Wednesday, December 19, 2007

If I blogged every day...month...I wouldn't be a Beta!

Well, I did it! I wasn't sure I was going to make it, but I am proud to announce I just finished NO-BLO-FO-MO-MO, otherwise known as "No blogging for a month...month". It was grueling, and there were times when I thought I wasn't going to make it. I was sure there was no way I was not going to think of anything to write for an entire month, but I did it.

Now, I know there were doubters out there - un-supporters who checked my blog every day, thinking "There's just no possible way she's going to go another day without posting!". To those of you who didn't believe that I could generate a total lack of creativity, well, I think the words of Gandhi expressed it best when he said, "Be the change you wish to see in your blog".

And to those supporters who ditched my blog never to look back because you believed in my total lack of inspiration, let me just say, "Thank You".

Now that's enough of that.

So, I've gotten a few tags, a little bit of bling and a lot to catch up on. I'm going to start with a softball today, however. It's a little photo montage I like to call "Getting the Christmas Card Shot"

ps - Big bonus reader points to anyone who can tell me how to get the link button back on my blogger text bar - it's dissapeared, and I can't get it back!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

When Bad Cookies Happen to Good People

Sometimes I forget I'm a Beta mom.

Sometimes I have delusions of grandeur and become totally convinced that I can do everything and be everywhere.

Sometimes I forget to give myself permission to let good enough be good enough.

And there's where things go wrong. Very, very wrong.

Sometimes when I'm working all day and then picking up my kids and grocery shopping and getting a husband and a son ready for an opening night production and making a salad for the kindergarten pot luck that we will all go to before the opening night production and baking a batch of cookies and a batch of lemon squares for a bake sale and trying to shower because I didn't have time that morning...

well, sometimes, when all that is happening, I get confused.

And instead of putting one egg in the cookies and three eggs in the lemon squares like the recipe calls for, I put THREE eggs in the cookies. And I end up with cookie dough that looks like pancake batter.

So rather than admit defeat, I add flour to the cookies to thicken the consistency.

Worried that I've created cake-like cookies with no taste, I throw chocolate chips in the batter.

Worried that my monstrosities won't sell, while all the OTHER moms' perfectly baked cookies will fly off the table, I search for something, anything, to add to their appeal.

In a panic, I grab some Hershey kisses. (I've seen that done, right? People put kisses on cookies, right? People will be dying for these awesome awesome chocolate cookies, right?)

I pull the giant, cake-like, lumpy cookies from the oven, slap on the Hershey kisses and stand back to admire my handiwork.

This is what I ended up with:


Look familiar?

Can't quite place it?

Here, let me help you:

Beta Mom's Fake Dog Doo Cookies - Scoop them up at a Bake Sale near you!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Will Rhyme For Food

Well, there's just going to be no living with me now.

On the heels of my MAJOR newspaper publication (those elementary kids didn't know what hit 'em), I've received word that I'm the winner of Creative-Type Dad's KFC Chicken Checks give-away.

Click on the title above (where, oh where, Blogger have you hidden my tool bar with my link button?) and check out the winning entry, as well as the hilarity that is Creative-Type Dad.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Don't Worry - I Won't Let It Go To My Head

It pleases me to no end to announce that finally after what feels like days of hard work and patience – I am being published in a major newspaper!

It’s true! Today my article “Local Children Head "Into the Woods"” – a scintillating expose detailing the sordid lives of the children of community theater – is being published in…

Are you ready for it?

The Warrior – our elementary school newspaper!

Not only that, but it’s been syndicated.

To the middle school.

Stop cheering…no, really, your applause is too much. Settle down now.

Not to brag, but this achievment is a direct result of the dedication and commitment I show in my role as our theater’s
publicist/refreshment coordinator.

Now, I know that there are many of you out there who are still toiling away, firing off pieces for lesser know names like Parents Magazine and Time and whatnot and are wondering how you might achieve a level of success like mine. All I can tell you is - hold onto your dreams. These major publication companies can be tough to break into. For example, I had to call Isabel, the school secretary, THREE times before I got the go-ahead.

But in the end, it was worth it. There, between “Illness of the Week” and “Ski Club sign-ups” sits my brilliant debut.

I’ll remember you all in my Pulitzer acceptance speech.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Bananas is hot!

So, the witty and beautiful Jenny over at Absolutely Bananas (Click on the title above to pay her a visit!) came up with a great idea. Sort of a virtual ladies room, where we gals can get together and dish about our latest beauty secrets and finds. (No, guys, we really are NOT talking about you in there.) Once a month, we post - Bananas keeps the master list at her place - check it out for other great pointers.

After all, none of us is as smart as all of us. Or none of us is smarter than some of us. Or some is smarter than none.....Anywho - here's my tip.

A while back to make the tedium of drinking the recommended 18 gallons of water a day easier, I began adding lemon juice. Sometimes I squeeze half a lemon into my water in the morning. Sometimes I slice up lots of little pieces and just keep them in my bottle as I refill it. (Sometimes I forget to drink water at all and drink 47 cans of Diet Pepsi instead. sigh)

Anyway, while drinking water always makes me feel better, I noticed that drinking the water with lemon made a marked improvement - to my skin, my hair, my energy level - I just all around felt better. Now, I'm not one for fancy book learnin', but I've done some reading and it seems lemon juice is extremely effective in removing toxins from your system. Can't really get into the where and why - I just know that it adds a certain glow!

So, if life hands you lemons - drink lemon juice. Then you can be pretty like this:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

An Open Letter to the Retail Industry

Dear Purveyors of Fine Holiday Merchandise,

Now that the holiday season is upon us I’d like to get a head start on my psychological clarity during what can be a very confusing and stressful time. Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.

To begin, what is at stake for my children at Christmastime? If they do not receive exactly the most popular and expensive toys will they simply be ostracized, ridiculed on the playground, or do you think they might meet physical harm? To reinforce this message, do you really think that 10 Christmas commercials per every 5 minutes of television viewing time are enough, or should I paste the 27 flyers we get in the mail every day to their walls? Thanks, by the way, for all of the terrific commercials you now show at the movies. I was worried that we might have some wasted time there, but you had us covered.

Further, what do you think the minimum number of gifts should be for our children to know we truly love them? 25? 50? 100? Is there a love to dollar formula you can refer me to so that I can ensure my children's happiness and be spared any potential embarrassment among the neighbors?

While we are on the subject of family, I have some concerns about my husband. I have yet to receive a gift of substantial 4-5 figure worth. Has he lost interest in me? Do you think that kind of gifts I’ve received over the years – a hand-crafted arbor made from cedar trees he cut himself, an original composition – are indications that his eye may be wandering? If it's true, I realize that the blame may be mine. I have not purchased anything recently from The Victoria’s Secret “Flounce Around the House” line. I will work to remedy the situation immediately while I sit amongst my many catalogs sipping international coffees sweetened with Splenda.

Finally, what do you recommend in terms of transportation as we travel from one perfectly decorated house to another, visiting the hundreds of friends and acquaintances we must have to ensure that we have both social standing and worth? I understand that traveling in a forward facing seat without some kind of a table and entertainment center is no longer acceptable, as my children cannot be expected to entertain themselves in the car as we travel 5 miles down the road. Is there a car that actually flies? If so, please notify me immediately; we would not want to appear behind the times.

Cost is no issue; I've see many advertisements for charitable companies offering generous lines of equity to assist us in paying this very small price for the love and comfort of our family.

