Archive for the ‘The Whole Fam Damnly’ Category



This Is What Home Schooling Looks Like

In addition to my freelance work, I tutor home schooled kids three days a week. (Have to justify that teaching license somehow!) My tutoring kids are also my cousin’s children, and they’re awesome. Of course, school for them is about as formal as freelancing work is for me, in that you can do it in your jammies most days. Here I give you the face of home schooling: skull-printed footie pajamas and a scowl.

In related news, today Simon made it clear that he had absolutely no interest in learning how to compute compound and simple interest. Neither do I, Simon. Neither do I.



Back in Black

I’ve been wanting to dye my hair a dark, dark, dark color for a long, long, long time.  But usually when I’d mention it, I’d get either stares of horror or well-meaning insistence that it Just. Wouldn’t. Work.

I had a theory, though.  First, my father’s family has quite a bit of Native American heritage, and it’s very, very obvious when you look at them: dark skin, dark or black hair, dark eyes.  This is true of one of my sisters, too.

But me?  Not so much.  Pale skin, blue eyes, and hair color that can only be described as, um, non-descript.  Honestly, I’ve been coloring my hair for so long that I have no idea what color it really is now.

The key here is that I have another sister.  And for better or worse, we look alike.  A lot alike.  In fact, I sometimes have this weird experience where I walk by a mirror, catch a glance of myself peripherally, and think for a couple of seconds that it’s my sister.  At first I always think, “How the hell did she get in here?  I’m sure I locked the front door.  Maybe I should check the garage.”  And then I think, “Wow.  We look a lot alike.  Except for the part where she’s several inches taller.  And has black hair.”

So I figured I could pull it off, you know?  Because, hello: identical.  (Except for the height thing.  She’s almost normal sized!)

And, as you know, I did it last night.  I didn’t have a particularly good reason, except that I was dressing up as a zebra and zebras don’t have red hair.  (FYI:  If your costume involves coloring your hair with permanent dye and wearing a banana clip in 2008, you might want to step back, take a minute, and reconsider.)

But it turned out okay!  There were a few touch-and-go moments, though.  When I tried to blow dry my unruly, curly hair out straight for the first time in what seemed like hundreds of years, there was a bit of a crisis.  Turns out I didn’t really remember how to use a round brush and it got completely entangled.  As a result, I stood in the bathroom with the brush ensnared in my hair and my hands on my hips while I debated whether or not to call Aunt Doodie and ask her to cut the thing out.  Once I finally muddled through that mess and realized that the round brush was a seriously bad idea, there was another problem — namely, that my hair was all crinkly and wiry from the bad blow job.  (Heh.)  So there I stood, looking exactly like Gene Simmons.  I debated forgoing the black and white zebra face make-up for something more appropriate — like this — but realized that I didn’t have a tongue prosthesis on stand by.

By today, however, things were looking up.  Some of the — well, whatever the equivalent of “brassiness” is with black hair dye — had given way to a color a tad lighter and less Simmonsesque.  And the ladies who came over for the post-belly dancing get-together were very complimentary.  I might keep this color for awhile.

Or I might go blue next week.  Who knows?

Note: I totally had this post finished before midnight, but I got all distracted by Justin Timberlake’s all-too-brief appearance on SNL that I had recorded earlier.  Oh, Justin!




In her youth, my cousin Navy used to refer to things as “dis-reppearing” rather than “dis-appearing.”  (In my head, I equate this with Xander’s understanding of “blinvisible.”)  This was almost certainly an issue of mispronunciation, although I like to think of it as a toddler coining an all-important sentiment.

I have, ever sense, thought of tangible objects as having the ability to “disreppear.”  To me, when something “disreppears” it disappears and then reappears — kind of like when you lose your keys and then find them exactly where you left them, even if you looked in that spot 500 fucking times.



Oh, Baby

My cousin Bailey is expecting her second child — another boy — in January.  These are photos from the shower I threw for her this weekend.

This is the diaper cake I made.  The instructions said 60 diapers and 60 minutes; it took me 73 diapers and three hours.  You can barely see the little "roses" made out of baby socks, which I thought were the coolest thing ever.

