Wednesday, December 30, 2009

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday

A blogosphere favorite: Wordless Wednesday

So it is that, as December blusters to a close, I give you my humble tribute to the master, reputedly born 25 December 1899 (some sources say 23 January). Hope you like the rare youthful photo. The woman in the photo is unidentified, as are the Scotties and Newfie.

Photo courtesy of Indiana University (

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Merry Monday, a Day Late

Merry Monday everyone. Oh yeah, it's Tuesday.

In our house, it should be dubbed Twos-day, because we're actively coping with a 2-year-old's whims and whams and whammies. And, I hope, not too many of the latter.

Nonetheless, if you have a moment, get thee on over to STL Mommy, a Web site I discovered in the last 1-2 weeks or so. It's great to have someone "nearby" to read, and I really enjoy the site. So much so, that I have the button on this little blog endeavor.

Kim at STL Mommy is right now hosting a Bob Evans gift card giveaway ( that looks like it's open to people all over the U.S., not just the St. Louis area. So, if you have a Bob Evans restaurant in your area and you like giveaways and the potential for free stuff, this is one you won't want to miss. Plus, it ends at 5 p.m. today--CST, I presume.

Good luck to all. Or, in online parlance, GLTA!

And have the greatest day possible. : )

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Curiosity Saturday

I'm following up on the Aloha Friday theme of December 25th.

I decree that today shall be "Curiosity Saturday." And in honor of that decree, I have a few ideas and questions that have been swirling around in my mucky mind (because I overthink things, okay!!)

>If a person has twins (or multiples) and one is born at 11:59 p.m. and the other(s) after midnight the next day, does a mom (or parents) have the option of just saying they're born on the same day or does the hospital force them to say they're born on different days?
>If a train leaves St. Louis traveling at 60 mph and another leaves .... (JUST KIDDING!)
>What new holiday traditions are you creating and what "old" ones are you following? Why or why not?

In answer to the latter, I wanted to leave out cookies for Santa this year--my husband's family did that (and I imagine it was one of his dad's favorite parts of the holidays!) but mine did not--but before I knew it, our 26-month-old was in bed (hubby did it while I was with our newborn!) and I hadn't put out cookies yet. But it made me think like an anthropologist, I guess. Why would I want to instill that tradition? To perpetuate the myth of a cheerful, albeit chubby, guy bringing presents and chowing down on left-in-the-night cookies? Not exactly. I guess it gets down to one word: hospitality. Greek myths, which I love, are replete with cautionary tales of ingrates who turn away disguised gods (Zeus and Apollo, I think, are legendary for testing their countrymen's, if you will, hospitality). But, Janus-like (if a spectrum of tales can be Janus-like), there are stories of people--most notably, Baucis and Philemon (a sweet story; look it up and read it if you haven't already)--who welcomed with open hearts and humble table. Welcomed complete strangers into home and hearth. (Today, this action would be the recipe for a home invasion in the making, sadly.) So, in a roundabout way, leaving cookies for Santa might be teaching our little ones hospitality. And hospitality is another word for "generosity." Who wouldn't want that reflected in a child?

Nonetheless, I challenge you, today on Curiosity Saturday, to question your traditions and rituals (if you will). Think about how they got started, whether they are worthwhile and why or why not, and what new ones you hope to create (and why).

Then will it be ... Something old, something new, something accepted, something eschewed? Hmm?

Friday, December 25, 2009


Hello-ha, welcome, and happy holidays to all, no matter what you call them.

It's Aloha Friday. The first Aloha Friday for my blog.

Check out An Island Life to participate in Kailani's Aloha Friday,, as well as link to others'.

Today's Aloha Friday question from me is perhaps an expected one, but it's important nonetheless. So, give it some thought--but not too much--answer it sincerely, and get back to the festivities ... much as I get back to motivating myself to make some buttermilk pancakes, country ham, and maybe some eggs for our breakfast.

>For what (or whom) are you thankful today?

My answer is simple. Family & friends.