Thank you in advance for your attention in these very important matters. I greatly appreciate the energy and fervor you put forth in ensuring a meaningful holiday for my family and me.

Beta Mom

Sunday, November 4, 2007

It's ilove...

Instead of cleaning all of this laundry:

I'm wasting away the day playing with my new computer.

Did imention that ihave a new imac and ilove it. iwill never be without my imac again. ithink ifound true love.

By far our favorite accessory is the photo booth.

While the laundry strangles the pets and makes long distance phone calls, I've been doing this (hope this works):


me as a cartoon

me as a character from the 80's hit video "take on me"

me as an Andy Warhol picture

and me as that kid from Mask

Saturday, November 3, 2007

What's that behind your back?

Let's just skip the pretense and cut right to the chase, shall we?

Of all of the candy you steal from your child's pumpkin/basket/bag, which is your favorite?

When sneaking candy past the children, do you -
a) hide it in a pocket?
b) wrap it in a magazine/hide it behind a book?
c) distract the children and then make a dash for it?

What is your favorite re-arranging technique you utilize so the children will not notice their dwindling candy supply?

What's the most outlandish excuse you've come up with when a child discovers an empty candy wrapper in your room?

Friday, November 2, 2007

She who laughs -

Well, it seems we all (six of us) agree that while Donnie is a little bit rock and roll, Marie's just a little bit creepy. To that end, I thought I'd feature her in the newly revived video clip of the day. (look to the right - see it?!) I found a hilarious bit - only to be amazed that Marie herself is behind it.

Props to her for having a sense of humor!

Check it out!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

She was robbed....

Okay - a self-imposed meme. I've become addicted to Dancing with the Stars. It's like watching some splendid sequined train wreck - I just can't turn my head away. (The fact that it's on one of the two channels we get doesn't hurt, either.)

I'm not one to get in an online debate about who should stay, who should go, who has the improved the most, who uses the most double sided tape and who lifted their feet off the floor and on and on, but I liked that little Cheeta girl's pluck and I'm bummed she got voted off over that vapid male soap star.

Plus, to keep it mommy relevant, I'd like to add that Marie Osmond makes me uncomfortable. Uncomfortable in a "middle aged women who unbutton their blouse the extra button and make inappropriate jokes with the bag boys at the supermarket about squeezing their melons" kind of way. I also don't like the fact that she's CONSTANTLY mentioning how she's a single mother. (Alright, she may have only mentioned it once, but my righteousness has no time to check the facts.) I know some amazing single moms who work, manage their houses, love their kids and blog. Don't give me this "ooh I fainted and I'm really busy and I couldn't two step because I'm a single mother of eight children".

Plus, she designs collectible dolls, which are just creepy.

Our Halloween was AWESOME - hope yours was too!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

From the geezer files....

I'm feeling very nostalgic today -

Remember when it was a HUGE DEAL when the holiday specials were on tv? Schedules were cleared for the likes of the Peanuts Gang, Frosty, Rudolf, Peter Cottontail and more. If you missed it - TOO BAD. That was your only chance and it wouldn't be on for another YEAR!

There was a specific protocol to be followed; rituals that were as important as the show itself. Dinner (maybe even something junky like mac and cheese FROM A BOX!) , bath, pajamas, teeth, hair, drag your pillow and blanket from the BED to the COUCH, turn off all the lights, snuggle in and enjoy.

I miss these moments; with DVDs, TiVo, Cable and a million viewing choices that can be enjoyed again and again and again it just doesn't feel as special.

It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown celebrates it's 40th anniversary tonight on television. So tonight to celebrate this momentous occasion, we're going to make dinner (not mac and cheese from a box; maybe some garlic bread from a bag, though) shower (even in a wave of nostalgia, one has to consider our $400 water bill), get the jammies on, drag the bedding down, turn the lights off and enjoy a moment from the dark ages. (For those of you keeing score, it's on ABC - one of the two channels we get.)

I hope you get a chance to enjoy it too.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Stay Tuned....

Coming soon -

The all new Beta Mom's Blog!


The mostly New Beta Mom's Blog!

Maybe more like...

The I've got some new stuff but it's probably more of the same Beta Mom's Blog!


It's mostly the same stuff with some new graphics that I'm learning about on my new computer and as soon as I have time between work and parenting and volunteering I'll figure it out and publish!

Beta Mom

Thursday, October 4, 2007

You Might Be a Beta Mom if....

you made up a bunch of fake names for your children's school catalog fundraiser, and then paid for all of the stuff yourself because you actually didn't do a darn thing.

P.S. To my PTO sisters - this is just a hypothetical situation I made up for the amusement of others. I would never, ever do something like that.

Ethel Mertz.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The "It" girl....

Apparently I've been tagged by the lovely Anna. Aside from being studied and then released back into my natural habitat, being tagged has given me the opportunity to reflect, share, and most importantly, forced me to finally learn how to post a freakin' link. (I think..if it doesn't work, well, my apologies, but I'm probably not going to fix it.)

Here you go.

Four Jobs I've Had

"Junior Naturalist" at a science center. Once you've scooped Polar Bear poop, life is never the same.

Associate Producer with a video production company. This job led to one of my favorite brushes with fame - shooting a PSA with Fred, the Dunkin Donuts guy ("Time to make the donuts"). This is a very regional reference; my apologies to my friends in the south and west. Just know that a brush with a famed pastry pusher was exhilarating. May Fred rest in peace.

Director of a Victorian holiday-themed progressive play that took place over several acres of a maritime museum. 100 actors, 25 crew members, a dozen scene locations, two wagons, four horses, 180 kerosene lanterns, 10,000 ginger snaps, and 36 tours a night for the month of December. Happy Freakin' Christmas. (This was actually one of my favorite jobs ever!)

Program Developer at a children's museum. For more on all the excitement that can follow, read here.

Four movies I could watch over and over:

Princess Bride

Whale Rider

Any of the Lord of the Rings movies (I'm going to count this as my 3rd, 4th and 5th. Yup, I'm a rule-breaker)

This is a tested theory, as we don't have cable. So we do, in fact, watch these movies over and over again.

Four TV Shows I Like (reality version)

Project Runway
Top Chef
My Life on the D List

Four TV Shows I Like (non-reality)

Arrested Development
Ugly Betty
Grey's Anatomy
Let's also throw Lost in here as my loved, but often neglected older, foster child

Four Places I've Gone on Vacation

Disney World
Disney World
Disney World
Disney World

Four Favorite Foods
Grilled salmon
Almost any pasta dish
Ice cream
Mom's rice pudding

Four Websites I Visit Daily
My Blogroll
and.....if you really must know....well....Perez Hilton. There. I've said. Let's move on.

Four Places I Would Rather Be
Sailing on the Mary Day off the coast of Maine
The beach
The movies
Disney World

Four Bloggers I Tag - women who are funny, smart, and cause me to waste entirely too much time in front of the screen -

Nell McCabe
Absolutely Bananas
Alpha Dogma
Canned Laughter


Monday, October 1, 2007

A Monday giggle.....

I can't take credit for this one - thanks to my lovely Aunt Liz for sending this little piece of mind candy.