This is the diaper cake I made. The instructions said 60 diapers and 60 minutes; it took me 73 diapers and three hours. You can barely see the little "roses" made out of baby socks, which I thought were the coolest thing ever.

This is the whole reason I hosted the shower.  Someone linked to a similar cake a long time ago, and I immediately thought to myself, "I have GOT to have one of those."

This is the whole reason I hosted the shower. Someone linked to a similar cake a long time ago, and I immediately thought to myself, "I have GOT to have one of those."

This is Bailey, the guest of honor, and her derby teammate Amber, aka "Tara Niploff."

This is Bailey, the guest of honor, and her derby teammate Amber, aka "Tara Niploff."

This is me and my youngest sister, Kyli.  She came a couple of hours early to help me, and thank goodness she did!  She is the shower-throwing QUEEN.

This is me and my youngest sister, Kyli. She came a couple of hours early to help me, and thank goodness she did! She is the shower-throwing QUEEN.

The Menu:

  • Cholives
  • Sausage Balls
  • Cheese Cubes
  • Vegetable Platter
  • Fruit Platter
  • Cockdoggies
  • Ham and Cream Cheese Pickle Rolls
  • Pinwheels
  • Mixed Nuts (except I picked all the cashews out and devoured them the night before)
  • Blue Punch

We played a couple of games that no one seemed to have played at a baby shower before, so that was nice.  She also got lots of nice gifts.  For party favors, I made cinnamon buns with notes on them that said, “Thanks for helping Bailey celebrate her bun in the oven!”

My favorite thing about the shower, though, was that it was very ecologically friendly.  We used my “picnicware,” so none of the plates or utensils were tossed in the trash.  We did use plastic disposable cups, but I handwashed all of them for reuse except the four that cracked, which went in the recycling bin.  Instead of napkins, we used tiny terrycloth baby washrags in white and pastel blues that Bailey got to take home at the end.  By the time it was all over, I had one dishwashwer load and one sink load of dishes and two Wal-Mart bags of trash.  I thought that was pretty good for 20 people!



For the Honor of Grayskull

12:46 pm · category: Body of Mine, The Whole Fam Damnly

About two weeks ago I realized I have muscle definition in my arms. I can actually see my biceps! Ever since I’ve spent at least a few minutes a day flexing in front of the mirror like a twelve-year-old boy. Last night I discovered I have definition in my triceps, too. So today I showed Aunt Doodie my awesome emerging muscles.

“Wow!” she said. “Pretty soon you’re going to be He-Man!”

“Or She-Ra. Because, you know, I’m a girl,” I said.

“Umm, I said ‘Wee Man,’” Aunt Doodie said.

“Fuck you!” I yelled.

“What?!? He’s all muscled up!”

She better pray I never find a Sword of Protection.



My Cousin Rachel

My Cousin Rachel is the title of a really famous book by Daphne De Maurier.  This novel was on one of the many bookshelves in my parents’ house when I was growing up.  I never read it, but it always stuck out because I have a cousin named Rachel.  And like the novel, my cousin Rachel’s story is about Italy and love and death and tragedy.  (But not murder, so keep your pants on.)

My Cousin Rachel grew up in Bald Knob, Arkansas, just like me and the rest of my kith and kin.  She is the second of four children, and if anyone in my family could be considered normal, it’s this girl.  But then again, she has a certain flair and is very headstrong.  She home schooled her senior year of high school at a time when not many people were doing that in Arkansas, because she’s a little bit of a rebel — whether she’ll admit it or not.

My Cousin Rachel fell in love with and married a hometown boy named Brandon, who was (by then) in the Army, when she was 18.  They produced a beautiful daughter named Sydney.  This new family from a podunk Arkansas town soon found itself living in Italy, where Brandon was stationed.

My Cousin Rachel was a young wife and mother when her husband had a terrible car accident in Italy that left him virtually incapacitated.  Some of Brandon’s injuries were so horrific that the nurses couldn’t stomach tending to him.  So this stranger in a strange land changed the dressings on her husband’s wounds when medical professionals wretched behind closed doors.