How about you?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My Entry For the Kia Sorento Ultimate Road Trip Sweepstakes

Road Scholar
Wherever you are, whatever religion you cling to (or none at all), you know it's holiday time. And holidays, among other things, mean movement. Travel to and from. In the mind, from the home to the airport. Home to store. Store to home. From your lips to God's ears. Whatever the case may be, the month between, say, November 25 and December 25, is super malleable. As opposed to mighty malleable (in a Gabby Hayes or Festus, of that old TV Western with Marshall Dillon ... whatchamacalit? The Rifleman?), which is too close for comfort, in tone, to Mighty Mouse. But to get to the point, a Web site I follow, Mom Logic, has posed an intriguing question: "If you could take your family on a road trip anywhere, where would you go and why?"
You can find their post here:
Before parenthood descended on us like a plague of Japanese beetles on a crabapple tree or a picturesque waterfall in Costa Rica (take your pick; for us, it could be the same thing on the same day, depending on our 26-month-old's whims and whines through Terrible Two Town!), my husband and I had a daydream of taking our favorite classic car, the unfairly maligned Edsel, on an around-the-world trip.

Of course, nowadays, that's just not feasible. World conflicts; hatred of the United States thanks to, um, politics; the skyrocketing cost of petrol; safety; and two small children are enough of a roadblock to that plan.

Not to say that it was a plan. It was more of a vague vagary.

In any case, to answer the question, our ultimate road trip today would involve both kids sleeping or playing peacefully as our old red van cut a swath through the Midwest and toward the East Coast--over the Mississippi River and through the woods of Kentucky (or bluegrass, perhaps!?), all the way to grandma's house in Virginia. Friends and family is really the name of the game at this stage of life. Our newborn has never met Grandma and Grandpa on one side of the family. He's never met his aunt, uncle, and cousin. We could see friends, for, my friends who read this blog, time is too, too short. You really have to seize the day while the day exists!

Then, once we got done with the East Coast, which we'd like to tour up and down in said beaten-up magical mystery machine, again with peaceable tots in tow (as I intimated, what a pipe dream! hee-hee), we would head back through the country's bread basket and out toward the heat and desert to see more friends ... in Arizona. And, simply put, to see new places as a family and to carve out our own NEW AND IMPROVED dreams.

What we have now is so precious and so perfect in its imperfections and inexactitudes, it makes me shiver. I love my life, for I am so, so lucky. (That's why I can never win the lottery, because I have too much good luck with finding a loving hubs, his family, our friends, and our kiddos. Fate gives only so much luck to one person!)

With all this in mind--and remembering, per Mrs. Rosen, "life always matters VERY MUCH!"--let me know what your ultimate road trip would be.

And, just maybe, you'll be a Road Scholar like moi! : )

Friday, December 18, 2009

She's a Man, Baby!

"Do Male Bloggers Receive More Respect?" is the headline over at Freelance Writing Jobs,, from a few days ago.

It ignites an interesting question in me and fascinating perspectives from others who visit the site, which I've been reading for, I think, a few years now. I read the article just a couple days ago, and so I've had a little time to digest the concept and unfurl the wrinkles and create some new ones.

This debate really gets at the heart of this new blog of mine, C cubed. I had a blog in late 2006, that I kept up and going through about, oh, 2008 or early 2009. I could be a year off in either direction on the years (that is, with the "old blog" being started in 2007 and given up in 2009); as those who know me know, time is not my forte.

That is: what is my blog's raison d'etre? Where do I want it to go? What should it be?

Of course we know, as writers, that people import their own meanings into our texts, so we can't possibly be such control freaks as to direct, conduct, condone, and create every possible perspective of our writings. And why would we want to, really? Each person (reader) brings a different set of skills, emotions, experiences, and, ultimately, his or her own point of view.

So, over at FWJ, the site administrator, Deb Ng, posts that she resists being called a "mommy blogger."

Now, without making my post go on and on and on, I love language. As you all know. Methinks, however, that it is ALL about context. As Marshall McLuhan said, "the medium is the message," but I would also go so far as to say that the forum is the message, too. Freelance Writing Jobs is clearly not a "mommy blog." Nor is it even a "mom blog," which, to me, has a much friendlier (and less patronizing or condescending) connotation. It carries a better tone and tune to it than "mommy." However, I personally love being called "mommy" by my 26-month-old. It is a role I never thought, let's say even 5 years ago, that I would fulfill, much less love.