A guy goes to the supermarket and notices an attractive woman waving at
him. She says hello. He's rather taken aback because he can't place where
he knows her from. So he says, "Do you know me?" To which she replies, "I
think you're the father of one of my kids." Now his mind travels back to
the only time he has ever been unfaithful to his wife and says, "My God,
are you the stripper from my bachelor party that I made love to on the pool
table with all my buddies watching while your partner whipped my butt with
wet celery???" She looks into his eyes and says calmly, "No, I'm your son's
Math teacher."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

What's in a name?

As new parents, there were few decisions we fretted over more than the naming of our children. We were convinced that our baby's name would determine who he was, how people perceived him - it would dictate his future. A name, essentially, could make or break our child's life. No pressure.

To further complicate matters, both my husband and I were teachers. This meant that based on our experiences we had certain qualities attached to names* that otherwise would have been wonderful.

"How about Hercules?"
"Hmm....Xena's pretty."
"Too bossy."

And so forth and so on. In the end, we chose a Celtic name for our son that was somewhat unusual(it warranted a few raised eyebrows from the more traditional members of the family). We did worry that we'd doomed him to a life of mispronunciations and corrections, but as he grows we couldn't imagine him being anyone else. And, in a way, we were right. While he has the ability to dictate his own future, his name is an integral part of who he's become.

To that point, our amazing nine-year-old boy brought this poem home yesterday. He gave me permission to share it with you.

My name is C------
It flows like silk on the wind.
It's crisp and fresh like watermelon
or an autumn day.
It's red and green
like a bird of paradise.
It's spicy like Hot Tamales
and sweet like Twix.
It looks like an outline
in the fog.
All of these things
fit into this uncommon name
that belongs to me.
My name is C------.


*For the record, we did not actually consider the names Hercules, Xena and Zeus. I chose these extreme examples so as not to offend anyone. My apologies if your child has any one of these names....I'm sure he or she is a lovely child who exhibits none of these traits.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


5:30 Awakened by the nine-year-old, who on a weekday moans like a zombie when I DRAG him out of bed at 7:15.

7:30 - 10:00 - Aimlessly surfed the net

10:01 - Refused nine-year-old access to computer, because too much screen time is very, very bad for him.

10:02 - 11:00 - Surfed some more

11:00 - Considered running. Too hot. Ate yummy pastries instead (Thank you, mom). Will run tomorrow. Unless it's too hot again...or something comes up...or if it's a day that ends in "y".

12:00 - Washed dog. Came to a sad realization that dog smelled better than rug.

2:00 - Went to Walmart to purchase rug cleaner and new bike helmet for 5-year-old.

2:15 - Went into shock shopping for bike helmet, which costs as much a trip to the emergency room for head trauma. Weighed options. Decided to go with my legal obligations and purchased said helmet.

2:27 - Left the big blue box forgetting rug cleaner, but spending $60 on stuff I don't need.

3:00 - Purchased first pumpkins of the season. Imagining all the cute things Martha Stewart does with her pumpkins.

3:15 - Piled pumpkins on kitchen counter next to toilet paper and ant traps.

5:30 - Planned exquisite dinner.

5:45 - Threw some Cheez-its in a bowl, popped in a movie and decided to write.

6:40 - Posting.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Picture This...

and....I'm back.

It's picture day today at school! What I love most about picture day is the certainty of it all. You see, I know on picture day two things are SURE to happen.

1) A child will loose a tooth the day before pictures are to be taken, thereby looking like one has just stumbled into her picture session from a bar fight. Put a beehive wig on my five year old right now and she could be Amy Winehouse post-rehab. Fortunately, and I kid you not, our school photographer now offers "retouching" for a $10 fee. (Of course, I just took the kids for their botox, so that probably won't be necessary.)

2) The other thing that's bound to happen is that I will forget it's picture day. Write it on the calendar, read the reminder notes from school - do everything imaginable to remember, and I will still forget.

Now this second inevitability has several ripple effects. Forgetting it's picture day will mean that I've forgotten to do laundry which means that my children will either be going to school in grocery bags or their Communion clothes. Seeing as we're Unitarians, our choices are reduced to paper or plastic.

Second, as was the case this morning, forgetting that it's picture day means I've lost motivation to remember to order more checks. (For those of you who have not yet entered the delightful realm of school pictures - you have to pay in advance. Because they know that your child looks like she just got into a bar fight and it's very likely you might not want to buy these photos after all of their hard work and they just don't roll that way.)

So, I'm left with ONE check in my checkbook and the Sophie's Choice of school pictures. The instructions are very clear - I CANNOT combine payments if I have more than one child at said school. Nor am I willing to write down my credit card number on the order form. Not that I don't trust people, but if I was a photog's assistant and had just spent 12 hours convincing runny-nosed kids to sit still and smile all for 8.50 an hour, those numbers would be lookin' pretty good to me.

As all things usually do, it all worked out in the end. I got out my pitchfork and dug up two respectable outfits from the laundry pile, forged my husband's signature on a couple of his checks from the account he uses to pay his grad school bills, and biked my kids to school where they ran to join the rest of the impeccably groomed children getting filthy on the playground.

It's all worth it knowing we will have photographic memories of these golden times forever.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

An Open Love Letter to my Blog

My Dearest Blog....

I'm writing to you under the cover of darkness, for fear our secret may be discovered. I believe my husband is becoming suspicious of our love affair. I know it's wrong, but I just can't help myself. You're all I think about. I know, I know, we agreed at the beginning that this would just be a casual thing - a summer fling -no expectations - but it's become so much more. When I'm not with you, I'm thinking, " I wonder what blog's doing right now?" If someone tells a funny joke at a party, I can't wait to run home and share it with you. You make me want to be a better blogger. You complete me.

These past two weeks (HIDDEN BLOG MESSAGE) without internet have been hell. Try as I might to resist, I find myself driving around my neighborhood late at night searching for a signal. I know you feel neglected, but how can I possibly write under such duress? You deserve better.

It feels like an eternity, but it's only two more short days (SECOND HIDDEN BLOG MESSAGE) until Friday, September 14th when we begin service with our new provider and we will be reunited.

Counting the moments until then.

Beta Mom

Monday, September 3, 2007

They don't call it labor 'cause it's easy.....

From time to time, I see those juicy little news bits that tell us how much moms (and dads!) would make in income if they were paid for all that they do. These figures come from totaling up the estimated salaries of chefs, chauffeurs, housekeepers, personal assistants, etc.

Personally, I think these lists only cover the tip of the parental iceberg. We switch gears 100 times a day, performing countless tasks that require a wide range of skills. Here, in no particular order, are just a few of the overlooked jobs I think should be calculated into the total sum:

Manicurist/Pedicurist – 35,000/yr
Come on, now…how many toenails have you cut in your house that aren’t yours? I think extra “tip money” should be counted in for anyone who cuts:
Baby nails
Squirming toddler nails
35 year-old husband nails (This is not the case in our house, but I’ve heard stories…oh yes, I’ve heard stories.)

Exterminator – 55,000/yr
Over the years, we’ve removed from our house: ants, flies, spiders, baby snakes, bats, crickets, squirrels and a beagle (he ran into the wrong house – add “dog whisperer” to our list).

Plumber – 90,000/yr
Not only are we continually fishing things out of the drain, but we’re always showing crack bending down and picking up after our kids.

Anesthesiologist - 350,000/yr
This scenario involves a hyperactive toddler and a bottle of Benadryl. For legal reasons, I won’t go into details. (Okay, I’m kidding, but we’ve all thought it.)