My Cousin Rachel moved back to the States after Brandon’s medical discharge.  I guess that’s how it goes: one day she was living in a cosmopolitan European city among the ruins of an ancient civilization, and the next she was back in Bald Knob, America, meth capital of these United States.  But she isn’t one to complain, and she made a life for her disabled husband and young daughter.  Soon she was pregnant with her second child.

My Cousin Rachel held it together when the police officer showed up at her door late one night to tell her Brandon had been involved in another terrible car accident.  This time, however, he had not survived.

My Cousin Rachel was a widow barely in her second decade of life with a toddler and another one on the way when her husband ceased to be.

My Cousin Rachel birthed her second daughter, Taylor, five months after she buried her husband.  She worked her ass off.  She ate and slept and went to church and reared her children and laughed and smiled and made hilarious comments and never ever ever one single time expressed anything resembling self pity.

My Cousin Rachel kept her shit together, and I will never understand how.

My Cousin Rachel met a man at a church gathering, and they married a few years ago.  Jeremy is a strong, handsome, hard working man who adores her and her daughters.  She has since birthed another child, a son named Jacob.  They live outside of a small town, surrounded by flora and fauna and a million pets and other assorted wildlife.  Her children are polite and well mannered and intelligent, just like their mama.

My Cousin Rachel skims this blog on occasion, so I know she’ll eventually read this.  And then I’ll know that she knows that I think she’s amazing.

My Cousin Rachel doesn’t know this, but I admire her more than any other person I know in real life.  I could never say that to her in person.  It would be awkward for us both, because we were reared in a family predicated on pretense and denial.  We’d probably end up avoiding eye contact and making weak jokes, and then we’d spend the next four years pretending like we didn’t know each other at family functions.

My Cousin Rachel is an incredible woman.  I hope she knows that, even if I never have the courage to say it to her aloud.



Family Jewels

Aunt Doodie tells me that her dogs burrow under the covers each night and sleep nestled in her nether region.

“They do that because your crotch is the warmest part of your body,” I explain.  “If you’re ever in an avalanche or at risk for hypothermia, you’re supposed to buddy up and bury your head in each other’s crotches, sixty-nine style, because you lose the most heat through your head.”

“How do you know that?” she asks, the edge of suspicion clear in her voice.

“I learned it in the Army.”

“You weren’t in the Army,” Aunt Doodie notes.

“Okay, so I learned it in an Army movie.  Or maybe in Girl Scouts.  Anyway, that’s what you’re supposed to do.”

Aunt Doodie considers this.  “If I’m ever in an avalanche, I’m going to buddy up with Gene Simmons,” she declares.

“This conversation is over,” I reply, horrified.

The best part was when Aunt Doodie retold the story the following day and accidentally said she was going to buddy up with Richard Simmons.



Man’s Best Friend

11:59 pm · category: Aunt Doodie, Dog Days, The Whole Fam Damnly

I sometimes bathe dogs for Aunt Doodie at the grooming shop, despite the fact that I’m pretty much terrified of canines.  Sure, I’m slowly warming up to the species, but I’m still wary of them as a whole.

I have noticed that, much in the same way that married couples start to look like each other as they age, some owners and their dogs begin to present a more than passing resemblance.  I’ve also found a cocker spaniel that looks like my cousin Navy and a Pomeranian that could have been my mirror image.

Even more strangely, some breeds look like certain celebrities.  For instance, I have this theory that all pekingese look like Nicole Richie.  And springer spaniels who haven’t had their heads shaved look exactly like Jerry Stiller.

I call these dogglegangers.



