Saturday, May 17, 2008

Prince Caspian

I took Ellie and a friend to Prince Caspian last night. And honestly, I loved the movie. I expected to enjoy it, but not as much as I did. I think I loved it most because I was able to view it through the lens C.S. Lewis intended, with Aslan as an allegory of Christ. I'm not going to say much more about it because I don't want to spoil it the first weekend it is out. I will just say, if you view Aslan through the filter of divine deity, it brings more depth to the film. And if you choose not to, the film is excellent without it.

But this post is not about the movie. Can I talk a minute about the 11-13 year olds in my life?

We don't watch a lot of TV around here. Some Cartoons on Saturdays, some Discovery Channel on Sundays, and an occasional American Idol or so. I don't watch the news and most of my TV viewing I do over the internet, with my headphones on. But I didn't realize how different that really is from other families until the past few days. On Thursday, I was taking my oldest and her friends to dance, and they were discussing news coverage of some gang related violence somewhere in the world. (I wasn't listening very closely, apparently) They were frightened by this. Even though our community is fairly quiet and mostly harmless. I could feel genuine anxiety over potential gang violence and them getting caught in the cross-fire. However that news story was presented, it effectively made suburban tree-lined America feel specifically dangerous to these 13 year old girls.

Last night, before the movie, Ellie's friend talked about several recent things, including an interview with Madeline McCann's parents, another 20/20 story about an abduction, and then the old Elizabeth Smart abduction came up. And again, there was a palpable anxiety there. These children believe that they could be abducted by strangers at any time. "In broad daylight" was said a lot. Because somehow, the thought of stranger abduction is made more frightening by it happening during the day rather than being snatched from your bed in the middle of the night.

Are we doing our kids a disservice by allowing them to see the constant attention things like Natalie Holloway and Elizabeth Smart and Madeline McCann? Several of my children's friends have issues with continued anxiety. But my girls are largely untouched, even a little baffled by the intense emotion. I think it's because the news is not constantly on, filling our house with worry and anxiety and fear. Which I am glad of. I want them to feel that they can be kids, and play outside, and walk to friend's homes and ride bikes together and not be constantly worried that someone might kidnap them. In broad daylight.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Eye Doctor

Currently, Dave is in the process of changing jobs, so all of our insurance benefits will reset. Naturally, we want to use whatever we can of the first one, before we switch. So, everyone has been to (and is going to and will always be going to) the dentist. And 4, of the 5 kids and I were also due for eye check ups.

The office we go to is competent and we've never had any issues with our lenses or exams. But their staff is a little odd. So far, 4 of the 5 kids wear or have worn glasses in the past. Dave and I both wear glasses and Dave and Rebi and I all wear contacts. I do. It's been known to happen. So, as you can imagine, in 3 years, we have spent a fair amount of time at this place. And we see the same doctor each and every time. For 3 years. Throw in an eye trauma or two and we're roughly looking at 25 visits to this doctor. Narcissistic me, I kinda assumed we would be memorable. But, in spite of the fact that I have been in that office 3 different times in the last week, and did I mention that I see the same doctor each and every time?, I sat down in the chair and he introduced himself to me. For the third time this week.

And while looking at my chart, where his notes state that I am a good candidate for eye surgery, he said,"Have any of your previous doctors recommended corrective surgery for your vision problems?"

"Umm, yes. You did. I can see it written on my chart from here. And not only did you encourage me to get my eyes fixed last year, you also suggested it 2 years ago, and 3 years ago when I saw you the first time."

And then, he proceeds to marvel at how freakishly different my eyes are from each other, both in shape and in disability. Because the right one is close to fine and normal shaped but the left one is shaped like a football opposite of how it should be shaped like a football in someone's head, and I'm very nearly blind in it. And I realize that on my fourth visit, I can relate nearly word for word exactly what he thinks of my eye. And what a freak I am, because clearly, with an eye this abnormal, I should be running to the laser surgeon just so I can retain a little dignity.

Except that my prescription has worsened in that eye, so I'm not actually a great candidate for surgery anyway. SCRATCH and it's marked through on my chart with a big black pen. I knew I should have paid thousands of dollars to lay sedated on a chair, with my eyes taped open, while sharp pointy things were aimed at them. That makes a root canal sound fun. And now, I have missed my chance. The black mark says so. Which is OK, because I bet by next year, he will have forgotten why he marked it out anyway and I will get another chance at the knives.

And if only that was the worst part of the visit. But no, I was then required to pick out glasses. And even though there are 3 people who help with that there, I always get the bitchy broad. Every single year and with each and every kid. And, although I can not use the word hate, this is a woman I wish not to talk to about glasses ever again in my life.