However, like Deb, I would much rather be known as a blogger than anything. Well, actually, in my case, I'd rather be known as a writer than a blogger. (No offense whatsoever to bloggers. Of which I suppose I am one. I blog therefore I am?)

And yet there are a great many blogs that I follow that could be called "mommy blogs." In fact, they wear that chapeau--I really should say "hats," for being a parent entails at least a hat a day, if not many more!--proudly. And I don't think that these blogs, taken in and of themselves and in their context (they are in their element, awash in coupons, toy and clothing reviews, children's literature giveaways and so on, as much as I am awash in a spit-up vomitus of, well, spit-up as a second-time mom of a brand-new newborn who's about to officially morph into an infant shortly), are abashed at all about using this phrase.

If you remember the book The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, one of my favorites, you might recall that the lead character Edna Pontellier, as I recall, has this sort of dilemma. How does she define herself? Is she a "mother woman" (the phrase used in this excellent book, again, if memory serves; you should check it out if you haven't already), or is she something above and beyond that? Something, someone nebulous and infinite but finitely defined as wife and mother. That is, when we wedge people into a narrow context or definition (he's gay or she's African American or she wears glasses or she's a tech geek or he has asthma), we do the worst kind of pigeonholing and, with the exception of Bert of Sesame Street, not too many people look kindly upon the lowly pigeon. All it does is, uh, mess things up, let's say to keep it clean (apart from the pij poo!).

So, rather than defining myself or my blog--which, by the way, it's taken me a year to just rename the damn thing, and it's still not that original of a name; I wanted Mom de Plume, but that, alas, was already taken (nothing new under the sun, damn ye, Bard!)--it really should be defined by my readers. All three of you. : )

For it is for you that this blog exists. Otherwise, it would be a private endeavor known only to me and done only for my enjoyment or disappointment or consternation or .... You get my drift. And because this blog is not an interior monologue, I am struggling with figuring out how to get it to people, if I should get it to people, what people should I get it to, what information should I disclose, what the blog's about (again, raison d'etre), and so on.

All this while, again, being a mom. And wife. And part-time freelance editor, fact-checker, and writer.

How the "mommy bloggers" do it, not to mention the other bloggers with a score of irons in the fire, I will never know. Loads of coffee or No-Doz, I suppose!

In any case, you will discover, if you don't already know, when you read the post at FWJ how a well-known writerly blogger came out as a woman when she had been posing as a man. Victor/Victoria, anyone?

It is with this last thought that I will leave you as you, I hope, head over to the FWJ post or at least consider yourself in terms of the mask, the facade you present to the world around you (if it is indeed a facade), whether you are a writer or other artist or simply, and significantly, a simple human "bean": WHO ARE YOU, WHO-WHO, WHO-WHO?

Tell me, who are you?!


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hall, Yeah and Oh-My Oates

Deck the Halls and Daryl's jolly ...

Not really. Why would I deck my supposed-to-be husband, soulful looker Daryl Hall? : )

Once upon a time, there was a little girl (no, not with a little curl). She had a Cabbage Patch doll named Daryl with twinkling green eyes, a mini mohawk (can't really call it a carrot top, because it's not red) of blonde hair, and who wanted to be a singer when he grew up.

Said girl once took a Polaroid of Daryl Hall when he appeared on "Good Morning America" in the 1980s sometime AND she almost melted when she saw one of her first MTV music videos ever: "The Method of Modern Love." When Daryl Hall floated by on a cloud, paddling past her screen, this little girl thought she could truly die happy.

That little girl, my friends, was me!

And, in honor of that FIRST MAJOR CHILDHOOD CRUSH, I'm directing you to the Hall & Oates box set "Santa's Picks" giveaway sponsored by My Four Monkeys, Simple Kinda Life, and Mission Mommy blogs:

Check it out, and good luck to all.

Happy HALL-idays! Wink, wink.

Zhu for You

As you who read me--all two of you (thanks, Mom!)--know, I am inordinately fond of puns. Or pond of funs, perhaps!

And, as it's holiday time, I want to wax poetic on the intersection of the crux of the overlapping of the paralleling of movies, Christmas, and such.

Okay. I'll start making sense.

