real name but it was a double name that sounded like she belonged in a double wide.) 

Anyway, Becky Jo’s dad claimed he had bought commercial space on MTV and needed to film a spot about the rink. Of course, we didn’t understand that a commercial on MTV could be local and only run in the middle of the night. We thought we were going to be seen by millions of MTV watching music fans, all over the country, all the time. There would be a Madonna video followed by Girl Scout Troop 114, roller skating around in our make-up and up-dos.

So we roller skated around and around while the cameras (or the dude with the small video camera) rolled. It was a pretty easy gig. I don’t know what models are always complaining about.

Then every day after that we tuned into MTV to see our debut. I never saw it. Nobody ever did. What a waste of an up-do!

But at least if I ever get an IMDB profile it won’t list “Becky Jo’s Dad’s Roller Skating Rink Commercial” as my first acting job.

I really regret that I don’t have a picture of this to show you but it kinda looked like this:


Tuesday, August 10, 2010



I like the name Leo because it’s sort of unusual. Not unusual weird but unusual unique. But then I saw it in the Pottery Barn Kids Catalog and I feared it was becoming trendy.

Now it’s gone from from trendy to trashy. My sister sent me this article about race car driver Jeff Gordon naming his son Leo. Now people will confuse my Leo with little NASCAR Leos.

“Is your Leo the one in the Polo shirt or the one in the wife beater?”

“Is your Leo the one with all his teeth or the one with just some teeth?”

“Does your Leo have a crew cut or a mullet?”


But it doesn’t really matter since he asks us to call him “The Goalie” or “The Conductor” most of the time anyway. And if he becomes a NASCAR fan, he’ll probably make us call him Dale.


Friday, August 06, 2010

More Leo Says the Darndest Things

This week Leo has said things that fall into the following categories:






Every morning when I come in his room, he’s turned his crib into an imaginary train. Here’s what went on this morning.

I walk in and he announces (as he always does), “I am the conductor, Mommy!”

“Yes, you are the conductor. Who is riding on the train today?”

“Elmo, Ernie, Baby Ellie ride the train.”

He then requested that I sit in his Leo chair to ride the train. I did as I was told, of course.

“I’m going to make mommy dinner,” he said.

“Oh, there’s dinner served on this train? How nice!”

He then went into this whole dinner-making routine, mimicking everything I do while preparing a meal:

“Be patient. Don’t huss (fuss). I’m making Mac N Cheese.”

When the fake Mac N Cheese was ready he told me had to put it in the refrigerator because it was too hot. Now remember, he’s in his crib the whole time, bustling around this pretend train kitchen.

Then he started singing the “Too hot for Leo” song that I always sing but knew enough to change the words to “Too hot for Mommy.” When I tried to sing along, he said, “NO! I WILL SING IT!!”

After I ate my fake Mac N Cheese he said, “Do you want ice cream, mommy?” and then went into this whole routine of “mushing it up” because it was too cold (which is what I do with his ice cream). And all of this pretend exchange was speckled with me accidentally calling him “Leo” and him reminding me that he is “The Conductor.”

When we arrived at the pretend station, he told me he needed to get out because “the conductor needs his diaper changed.”



Leo and I were eating lunch at a park and I was explaining to him what a picnic was. I said, “I like having a picnic with you, Leo.” He said, “I love you too, Mommy.” Aw!! And when he saw that I liked that he kept saying it, which I loved, of course.

Also, during our picnic, he took a bite of my sandwich and said, “I put too much in at once” and I said, “No, you can eat it. You’re doing great.” He said, “I’m just learning!”

That’s something I tell him but not that often so I was surprised he repeated it.



We were at Walgreen’s, standing in line at the pharmacy. I asked Leo, “Do you know where we are?” He said, “Walgreen’s!” and then he looked over at the Take Care Clinic and said, “And there’s the wall…and it’s GREEN! Walgreen’s!” It actually was a green wall and you know what? That totally made sense!


And now back to silly for a couple of videos. Just like “Daddy Doh Tow” which he used to say a long time ago, I have no idea what “Acid Plum” means but he does and he has a little dance-like move that goes with it. Enjoy!



Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Cousin Conspiracy

Look at this face:


Does it look like the face of a manipulative, aggressive, kleptomaniac? She’s Ellie Simcik, Leo's one and only first cousin. And according to him, she is all of these things.

When we vacationed in Virginia Beach last week with the family, Leo accused 9-month old Ellie of all kinds of crimes. We heard allegations such as:

“Baby Ellie is trying to knock me down!” (When she pulled up on the chair he was sitting on).

“Baby Ellie is pushing me!”

“Stop hitting my daddy!”

“Baby Ellie took my trains!”

“Baby Ellie took my Ernie!”

We also heard the following two sentences several times:  “I don’t like Baby Ellie” and “Go away, Baby Ellie.”

The only thing Ms. Ellie was actually guilty of? Being adorable and forcing Leo to share some of the attention.


Luckily, she is forgiving and the two of them had some good cousin bonding time:


Leo introduced Ellie to the wonders of trains. (Shhh…don’t tell…she played with them while he was napping.)

IMG_2148 (2)


Helpin’ a cousin out…IMG_2150

Hoarding Ernie and Elmo so Ellie couldn’t get them.



Cameras again? Can’t we just play in peace?




Cousins Cooking!


Yes, Elmo is mine!!


The Rise and Fall of the Caboodle

Granny Jo often says the word “Caboodle” when playing with Leo. Of course, that got me thinking about Caboodles, as in the great make-up and accessories organization kits of the 80s.

I wondered, whatever happened to Caboodles? They were cute, clever and effective for both storage and transport. Plus, the word Caboodle is so fun to say! “My mom says I can spend the night. Let me just grab my Caboodle and I’ll come over” or “Where is my blue eyeliner? Oh, it’s in my Caboodle. No doy!”



I had one but I’m not sure what I put in it because I probably wasn’t old enough to wear make-up when they were popular. And why did we stop using Caboodles? Was it when people started going grunge in the 90s and therefore wore less make-up and jewelry? I guess a Caboodle wasn’t really great for storing flannel shirts. Plus, with its pastel colors, it didn’t really go with the dreary-Seattle movement.

The way I feel about Caboodles is not unlike how I feel about  Banana Clips. Both were wonderful inventions. Both made everyone who used them happy. Both made our lives easier. And both fell victim to our fickle consumer society. I’m very sorry to have been a part of your demise, Caboodle.

The good news is that Caboodles, the company, is still going strong. They make all kinds of make-up cases, some more sophisticated for those of us in the 30+ crowd. And they still make Caboodles like the ones pictured above. But get this; they’re called “Classic” Caboodles.

I think I’m going to get one. If I had one in 1997, it may have looked like I was just out of style. But if I have one now, I could say, “Oh, that? That’s my Caboodle. It’s vintage 1986. It holds my make-up, jewelry and there’s even a space for my banana clips.”