Her: So, you need new frames.
Me: Well, these are only a year old
Her: But your prescription has changed.
Me: Right. So I need new lenses
Her: Well, the insurance will pay for new frames. (but only $150. If I only need lenses, why spend the $$)?
Me: If I can find any I like (and please know, I'm starting to feel grumpy and confronted here)
Her: There are plenty of good frames here. (and she proceeds to bring out 4 or 5 of the high end, $275-400 frames. Because I am obviously made of money by the gold and jewels dangling off of me)
Me: Yes, but they are too narrow. It gives me a headache if I can see the edge of the glasses under my eye.
Her: (derisively) They don't make the big ones like yours anymore. (apparently my glasses are the size of dinner plates, even though they are not from the 80's, but from her display. Last year.) And anyway, you're going to have to change over at some point.

And now, I'm just annoyed because 2 years ago, I bought the cute skinny frames and had terrible migraines every time I put them on. I always felt like the rim was in the way of my vision in my left eye. And she is the one who half-heartedly tried to kinda sorta look like she was fixing the problem. Unsolvable, she then helped me spend an additional $300 out of pocket for bigger glasses. Hence the dinner plates currently on my face.

Me: I'm not going to purchase small glasses again just to find out they still give me migraines.
Her: Look at me
I look at her
Her: Well. There's your problem. (and would that problem be that I am STILL listening to you even though I think you're rude?) Your left eye is lower than your right.

Finally! My problems are solved! All I need to do is go to the plastic surgeon, ask him to reform my eye socket a bit higher, anchor my eyeball up towards my forehead so that I no longer resemble Quasimodo and I will be able to wear any cute little thin pair of $400 glasses she is dying to sell me. Does my vision plan cover that?

Or maybe it's time to stop being so freaking lazy and start wearing my contacts.

Me: I'm not ready to pick glasses today after all. I'll just pay for my visit and come back another time. And by that, I mean to pick up a copy of my prescription so that I can shop for glasses somewhere that the sales person can forget for a few minutes that she works on commission and pretend that she gives a rat's a** about her customer.

But you know I didn't really say that last bit. Because I'm a bigger person than that.


I did leave. I'll call for a copy of my prescription. Maybe they can fax it to me. . .

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Well Hello, All

For you regular readers who aren't subscribed to the blog, it seems that my tortilla tutorial has become a bit popular. Which makes me laugh a little, because I honestly had no idea over 500 1000 people would care to learn how to make tortillas. Even more amusing is the fact that the person I posted it for, ahem Aaron, still hasn't even looked at it. Because he'll read through the tutorial about 10 minutes prior to the time he needs the tortillas.

So, I am flattered that a little help for a friend could be interesting world wide. And to everyone new to the Misfires, welcome. I believe some of our newest members will stick around. Until I bore them to death. Or get all ranty about certain holidays involving hearts. But let's not delve into THAT again, shall we?

There's just one little problem with the Misfires that I should clear up before we add a lot of new friends.

Not enough of you are leaving comments.

I know, it sounds like I selfishly expect you to spend time validating me. Which is true. But MORE than that, I love to hear someone else's take on my warped sense of humor, or my bizarre-o opinions. And for everyone who has been reading faithfully since Day 1- Mom, you know who you are- don't think you're exempt from the occasional chiming in.

Am I asking too much here? Just throw me a bone and make an observation or tell me I'm nuts. Even a little "ha=ha". You too Alex. I know you're there. . .

OK, I'm done outting everyone. Again, thanks for letting me entertain you. I do live for it just a tiny bit.

Son, Be a Dentist: Part Deux

I have made my feelings for dentists quite clear. I do not dislike the dentists' chair, I loathe it. In the "detest it with a mad and fiery passion" sense of the word. Loathe.

However, I must be fair. My current dentists rock. Yes, that's plural because they share a practice. And you can choose to see one of them, or you can take what you get when your filling falls out and the hole where it was is open to the nerve and the pain is bad enough that you think of Tom Hanks and find yourself shuffling towards the garage on the look out for pliers because they will be so much easier than a skate. Can I have an amen? Either way, you are in great hands. With these dentists. Not with the pliers. Or the skate.

Which is a good thing, as my jacked up teeth will be sitting in the chair for no less than 37 years. At which point, they will complete the final dental work and promptly begin to yank them all and fit me for dentures. Couldn't we just skip a step or 30? Preferably the ones involving the scraping and the prodding and the grinding away of pieces of my body with a look of joy on your face?

Well, there are a few pieces of my body I'm willing to part with. . .with joy on my face. . .