While I Was Out

This is what I did during my blogging hiatus, in no particular order:

  • Kicked Rocco out
  • Got fired
  • Decided to write, organize and produce my own version of Food Court Musical
  • Learned how to make homemade candy bars
  • Signed up for unemployment
  • Worked my way up to the number one and number five spots, respectively, on Facebook’s “Addicted to Angel” and “Addicted to Buffy” trivia applications
  • Gave up my dream of being in the roller derby
  • Realized unemployment will not keep me from being homeless…
  • …Began bathing dogs for Aunt Doodie in exchange for her paying my rent
  • Started taking a yoga class
  • Got cable TV with a DVR
  • Spent a lot of time with Aunt Doodie musing about how we would survive on a deserted island
  • Started working on building a freelance career, which will theoretically enable me to stay home so I can play “Addicted to Angel/Buffy” Facebook applications and watch the DVR all day long
  • Successfully completed a ten-day cleansing fast
  • Entertained at my home twice in one week — a record!
  • Found out my Aunt Shelley has cancer
  • Realized I am not equipped to write, organize and produce my own version of Food Court Musical, so enlisted the help of my friends
  • Became obsessed with sushi and ate it almost every day for two weeks
  • Lost nine pounds
  • Spent a lot of time daydreaming about how Nathan Fillion and I would live on a deserted island, using Aunt Doodie’s survival ideas and my “tons of free time” ideas
  • Attended the Slayage Conference, where Rhonda Wilcox saw my name tag, remembered me, and asked why I never formally submitted my paper
  • Made my home almost totally chemical free
  • Became disgusted by sushi and vowed to never eat it again
  • Found out my cousin Bailey is having another baby
  • Learned how to fry an egg perfectly
  • Bought a plane ticket to LA for the WD party in October
  • Twisted Cindy’s arm until she agreed to visit me this summer
  • Ate more sushi
  • Found, loved and lost my precious Dr. Horrible
  • Lost a toenail


The Night That I Fell in Love with (Being) A Roller Derby Queen*

Tonight I went to Bailey‘s (AKA “Daisy Fever‘s”) first roller derby bout, which was her first bout as a member of the Little Rock Derby Girls.

And, oh my God, I am in love.

I didn’t really catch on at first. I kept asking, “Who’s got the ball? I can’t even see the ball!” (FYI: There’s no ball in roller derby.)

But ten minutes into the bout I turned to Aunt Doodie — whose elbows were already carpet-burned from leaning and scraping against the “railing” at the rink during the bout — and delightedly exclaimed, “I have no idea what’s going on, but it’s all very exciting.” (If you can imagine a wide-eyed Anya delivering this line, you’ll have the gist of my tone and wonderment.)

I think what excites me about roller derby is the same thing I found appealing about professional wrestling way back when I used to follow WWE Pay-Per-Views around the Mid-South: the violence. Although I suppose that, in this instance, it’s more about the potential for violence. Let’s face it: girl-on-girl derby violence is a gozillion times more exciting because it’s for the sake of the game, rather than man-on-man wrestling violence for the sake of scripted entertainment. (Somewhere, a gaggle of niche feminists who just don’t get it are shrieking in horror.)

By intermission (Or whatever. There was a break, okay?), I had decided I had to be a derby girl. I was already envisioning my outfit and trying to come up with an appropriate name. There are just a few complications:

  • I’m old (34), and the vast majority of the derby girls I saw competing are in their early 20s.
  • I’m incredibly short and am not, in any way, an “imposing figure.”
  • I’m an overweight smoker who probably couldn’t make it around the track a single time, much less for two solid minutes in a pack of vicious young women intent on destroying me.
  • I can’t roller skate. (This is, um sort of a big barrier.)

But I’m still giving roller derby some semi-serious consideration, because there are clearly a lot of benefits: something to do other than work at the hotel and peruse the Internet; good exercise; an acceptable outlet for pent-up aggression — and much, much more.  (I’m assuming, anyway.  I’d probably get free nachos after the bouts if I were a team member.)

So this is where you guys get to weigh in. I figure I’ll at least give it a shot; that is, I’ll try to learn how to stay upright on a combined eight wheels, and we’ll see what happens from there. But I need a kick-ass character name to inspire me. There’s a looooong list of registered, in-use names here that can’t be used but might inspire. My favorites are names like “Sandra Day O’Clobber” and “Pound Anya,” which are nice plays-on-words that I find amusing. And I found an anagram-making site, which anagrams my name into “Rabbi Red Rots.” (I thought that was kind of cool and ironic, considering my “reverend-ness.”)

So, get creative and comment!

*Post title bastardized from the lyrics of a song by Jim Croce. And if you don’t have Jim Croce in your life, you are so missing out.