Zhu Zhu Pets. Reminds me of "It's a Wonderful Life," and Zhu Zhu's petals. I would imagine that's where this nearby (to us), in the 'Lou, company got inspired to name their Toy Sensation.

I don't know if our little one will like a Zhu Zhu Pet, but I'm going to give it a try (if I win one of the little holy grails, that is). To that end, there's an awesome giveaway at this new site I discovered today. In A Kid's World. You'll see the button on the blog, but here's the exact link to win a Mr. Squiggles:

So, I shall now close down the Zhu. (If I ran the Zhu, I would probably request a Mr. Squiggles. He could be like the young Gerald McGrew in Dr. Seuss' _If I Ran the Zoo_, too!)

Good luck to all who enter ... play the Scorpions song and just maybe you'll get lucky-ducky and win a furfunful of Mr. Squiggles!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hitch Your (Chuck)Wagon to a Star

Thanks to Ralph Waldo Emerson, I am today proud to say I have tried Indian (the country, not Native Americans or other Indian peoples) food, Thai, and Bangladeshi cuisine.

Well, not really thanks to Emerson per se, but I just had to throw in the literary reference.

What I think everyone should know is that if the Pickiest Eater in the World (um, formerly, thank you) can try new things, you can, too.

Ten years ago (and back), the most experimental things I would try were Greek or Italian or Mexican fare. Not to knock those things, because I love them. But I wouldn't even try authentic. That means no lamb, no goat, nothing much other than baklava with Greek food.

Okay, so I still don't eat lamb or goat--it's a meat thing I'm not going to discuss--but I do experiment with food, with our fledgling family of 3 (soon to be 4).

That's why I was happy to see this giveaway for a Thai food packet over at the Mission Mommy blog (, where you can win a Thai Kitchen Curry Kit courtesy of Simply Asia Foods/Real Asian Made Simple (

So, it is with that former post in mind that I say I'd love to try the bananas in coconut milk. Cocounts have historically marked my top-10 "Do Not Try. Do Not Want to Try. Don't Make Me Try or You'll Be Sorry" list, but today, I'm a bigger (well, metaphorically, not physically) person--and better, too--for having gone outside my comfort food comfort zone.

Your mission today, then, is to try something new that's outside your realm of ordinariness. Be experimental. Be brave.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Cine-Ma's Latest List

I love films. That's not to say that I watch and rewatch the same movies incessantly and am always very initially open-minded about films (rather, I am very skeptical, critical {perhaps hypercritical} and contrarian), but once I've viewed something a few times and it starts to really soak into my brain--and provided it's at least halfway decent--I am pretty quick to judge and know what I like.

That being said, I think the AFI comes out with their lists just to irritate people! (Should I call it a film flimflam? Nah, I'll just drop the hint.) I know you can't please all the people all the time, but gee whiz.

I have no idea when this poll came out; it says 2008, but I wonder if it was only recently released. My local news carried a story on their Web page, no longer there, about an AFI "Top 10" poll and I was intrigued. Just too slow to read the story. It was only on their site, that I saw, for a day within the last week, and I returned today and couldn't find it.

In any case, the AFI has/had released another list about the Top Film in 10 Classic Genres (they showcase the top 1 in each genre, but have actually listed 10 in each genre). I would like to offer my 2 cents' worth on these genres, as a Cine-Ma (I'm not a professional film critic, but I play one at home and abroad ... funny; a broad abroad!) who enjoys and critiques films of many genres. Do let me know what you think, too! All of the films I have on my list will be ones I have viewed at least once in their entirety, but sometimes it is in the distant past. I have not viewed all the AFI's favorites, however; most notable among those I've never seen in their entirety are "Raging Bull," "The Godfather," "Citizen Kane," and "Lawrence of Arabia." Only the latter two am I sheepish to admit, frankly.