But you don't have to take my word for it. Evan, Tyler and I all went to the dentist today. I saw both dentists while the boys each saw one. I win! Evan said he has never had better shots. What? A child praising long pointy objects being rammed into the tender flesh of his mouth? ROCK ON! And Tyler said, "You know mom, I really hate getting shots in my mouth, but I can't decide who does them best, Dr Sorge or Dr Fox." OK, I'm lying a little. He's only ever seen Dr Fox. Who looks 12, but listens to good music, so he gets my vote for the good dentist bit. But I've had shots from both dentists and not hated them either time. Another first.

In the attitude of full disclosure, I feel compelled to warn you that although Dr Sorge is kind enough to make an ipod with rocking Bose headphone available to drown out the sounds of his incessant (but to be fair, not off key) humming, the tunes themselves are a little less than rocking. Michael Buble, Norah Jones. Boston. He's killing me. I believe he was trying to lull me into a soft jazzy pop stupor so I would forget to bite him when he stabbed me with the sharp pointy probe that dentists love to stick in every soft place in your mouth. I realize I'm probably the only person in the blogoshpere that cannot stand "More Than a Feeling" playing in my ears while the drill kicks tooth dust into my nose, but I was finally forced to rescue my itouch from Tyler before Boston melted my brain into a gelatinous mess. I insisted on using the Bose 'phones. And to be fair again, there were no sharp objects randomly poked into soft flesh in my mouth. Other than the shots I barely felt. But if he reads this post, I'm betting there will be the next time I see him. Which I believe is tomorrow.

Honestly, if you don't hold his music against him-and the praise from my son has me about 3/4 of the way there- you should totally go to these dentists. They have been. . .dare I say excellent? Wait. I take that back. I don't want to be fighting all y'all for chair time for the next 37 years. And no, you can't borrow my ipod.

(Note: Neither of these dentists did the painful root canal that I wrote about a few weeks ago and then linked to in the first line of this post. Different guy. Whom I won't ever go back to because Sorge and Fox are better.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Knott Another Typical Day

Have I ever blogged about my friend Shari? She's the one who convinced me to paint my house in Salt Lake a bunch of different awesome colors. She's the one who convinced me that going to Orlando via Boston would totally rock. She's the one who talked me into changing my own alternator belt on an old Mazda. And after she talks me into stuff, she helps me carry out the plan. We poured cement in my kitchen- with the help of 8 kids under the age of 9- and tiled three rooms, we cut holes in a wall for better AC access and then finished and decorated them, we changed the alternator and the brakes, chainsawed a tree and removed a stump from her back yard, grouted her entire kitchen, and then scrubbed 2 gallons of white paint back off of it, (after her oldest child "helped" us) and 100 or more other things that I can't remember. She let me hold her newest of newborn babies, in the hospital, all night long. OK, she didn't really have a choice there, as she was too weak to make me go home so I took advantage. She let me cry on her new couches after my roommate from college died. She forgave Dave on sight when he dropped and shattered their only (expensive) television. And I sincerely hope I can find the pictures of that one because that story really does need to live on for many many moons.

And I have come to learn (and not without a fight) that Shari, much like Dad in that old sitcom, always knows best. Which is not to say I wasn't grumpy at 6 am when I got up to drive to Long Beach to get her. Never mind that she flew in exclusively to help me take a day off- something I just don't do like I should. I was still grumpy. Before dawn and rush hour just don't belong in the same sentence. Or anywhere near my life. But hey, it's a sacrifice. And when Shari says, "I'll see you in the morning", I have learned that it is in my best interest to see Shari.

When I picked her up, she said, "So what do you want to do for the day?"
And struck by inspiration, I said, "Well Knotts Berry Farms is close."

Yes, yes we did. We took our creaky hips and sticky knees and weak bladders and baby tummies and we rode every roller coaster in the park. Some of them twice.

We ate bugs, and choked on our own laughter and screamed and screamed and screamed. Shari nearly puked 3 or 4 times. And some weirdo nearly puked on me once. From the top of the tallest tower in the park. I was afraid he would puke and then we would catch it on the way back up.

We sat on the front on every ride except one. And if anyone invites you to sit on the back row on the Boomerang, please just say no. Honestly. There's some hang time on that one. And it isn't entirely painless.

Don't be fooled by the Silver Bullet. It isn't silver. What kind of joker paints a ride red, except for the struts holding the track, loads it with green, red and yellow swings, and then names it the silver bullet?

This was actually our last ride of the day, so we hobbled up the 720 steps to it, too proud to ride the elevator, too many worn joints to pretend we were teenagers, mocking ourselves the entire way for looking 90. But once it was over and our equilibrium was permanently damaged, we had to agree looking 90 going up the stairs was WAYY better than the hysterical laughter we were met with when we had to scoot on our butts to get back down 720 stairs without falling over!