Prostitute – Salary commensurate with experience.
Who hasn’t taken one for the team when they’re not in the mood?
(Dads, while I’m trying to be gender-equal I’m not sure this applies to you…you kinda HAVE to be in the mood…right?…if you know what I mean? Otherwise how could you….you know? Never mind -this whole thing is making me very uncomfortable….I’m moving on.)

Magician – 10/yr – 20,000,000/yr
Watch boys and girls as I make an entire four-course meal appear out of thin air, while magically balancing this budget! Oooohhhhhh….Aaaaahhhhhhhh

Mafioso – I’m not really sure how to figure out salary for this one, but it must be pretty good to afford all of those suits.
The buck stops here. We lay down the law in our house – nothing gets past us. We wheel and deal, we negotiate and bargain, we bribe and extort, and if a particular toy is making us crazy, we can arrange an “unfortunate accident”.

And more….so much more. So here's to all of us and our many jobs we do - have a great Labor Day!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

These simple gifts...

"Mommy, I made this for you."

Six words that strike fear in my heart.

I look up momentarily and see, in her shining 5-year-old glory, my clone looking upon me with a toothy grin. She holds before her an offering - to others what must look like a nonsensical assortment ( of what? Is that macaroni? dog hair? some glue? maybe some tissue? was that Kleenex used?) But not to mini-me. To her it a masterpiece that she has poured her soul into, and it is the very symbol of her love for me and her complete devotion and trust that I will do right by her.

Damn it.

Now, before you write me off as heartless please understand - the problem is not my lack of appreciation for my children's efforts. Our walls are plastered with tadpole-like renderings of our family, tissue paper pumpkins, cotton ball faced Santas and the occasional "nature collage", consisting of numerous dried leaves and what I think used to be worms. Not only are our walls covered, but our drawers and closets overflow with the stuff. Therein lies the problem. We want to keep every lovely token of their artistic expression, but we also want to keep our sanity. The guilt nearly overwhelms me when I face the challenge of culling our a year's worth of school projects.

We've even been reduced to shameless preventative tactics.

"What a lovely mobile, sweetie! You know who would REALLY love that? Nana. She was just telling me the other day how she wished he had more art depicting the life cycle of a dragonfly."

"Now honey, I'm sure when the art teacher said to take ALL your work home, she really meant just those things that begin with the letter "q"".

Alas to no avail.

For now, we accept each piece with academy award deserving gratitude. From time to time, in the dead of night, we purge a piece here and there, trying to keep those items that best represent the phase of our children's lives at the time. (A particular favorite is our daughter's "poop" phase where she painted page after page with brown finger least, I think it was finger paint...)

Anyway, I know that there will come a time when there will be no more scarecrows and groundhog puppets that pop-up out of toilet paper tubes, and I know I'll be glad we kept these tokens.

I'll put them up on the wall in my room at the insane asylum.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Who What Where When Why Wednesday

Or...the day formerly known as "Informal Survey Wednesday"!

I read this morning that on the next shuttle headed to the International Space Station, NASA will also be including a prop lightsaber from the original Star Wars movie. Can you imagine if this thing somehow found its way to deep space?

"Hey, Bleepborg - check this out"

"Good golly, Bligbot, what in Saturn's moon is that?"

"It looks like some kind of primitive earth weapon..."

"Is that cardboard? And duct tape? They're defending their planet with cardboard and duct tape?"

"We're totally invading Earth."

Which brings us to today's question: If you could send one thing into space (children don't count) that would express who you really are, what would it be?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

You might be a Beta Mom if....

You consider an evening at Medieval Times an "educational field trip".

Friday, August 24, 2007

Just because it rhymes with "fun" doesn't mean it is.

For reasons which are not entirely clear to me, I have decided I want train to run a 5k.

(Now, before you put your Beta Mom bookmark in the trash, please don't panic. I'm not one of those self-deprecating Bridget Jones wannabe women who's going to chronicle my weight and complain about my "wobbly parts" etc. Bodies are personal, eat what you eat, exercise, don't exercise, whatever. However, I know that finding time to exercise, setting personal goals and figuring out what to do with all the laundry that’s on the treadmill are commonly shared dilemmas. So, I'm posting.)

Back to the running. Up until now, I have found running completely unnecessary. Even in peak physical form (sometime during the first Clinton administration? ) I would avoid running at all costs. Unless a man was chasing me with a knife, I refused to run. Running from danger seemed appropriate. Or if there was cake. Yes, running from danger or running to cake.

And if the knife the man was carrying was a cake knife? Well, then knife man and I would run together.

And it is true that while I stated earlier I'm not entirely clear on my interior motives, my POSTERIOR motives should be enough to spur me on. I am much a feared that I've transformed from something that once resembled this: (for those of you who can't open this picture...imagine the curvacious lovliness that was Mae West)

to somthing that's more akin to this (again, for the imagineers out there.....picture a Dr. Seuss character...droopy being the primary effect we're going for):

Fortunately, I have friends who serve as motivation. My friend Katherine ran the entire NYC marathon. In one day....all at once...without stopping...or taking a cab. My friend Michelle has done a triathlon (she'll tell you it's a "mini-triathlon" but it's all the same in my book.) My most recent inspiration comes from a visit with a former mentor who's been doing the Cool Runnings "Couch to 5k" training program.

Anything that starts with me on the couch is my kind of training program.

I feel very optimistic about my plan based on the success of previous training programs. My "couch to fridge" regimen of '04, for example. As well as the "couch to bathroom" of early '05 (which was tricky because it involved a flight of stairs). And the mother of them all, the "couch to fridge to bathroom to couch" triathlon of '06.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

It's Informal Survey Wednesday!

Okay, I just made that up, but I capitalized the title so it sounds really official, right?

One of the things I really love love love about blogging are the comments and conversations that come after the posts. Yes, dear readers, it's really all about YOU - so smart and funny and insightful. So, I'm posing a question - feel free to answer...or not. Or, in true Beta style - intend to answer, forget to do it, and then remember sometime next weekend.

We are gearing up for another season of Survivor! I have a sick train-wreck relationship with this tv show. I love it and I hate it. I love it when they're racing through a challenge and someone has a spectacular wipe-out - I hate it when they pick on the old people. I love it when they get attacked by an octopus while spear fishing - I hate it when they eat slugs. I love it when they actually cast out the person I HATE. I hate it when they cast out the person I love. I fantasize about what it might be like to be on Survivor, but I realize my very Beta nature would be counter-productive to winning. So for now, I'll be contented to watch on tv...and then discontented...and contented...and so forth.

What kind of survivor would you be? Would you Outwit Outlast and Outplay...or would you simply Order Out?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


The saga of the Webkinz continues. (Please see Saturday's post - and, no, I'm not going to link you because I don't know how to do that, and, honestly, it's just a short scroll down. Everybody up to speed? Wonderful - let's continue.)

It turns out that not only is it your job to house, clothe and accessorize your little actually have to "feed" and "care" for it at regular intervals.

Wait a minute...this sounds vaguely familiar. Oh, yeah, I think I already have a couple of those.

We call them CHILDREN!

Of course, if you neglect your little Webkin a virtual social service agent does not come knocking at your door with a removal order. Oh no - if only it were that simple. If you fail to tend to your little webkin, it DIES! Not only does it die, but it comes with a tiny DNR request and the only way you can play on the webkinz site again it to....any guesses? That's right - go out and buy ANOTHER Webkinz.