THEIRS (Link here:
1. Animation: Snow White
2. Romantic Comedy: (Charles Chaplin's) City Lights
3. Western: (John Wayne) The Searchers
4. Sports: Raging Bull
5. Mystery: Vertigo
6. Fantasy: Wizard of Oz
7. Sci-Fi: 2001: A Space Odyssey
8. Gangster: The Godfather
9. Courtroom Drama: To Kill a Mockingbird
10. Epic: Lawrence of Arabia

MINE (unless I say so, in no particular order if I name more than one film in a genre):
1. Animation: Fantasia (by far, the best); Bambi; Dumbo {Their list is filled with a lot of the typical, mediocre modern crud, by the way.}
2. Romantic Comedy: City Lights; Love & Death (Woody Allen; far better than Annie Hall); Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (not sure this fits the genre, but since they included a few in their list that contain social commentary, I am, too, by golly!); and History of the World Part I (Mel Brooks)
3. Western: Not a favorite genre in which I've widely viewed, but here goes. Old Clint Eastwood movies (i.e., not The Unforgiven); Blazing Saddles; and Millionaire's Express (a Hong Kong movie)
4. Sports: Rocky (by far better than "Raging Bull," I'm going to say); Enter the Dragon; and Jackie Chan's Drunken Master (hey, AFI, martial arts is a sport, and a heckuva lot more difficult than hitting a small spool of thread with a honkin' huge lump of lumber, as much via the power of your beer-and-bratwurst gut as of your arms, or of running for 5 whole seconds straight (if that) then being hit by a fat guy who is vaguely (or more) reminiscent of "Pizza the Hut" in Mel Brooks' classic "Space Balls."
5. Mystery: Rear Window. I would have put "North by Northwest" slightly ahead, but, to me, that's a little more of a thriller than it is a mystery. RW is a clear-cut mystery (well, as clear as a muddy little gem of a never-seen-on-screen murder that may or may not be a murder can be!). Also, under AFI's seeming criteria, I think "Jaws" would qualify. An excellent film, too.
6. Fantasy: Lord of the Rings trilogy; Brazil (if a dystopia); It's a Wonderful Life
7. Sci-Fi: 2001; Planet of the Apes (I can't believe they didn't include this in their list; I mean, I dislike Charlton Heston's politics as much as the next antigun gal, but still); Fahrenheit 451; Blade Runner; Star Wars: A New Hope (part 4, technically, I guess); Terminator (esp. part 1, less so, part 2; not at all part 3); Jurassic Park; Close Encounters of the Third Kind; Alien; Space Balls; They Live; and ET
8. Gangster: No vote. I boycott this category! Other than television gangster movies, I can't say any have been memorable or that I've even viewed them. Perhaps Bonnie and Clyde, but I don't know if I've seen that all the way through.
9. Courtroom Drama: Inherit the Wind (better than TKAM); To Kill a Mockingbird
10. Epic: Lord of the Rings trilogy; The Great Dictator; Enter the Dragon; Schindler's List; Planet of the Apes; Star Wars; The Last Samurai (the only list you'll ever see where I've even briefly thought about including a Tom Cruise movie!)

{I'm not sure why "Comedy" didn't make it--other than I think AFI has released a list on this in the past 5 years--but I guess it's the red-headed stepchild of film. Same goes for documentary, I guess.}

Have I left anyone (or anything) good off? Drop me a note or a vote, and we can hash it out together!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Welcome from the Mom de Plume

Okay. I know there's another blog out there with "Mom de Plume" stamped on it. And I'm cool with that.

Not trying to hijack that name, by any means.

Just wanted to throw out a brief welcome, mat it to the page, et voila.

Wilkommen! Tag! Nie hao ma? Buenos dias. Bienvenuto. Hello!
(Wish I knew more languages. Greetings nonetheless.)

Did you ever wonder why it is that "mom" and "dad" are palindromes? (This is not a lead-in to a joke, amazingly, given my sometimes facetious nature.)

Because moms and dads are some of the people most capable of, ourobouros-like, rolling back upon what's best about themselves into infinitude and folding those earlier selves into their current knowledge, emotions, and philosophy. Changing, yet somehow staying the same. Sustaining.

Sorry to go New Age-y on you with that brief interlude, but I guess it just had to be done.

Welcome again to my blog about anything and everything. It's a Kitchen Sink Think Tank, a writing space, a rant, a diatribe, occasionally (hope springs eternal) a beautiful line or funny passage ... a write of passage ... for moms or dads or people or animals or kids.

Perhaps you fit into one of those pigeonholes.

Speaking of which, let's have fun as we travel down the Universe's rabbit hole together, bearing in mind there can, indeed, be atheists in foxholes.