And lest you should be worried about the kids, I want to reassure you that I kept them updated all day long by text messaging photos of each ride to them. I didn't want them to think I just forgot about them.

So, if I burst out laughing for no apparent reason over the next few days, I'm just reliving the insanity. Or realizing the insanity. Or reveling in the insanity. I don't know which, I get confused. But let me tell you, we had a blast!

P.S. If you ride this ride:
you absolutely HAVE to scream as you go over. It totally makes the experience. We found that out from the teenagers in the row behind us. They certainly made it the best ride of the day. I'd share the joke, but it's hysterical when you figure it out for yourself.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Chicago Mike, this is for you:

Because I thought of you as soon as I saw it. In fact, I unsafely took a picture while driving just to share with you. Because I'm a giver.

We shall heretofore never refer to these as "tip jars" again.
Because "Karma Jars" is just so awesome. I emptied my wallet into it. AND I crossed my fingers. I hope it works. . .

Monday, May 12, 2008

I need a vacation

I have been dreaming of foreign travel. And I have been researching where I could take the kids without it costing us an arm and a leg. But unless I booked tickets from Pakistan to Malaysia in some sort of fugue state, I'm pretty sure my credit card has been compromised.

Which is made even more bizarre by the fact that it's a debit card tied to an account that has very little money in it and NEVER gets used. I was anxious to talk to the bank's fraud department and find out all of the details, but I waited on hold for 15 minutes and then my phone died.

Thank goodness whoever violated my financial security could only use the numbers as a credit card and not a debit card. Otherwise, I would be $1150 poorer and still be looking at the same boring walls!

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Mother's Day was a huge success. Just ask Evan, who woke up with his regularly occurring bout of back pain and promptly took pain killers and went back to bed. Or you can ask Tyler, who woke up with what he could only describe as a blinding migraine. Literally. Or maybe Nate who claimed his stomach was too sick to go to church. Oh I know! Ask Ellie, who jumped off the counter (after getting out ingredients for the very delicious triple layer "Happy Madre Day" cake pictured above) and managed to bang her elbow into the granite counter top. No, she still isn't using it. Yes, it is bruised in a very weird fashion. Yes, barring a miracle I will be taking her for Xrays in the morning.

There were the typical highlights of arguing over the Wii, but over all they reigned themselves in quite nicely. Nate did not sit on my lap telling me he loved me all day, although Tyler and Evan gave me copious hugs. Then again, that could have been a direct result of the drugs they were on.

My favorite quotes of the day:

Jenne's daughter: Mom, it's not fair. Moms and Dads get two whole days dedicated to them because they get Mother's or Father's Day AND their birthdays. Kids only get their birthdays. While it might be true that Dads get 2 whole days dedicated to them every year, Jenne was pretty sure that the fact she was helping her daughter do the dishes from the meal Jenne had cooked was a pretty good indicator of the reality of Motherhood.

Nate: Mom, Happy Mother's Day! You can ask me to do any task at all and I will do it. I will do anything you ask me to. And after a brief pause, he must have realized the implications of it, because then he said, But not if it takes too long. We're still trying to define "too long". It turns out going to the garage for a can of olives is waaay over the time limit he imposed. . .

My Mom: You've had the Wii for how long and they didn't get the cleaning done? I think there's something wrong there. I don't think you've trained them very well. Because no Mother's Day would be complete without my own mother imposing a sense of failure on me, right?

And now, I think I shall go "recover" from Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day.
As we know from my Valentine's Rant, I'm not exactly a fan of the forced holidays. And, according to this article, the founder of Mother's Day wouldn't be thrilled either:

On this 100th anniversary of Mother's Day, the woman credited with creating one of the world's most celebrated holidays probably wouldn't be pleased with all the flowers, candy or gifts.

Jarvis became known for scathing letters in which she would berate people who purchased greeting cards, saying they were too lazy to write personal letters "to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world."

But, Mother's Day is all about the leverage. So, today my kids will make a disaster in my kitchen trying to cook for me, and the boys will spend all day giving me hugs, sitting on me, and saying I love you. And within reason, doing anything I ask them to. There's really nothing better than a day of being able to say, "I don't care what you want, it's MY day, so do what I tell you!" And all iterations thereof. And while I'm not sure they have fully earned the Wii, they worked like dogs Friday and Saturday. I'm sure that had nothing to do with me threatening the post the Wii on eBay. Hopefully, after my iron will cracks and the box is opened, I will be able to use Wii time as leverage to get a little more work out of them. With only one controller, I have a sneaking suspicion that Mother's Day Wii playing will be anything but quiet. Or friendly.

Here's the answer to Friday's obscure quote. Which I didn't quote it directly. Just watch the clip. . .