Somewhere, Satan and Michael Eisner are in a hot tub, drinking martinis and laughing their heads off.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


Perhaps you are familiar with the latest craze in toy technology, Webkinz? If not, allow me to fill you in. Webkinz are stuffed animals that have some kind of fancy-pants computer chip inside. You register your Webkinz online and then spend hours of mindless time setting up virtual houses, virtual gardens, virtual shopping malls, etc. for your Webkinz. You play games and earn points for your Webkinz, so you can purchase more things for your virtual houses, virtual gardens, virtual shopping malls, etc.

The children have a Webkinz.

Did I mention that there are now dozens of Webkinz on the market? For $20-$30 a pop? This particular item was a gift, as I flat out refuse to pay more for a stuffed pet that lives in a virtual world than I might for an actual pet that lives in the real world. I believe this is one of those insightful yet horrifying mommy moments when I realize that I've inherited this particular sensibility from my own mother.

You see, when I was growing up, I wasn't allowed to have Barbie dolls. This was not for all of the obvious self-image reasons you might imagine. No, I wasn't allowed to have a Barbie because my mom didn't want me to have a doll who had a higher standard of living than we did. (I think if Barbie had lived in a condo, driven a Honda and shopped at TJ Maxx, we might have been in business.) But when you own a toy who's hosting a pool party that's so exclusive you're not even invited.... you get the idea. For all of the strife and melodrama it caused growing up, I now realize that, basically, girls who own Barbies are glorified personal assistants. They pick out Barbie's clothes, clean her houses, arrange for lunches with Ken and Skipper and tip off the paparazzi if she's going to make an appearance.

And for all of that work, what do they get?

Barbie - "Ugh - where is that girl?! I told her to bring me my Malibu Sporty Swim thong, like, an hour ago."

Skipper - "And, like, what did she do to your that a rubber band? Is she just like, begging for you to end up on Perez Hilton?"

Barbie - "And what was up with that party in the sandbox yesterday? Did you see who else she brought? Pikachu? And that goody-two-shoes Cinderella? Lame!"

Skipper - "You should, like, totally fire her."

Barbie - "Totally."

So, no Barbies for Beta Mom. I have allowed Beta Daughter to have a few, but we dress them in sensible pantsuits and make them watch Whale Rider.

Likewise, I appreciate the sensibility with which my mini-clone and her older brother are approaching the whole Webkinz thing. They've arranged a simple garden, a modest house, and yesterday they bought a toilet. Very practical. Even though the Webkinz is dog and in theory could just do its business in the virtual garden.

But that would be, like, totally gross. And what would Barbie think?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Maternal Relocation Program

I have but a brief moment this morning, but I encourage you all to look at the lengthy comment left in regards to the last "you might be a Beta Mom..." post. This young woman, who I'm sure is lovely and all, is targeting mommy sites to generate leads for participants in what sounds like an interesting and enriching cultural exchange program, which also just happens to be recorded in a "documentary-style" show.

Wife Swap.

Toothless Hillbilly mom trades places with Pampered Beverly Hills mom. Hilarity and poignant drams ensue.

Monday, August 13, 2007

What I'm prepared not to do.....

As a working mom, I think I have yet to find my true stride. The job/family balance is one that we're always scrambling to achieve, but always seems just out of reach. I do know some moms who navigate these waters beautifully and yet still wish they had - more time, better childcare, higher income, (fill in your need here). I've been lucky enough to have a wonderful family and wonderful career choices - putting the two together in concert can be a challenge.

So I'm not tied to any one particular path (well, I'm sort of committed to the whole "I've had children and now I have to see them through" thing), but in my working life I'm always open to change and growth. Such potential can be overwhelming - so many choices. So, instead of narrowing down a particular path I'd like to follow, I thought it would be easier to eliminate those career opportunities I choose not to pursue.

Here are a few things I will not be when I grow up:

1. Neurosurgeon - Brains? EWWWWWWWWWWW!

2. Mrs. America - Not unless sarcastic wit becomes a talent category

3. Gardener - Look, at the end of the day I'm just glad if I can keep my kids alive, never mind a bunch of plants

4. Crystal Meth dealer - This is not because of my disrespect for the drug culture; I just don't have enough motivation to start a home business

5. Podiatrist - Feet? EWWWWWWWWWWW!

6. Hand Model - I come from Portuguese stock - mine are the decedents of hands that shredded codfish 12 hours a day.

7. Spy - I can't even keep it a secret when I bought something on clearance at Marshall’s

8. Professional list maker - This is really hard

What will you never be?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

You might be a Beta Mom if....

You consider 6 hours of PBS "just one show" because there aren't any commercials.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A cautionary tale....

Our five-year-old has a loose tooth. This is neither her first loose tooth, nor will it be her last. What makes this particular tooth unique is it's reluctance to part from my daughter's mouth. It's wiggled its way back and forth in her mouth for over a month, with no sign of surrender. It's as if it's seen the others go before it, and it's determined not to suffer the same fate. "Oh sure, you fall out and a lot of people ooh and ahh and hand you around, but come go under the pillow and YOU NEVER COME BACK!"

Well, fed up from the tedium of waiting for said tooth to drop, our daughter has developed a charming new game. She runs in from another room, yelling, "my tooth fell out, my tooth fell out!" We gasp, cheer, look.... and see that tooth hanging there, mocking us. My sweet-faced clone then races out of the room laughing hysterically.

It's not nice to trick old people.

The game is getting old. Truthfully, I know she's not doing anything wrong, and I LOVE that we have kids who have a sense of humor. But did I mention that the game is getting old? How can I gently get my point across that mommy doesn't want to play anymore?

Of course - a METAPHOR!

So last night, in a June Cleaver moment, I thought I would entertain the children with a bedtime rendition of "The boy who cried wolf". I had a six-point plan:
Story will be told,
daughter will get message,
game will end,
character will develop,
love will deepen
Parenting magazine will award to me thoughtful parent of the year award.

Simple, yet brilliant.

Teeth brushed, faces washed and jammies donned, we snuggled up on my bed for a very special story time.
Let me tell you - this story rocked. I will spare you all the tiny details, but suffice to say it included several fists of rock and a slammin' sheep impersonation. (Oddly enough, that also describes a date I once had.... but I digress.)

I finish the story; I look at my beautiful, laughing children, and ask, "So, what do you think the moral of the story is?"
I'm thinking, "Here it comes - the payoff - the moment of realization in which my children understand my point and love me even more for educating them in such a considerate and entertaining manner."

Their answer? The moral of the story?

"Wolves make good rugs."

Yes, yes they do. Wolves...and cheeky children.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Ye Olde Blogge

Last week our family was temporarily thrust back into the dark ages with an unexpected power outage at our house. It was quite an adventure as we waited for our local electricity provider, National Grid-lock*, to come to our rescue.

We had one of those magical moments where everything slowed down and without the electronic distractions of the outside world we were really able to focus on what was important - each other.

This lasted about 10 minutes.

Now, I'm not a high maintenance woman, but I do have an appreciation for the finer things in life. Like light, for instance, and a toilet that flushes. And, on the hottest night of the summer, a fan would be nice.

That's not to say we didn't try to make the best of our situation. Realizing that we were out of charcoal, I gathered wood from the yard and built an actual fire on which we grilled our hot dogs (and tortellini...tricky, very tricky). I felt a very Alpha-like rush of pride at this accomplishment - I build fire - I feed family. I was the sole survivor. I outwitted, outplayed and outlasted. Woman 1 - Nature 0.

Okay, so, fine - I soaked a paper bag in olive oil to start the fire. But I still think this should count as it shows MacGyver-like ingenuity. I'm certain that with a piece of gum and a shoelace I could have built a bomb. For those of you unfamiliar with this reference, you'll be back on track with the next paragraph.

This experience got me thinking, though, about what a luxury it is to provide myself with both the permission and forgiveness to be a Beta mom. If I was a pioneer mom, I would certainly have been eaten by wolves...or squirrels... or very angry mice. Pioneer moms didn't have the options that we do.

"We're on our way to find a new life for ourselves in the heartland! Where are we? New Haven? Good enough - everybody out of the wagon and let's get a pizza."

"We've got to plow the back 40 and get that corn in before the rain comes, or we'll starve come winter. What's that? Oprah's giving away butter churns to everyone in her audience - I've got to see this!"

So today, I give thanks to our foremothers who forged the path -women who reaped and sewed and gathered so that I might TiVo and order and blog.

Life is good.

*I'm sure I can't be the first person to make this joke...but it's too obvious to resist!**

**My use of asterisks is for you, Jeff Mac.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Anniversary Edition...

The story of an Alpha who gave up organization to marry the Beta he loved.

It has all of the makings of a great love story...or at least a cheesy made-for-tv movie. (In which I would be portrayed by the adorable yet plucky Valerie Bertinelli....) Yes, this weekend Beta Dad and I celebrated our eleventh wedding anniversary. Like all areas of my life, my relationship has now become fodder for the blog. (That sounds somewhat Dickensian - "You there, orphan, more fodder for the blog!")

Anywho, I've written numerous versions of this entry, all of which fall short of my incredibly high comic standards (well, if I had any standards they would be really, really twelve feet or something). Each version aspires to cast some witty light on the trials and tribulations of our married life, the frenzy of being parents, and the irony of being dually so alike and so different. I keep missing the mark, erasing the words and starting over. None of it has the tone of what I'd really like to say.

So, instead, I'm going the ABC after school special route (Ironically, I would still be played by the timeless Ms. Bertinelli.)

It's hard being a parent - much harder than I ever dreamed. I can't imagine how my great friends who go it alone do it, and I hope I never have to. My husband is patient, loving and kind. I never learned how to count high enough to relate how many times in the past 11 years I've felt lost, hopeless or completely incompetent. He usually knows just what I need in the moment, whether it's help, empathy, or a swift kick in the ass (he seems to particularly enjoy the last option.) He opens up when he needs the same. He lets me boss him around, but he doesn't tolerate my crap. He has had nice things to say about every color my hair has been...even when he had to go to the thesaurus because he ran out of adjectives. He is smart and funny, yet humble at the same time. He's an amazing musician and artist, but he also knows every sporting you call it when you know a lot about sports (clearly not my arena). He stands up for me, even when it comes at a cost to him. He is a remarkable role model for our kids, and shares the responsibility of grounding our family when we lose touch. He recognizes my strengths and overlooks my weaknesses. There is no one who I would rather share the incredible chaos and joy with.

He puts up with my crazy and digs my funny.

I love you Beta Dad - Happy Anniversary.

Thanks, everyone, for putting up with my sentimentality. We will now return you to our regular programming.
Coming soon: Ye olde blogge; the story of a pioneer blogger in the 21st century.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

You Might be a Beta Mom if....

You've ever hemmed anything with staples.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

An Open Letter to Our Bath Toys....

My worthy adversaries,

It is with a heavy heart that I surrender to you. Ours has been a war hard-fought, but I am weary. Your campaign for freedom against the confines of your containers has been admirable, and I realize that my efforts to constantly corral and clean you are in vain.

I realize that I am, in part, to blame. To expect that you would stay organized, satisfied to sit unused 23 hours a day, was - to say the least - unrealistic. But one needs some sense of order, and for far too long I have lived under the delusion that I can keep you in line. That dream is shattered and I stand before you a broken woman.

I have to admit that one of the harshest blows was when you turned my own children against me. You were able to cunningly convince them to spread you out not only in the tub, where you were sure to trip us every chance you had, but throughout the entire house. That strategy allowed you to engage allies and increase your ranks; the day I found my whisk and strainer in the tub I knew we were outnumbered.

The crowning moment, however, when I knew all was lost, was the moment I realized you were evolving - no longer content to be mere plastic and mesh. The bleach-resistant slime that now coats your bodies seems to have become a permanent part of you biological make-up. I cannot challenge the very forces of nature that seem to be aiding your cause.

Perhaps we shall meet again someday on the battlefield. Until then, I salute you.

Beta Mom

Thursday, July 26, 2007

And the Oscar goes to.....

This is a quick one today...

Perhaps you've seen this article making the internet rounds? It features Oscar the cat, who lives right here in my very own state. Oscar has an uncanny knack for identifying patients in a nursing home who are ready to, for lack of a better word, transition into the great beyond. (Which, by the way, for me would be one giant movie theater with an endless supply of hot tamales. If it’s Heaven or Hell depends on what’s playing. Another topic for another day.) In 25 cases, Oscar has taken up residence at the bedside of a patient who died within a matter of hours.

You can click on the link below (or perhaps cut and paste - I really don't know how these things work) to read it, but promise me you'll come back.

Okay, back now? How about now? Now? Good.

I have a couple of thoughts about this. I know I'm getting off the family/mom track today, but I can't help myself.

First - it's a nursing home, people. The chances of Oscar cuddling up next to a person whose death is imminent must be pretty good. It'd be a little freakier if Oscar just ambled up to 25 random people on the street, all of whom in a short period of time met some untimely fate. If fact, that would be awesome...well for the cat, not the people.

Second -does no one find this just a little suspicious? This cat has a better track record than Jack Kevorkian. Has a criminal background check been done? Has anyone checked this cat's apartment for estate jewelry and black market geretol? Do you, in fact, have a cat that looks like this one who comes home late at night bearing expensive gifts and smelling of Bengay?

Thoughts about Osacar?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Hairy Squatter and the Deathly 'Mallows

Do you know what we had at our house this weekend? A tarantula. A real one, too - not some fake "spamantula". And do you know who handled that puppy? Who's fearless? Who's got nerves of steel? This bad girl right here. That's right, me - the Beta MASTER!

Well, me and my five year old.

At my place of employ, where we enrich the great minds of tomorrow, and some of the mediocre as well, we have an upcoming program about bugs. As part of this educational experience we have arranged to borrow live bugs from CJ - the overly enthusiastic bug guy from our local reptile emporium. CJ was more than delighted to lend us some bugs that were, in his words, "handleable".

Oh, how the children and I would laugh and play as we looked at grasshoppers and ladybugs and caterpillars.

Five tarantulas, three scorpions, a Vietnamese centipede and several varieties of venomous spiders (not handleable) later I knew I was in deep dung beetles. Thank god for Myrta, the amazing science educator, who stepped up and offered to join us for our public program. She of steady hand and brave heart would hold the tarantulas. I would stand to the side smiling and trying not to pee myself.

Once I knew I was off the hook, however, a desire to conquer my fear welled up in me. I couldn't let the bug get the better of me. I decided to bring one tarantula home for my own little test audience. Plus, as this is a tough city bug, I thought it might enjoy a relaxing weekend by the seashore. My own little Fresh Air arachnid program.

HIDDEN AGENDA ALERT - Okay, I have to admit there was a dual benefit to this little exercise. My nine year old son was having a friend sleep over, and in my shameless campaign for coolest mother in the universe, I thought bringing a tarantula home might buy me a little street cred. There is some Alpha-like behavior here, and I don't want to talk about it anymore.

I brought the beast home and was greeted with the expected oohs and ahhs.

"Can we take it out now?"
"Let's wait until after dinner."
"How about now"
"Let's wait until after we clean up the dishes."
"Let's wait until after the housing market rebounds."

Knowing I couldn't stall any longer, we sat in a circle in our living room, squirming with anticipation. VERY SLOOOOWLY we opened the lid of the container and I VERY GENTLY lifted the creature from container. Knowing we were all nervous I tried to comfort the kids in what I thought was a relaxed tone, but I'm sure the pitch in my voice was reaching every dog, dolphin and Backstreet Boy within a 100 mile radius.

As we let the thing crawl around on our hands and arms we relaxed. For the most part it cooperated and moved very slowly, as if it understood that it was working with a remedial bug crowd. We even enjoyed it...a little. I'm not sayin' I want to take the thing to the movies or make any kind of life plan with it - I'm just saying that it wasn't awful.

I, having overcome my fear, felt tough as nails. I wanted to go out and ride a bull or start a bar fight or at least post an angry blog. Instead, we put our little friend back in its container and went outside to toast marshmallows and make s’mores, feeling as though we had a greater appreciation for mother nature and the wonder of her creatures great and small and hairy.

After about 5 minutes a swarm of killer mosquitoes descended upon us and sent us crying into the house like babies.

I think we'll just stick with giant spiders from now on.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Coming soon...

Hang in there - tune in tomorrow for the exciting tale of a mom, a tarantula and some toasted marshmallows!

Friday, July 20, 2007

You might be a Beta Mom if....

you've ever spackled a hole in your wall with toothpaste.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

They got them movin' pictures now....

I am now a multi-media event! As you may have noticed, in the interest of keeping it amusing, I've added a video bar to my blog page. Now, I don't have any editorial control over the content - I can't event choose the specific videos. I can simply define a general category - funny kids for example. So if we end up with videos of baby goats telling knock-knock jokes don't come runnin' to me people.

But in the interest of being responsive to my public - Mom, Aunt Liz - I'd like to know what you think about our new video addition.

Monday, July 16, 2007

What was I saying?

Well, I'm back to work. I tried to explain to my boss that I had started a blog and I really needed to devote my time and energy to pondering the parental existence and thus I would no longer be able to actually, well, work. This was not met with the open-arms of support that I had hoped for so the blog got wait-listed.

That, and it took me another week to think of something to write. You should know now - I'm kinda stupid.

I wasn't always. I'm certain I wasn't born stupid, nor was I raised stupid. I used to be quite sharp. I could hold my own in intellectual circles, trading interesting tidbits of trivia blended with insightful commentary on world events. No, I'm convinced I remember a time when I knew a bucket o' stuff. Then came the children, and my life became a sort of blurry haze. It didn't happen all at once; it was more like a slow leak. Like a snail, I've left a trail of intelligence slime along the path and now I'm nothing but a shell and some confused jelly.

Nine years of sleep deprivation, cheerio crumbs and Barney have left me somewhat dim. It's very hard to think about stability in the Middle East when I'm pondering such questions as "Where is that smell coming from?".

To try and stem the loss of brain cells, I thought about joining a book club. Then I remembered that the last book I'd read was "Clifford's Big Vacation".
"Tell us, what did you think about the piece?"
"Well, I think Mr. Bleakman's resentment of Clifford is a thinly veiled attempt to come to terms with his own discomfort about his failures in life. No matter how hard he tries, he will simply never be big enough....or red enough. Obviously, Emily Elizabeth serves as the catalyst for Mr. Bleakman's redemption."

I think not.

I had heard that learning a new hobby was a great was to keep the mind active, so I decided to try knitting. My son's classmates, mere children of 7 and 8 at the time, were prodigious knitters. If they could do it, so could I! I imagined all of the money we would save by making beautiful hand made scarves for our families at Christmas. $200 in yarn and needles later, I have several stretches of wool that could be at best described as fuzzy tootsie rolls. I plan to give them out next year as a new product I call "Finger Cozies". If you get one, act surprised.

Then I tried to learn a new language; perhaps with my new skill I could travel the world. This challenge was met with moderate success, until I learned that no one in the world actually speaks Ubby-Dubby except for the Zoom kids.

I have to admit that there have been some trade-offs. For all of the knowledge and common sense I have lost over the years, I have gained as well. For example, I now know how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich so that the bread doesn't get soggy. I can break into a locked room from the outside. I know all of the words to the Hanna Montana theme song. I know the number for poison control.

Now if I could only figure out where that smell is coming from.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

You might be a Beta Mom if....

you consider pajamas "casual sportswear".

Friday, July 6, 2007

Beta Mom's movie review...

"Evening"...see it.

Where dreams come true - ish....

(Forgive the delay in this somewhat time-sensitive topic; I'm working on Beta vacation time, which is almost like moving backwards, except without so much work.)

While perusing the "news" this past week (i.e. watching the Harry Potter trailer for the umpteenth time and cruising Craigslist for free stuff) I came across this bit about anticipated 4th of July celebrations.

"At Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., officials plan to pronounce citizenship on 1,000 people at a "Dreams Come True" ceremony near Cinderella's castle. Singers Gloria Estefan and Lee Greenwood are expected to make appearances. Later, new citizens will head down Main Street USA for a parade in their honor."

Do you think when our founding fathers drafted the Declaration of Independence this is the kind of thing they had in mind?

Please don't misunderstand, I'm all for immigration and am happy to welcome our new citizens. I say throw the doors wide open - why should we hog all of the Walmarts, monster truck rallies and American Idol episodes for ourselves simply because we had the good fortune to be born here? But I have to wonder - if you're sworn in on the steps of a pretend castle in the presence of costumed characters are you a citizen, or a citizketeer? Have you dreamt of the day when you gather your family around and celebrate your newly acquired status with wine, bread, salt, and Dippin' Dots?

(Truthfully, I am a Disney fan. This is not something I can readily admit in the academic atmosphere of my workplace, but I know I'm safe here with my trusted friends, or lovely strangers who happened upon this blog because they were, in fact, looking for "better mom's blog". Anywho....I'm a total sucker for the place. I don't love it for the children's sake, either; in fact, it would be a lot easier to get around the place without them. But, unlike the cats, we have to take them with us on vacation, so we go.)

I would think that after such an idyllic start, the rest of your life as a citizen would seem somewhat mundane. If Disney World is going to hold itself up as the ultimate American experience for our new countrymen and women they should responsibly add some attractions that represent the truth about the ins and outs of daily life. Rides such as Reality Raceway, Mortgage Mountain, Slippin' Salary and the Tower of Terrible Twos come to mind.

Perhaps a whole new park is in order? Do you think people will pay $240 a day to come to my house?

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Cleaning the shed

Well, the shed excavation has begun. A geologic expedition uncovering of the layers of our lives.

I am a recovering hoarder. It has been 67 days since I last hoarded. One day at a time, I resist the urge to collect. It's not as easy as it sounds, you know. There are temptations everywhere. There I'll be, enjoying quality time with friends, when I'll see one out of the corner of my eye. A pusher. You know the kind - all smiles, pretending to be your best friend, buttering you up, when all they want to do is unload their clutter onto you:

"Hey, howya' doin'? You look great - is your hair different? That is a fabulous color on you. You know, you're going to think I'm crazy, but I was just thinking how great this electronic salad spinner/egg timer would look in your kitchen. Come on, it's just a little piece of plastic. What's it gonna hurt? Everyone's got one. You know you want it."

And I do - I want that salad spinner so bad I can taste it. I envision a life of ideally moist yet crisp lettuce topped with perfectly cooked eggs and I can't help myself. I cannot resist the lure of free items. And my shed shows it, because we all know the rest of the story. The crisper never gets used, my lettuce remains soggy, and eventually the appliance takes its proper place in the strata of my collecting world. I won't, nay, CAN'T get rid of it, of course, because it was FREE.

I'd like to take a moment to shift blame, if I may. I was genetically doomed from the beginning. My parents are collectors, as were their parents, and their parents before. I imagine my parents at the hospital after my birth, packing up to take me home for the first time:

"Honey, do you have the little hat she came with? How about the blankets? Just one? There's three more over there on that other baby - just grab a couple of those, I'm sure no one will mind. How about those diaper pins? Bottles? Towels? Maybe that incubator light? Television? You know what, better grab that placenta too, you just never know."

What chance did I have?

More to come later on this.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


It's my vacation! Now, for many people a vacation brings with it a relaxing change of pace, a lessening of responsibility, perhaps a jaunt away from home. For this working mom, the stakes are much higher - I have just a precious few days to pack in all of the quality time that I fret I'm missing when I'm away working at the salt mines. All of my hopes and dreams for maintaining a meaningful relationship with my family that is balanced with my own professional development fall into this magical week.

Seven days ripe with potential.
I will plan excursions that are both educational and entertaining.
I will make meals from scratch with ingredients that I've purchased at the Farmer's Market.
I will French braid my daughter's hair every day.
I will pack picnics for the beach.
I will start an exercise plan.
I will clean the shed.
I will reconnect with my husband.
I will be both patient and inspiring.

But first I will eat an entire box of popsicles and watch six straight hours of Law and Order.

Monday, July 2, 2007

You might be a Beta Mom if....

you've ever left an IOU from the tooth fairy under your child's pillow.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Oreos for breakfast

In a recent comment, one of my favorite Beta moms, Robin, mentioned that Oreos are the current breakfast of champions in her house. Now, not only do I approve, but I applaud her for her attempts to provide her children with a nutritionally balanced breakfast. This brings me to a little game I like to call "Find the Food Groups". Let's use Oreos as our example:

Grains - Well, this is obvious. The two cookies that comprise the Oreo "sandwich" provide a stable base for our pyramid of health. (Nutritional tip - the darker the grain, the healthier the bread; I'm sure the same applies to cookies.)

Dairy - Hello? "creme filling"? (Remember, correct spelling is optional. This is also true for anything refered to as "froot".)

Meats/Protein - Since dairy can be a good source of protein, I think we'll use our good friend "creme filling" again. To make sure you're getting adequate nutrients, better to get the Double Stuff Oreos.

Fruit - I'm having a harder time finding the fruit in an Oreo, but the truth is I have a friend who's a nutritionist, and she says that too much fruit is not good for you because of the sugar content, so it's probably better that there's no fruit.

Fat - Considering all of the wholesome goodness we've discovered in our Oreos, I think a little bit of fat is okay.

See how it works? Play along at home!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Let me be clear...

In the interest of good Blog customer service, I think it's important to be clear about our expectations. That way we avoid disappointment which will lead to dissatisfaction which will lead a messy break-up during which you will sneak into my house to steal back all of your Journey tapes. (Sorry, it's been a while since I've actually dated.) So, onto our expectations:

1. Please do not have any expectations.

2. I may not write every day; I may not write every week. In fact, I may completely forget all about this blog, and in a couple of months come across it, only to be delighted that someone out there so totally understands me.

3. I can't spellq.

4. There will be times when I will forget entire words in a sentence. There's a tiny Alpha editor who lives in my brain who wants me to copy my work into a word document, proof it three times and show it to someone else for proofing. Fortunately in those moments my inner Beta hits the Alpha editor over the head with a bottle of tequila and I just don't stress about it.

5. I cannot promise to refreshingly original. Now, I think it's important to emphasize that this is not for a lack of trying. It's because these are all hard truths shared by millions of moms - I'm bound at some point to echo a sentiment that's already been expressed.

6. Posts will rarely be longer than 3 paragraphs. That's about how long I have before something breaks, someone shrieks, or I just see something shiny and lose focus.

7. If I end a post with wwwwwdwwdwdwwwdwdwwddwwwwwdw it means that my fingers have gotten stuck in a pile of Fluff on the computer - please send help. (As a side note, may I respectfully add that if you do not know what Fluff is, this is definitely not the blog for you.)

Well I think that's all for now - #1 really covers anything that might fall into the grey areas. Thanks so much to the amazing
Beta moms who commented yesterday. As soon as I figure our to respond to individual comments, I'll post a reply.

But, please, don't expect too much.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Beginning....

I think Julie Andrews was right when she sang "Let's start at the very beginning". I understand the irony, of course, of referencing Julie Andrews, as her most famous roles were not mothers, but young nannies without a single stretch mark who swept in to rescue hapless parents from a well of parenting despair. With a song. Anywho....

I'm thinking of this as a venue to explore the boundaries of what's "good enough" when it comes to parenting, or, as it has come to be know, being a "Beta Mom". At the end of the day, how do we gauge our worth? Sure, we're shooting for happy, well-adjusted children, but there are days when I'll settle for children who haven't committed a felony. Do I struggle with insecurity when I see a super-fit Alpha mom, striding through the grocery story with her perfectly groomed children, carefully selecting her week's worth of soy-based, gluten-free, organic, farm-raised groceries for the week? You betcha. But you know what I think? I think we all have some Beta Mom at heart. Heck, for all I know, that Alpha could be gazing wistfully back at me - with my juice-stained shirt, hair in disarray, eating oreos from a package I have yet to pay for - and thinking, "She makes it look so easy - I wish I could be more like her." Maybe not.

While this fantasy may not be a reality, you have to admit that some of the standards of parenting, dare I say LAWS of parenting, were thought up by a Beta Mom. The five-second rule - clearly a Beta Mom invention. In fact, this exchange, found transcribed on the wall of a cave in an undisclosed location, is proof of early cave-dwelling Beta Moms.

"urgh" (Mother, I seemed to have dropped my mammoth mcnugget on the cave floor.)
"urgh" (Pick it up and and blow on it, it's fine)
"urgh" (But Mother, the floor is made of dirt)
"urgh" (Not now, it's time for my soap - Tramps of the Tar pit)

Okay, I made that up. I understand that an Alpha mom would have done actual historical research to back up her argument, but you'll have to go to Alpha Mom's blog for that kind of accuracy.

So, I think you get what we're shooting for here - gotta go now, it's time for Tramps of the Tar pit.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Setting up my blog

Well, I've set out to create a satirical look at the life of a "good enough" mom. Unfortunately, the blog set-up process has left me quite confused, tired, and possibly sold to into white slavery. So, the hilarious debut will just have to wait until after my nap and a cookie.