September 27, 2010

-image-so they charge for that now?

I saw this link to an iVillage article on another blog —

Breastfeeding Rates Are Up — but They Vary Widely from State to State

— and that is literally what I thought, pippa: So they CHARGE for that now??

I sat there with a furrowed brow for a little too long to be considered any kind of competent person and then it hit me: “Ohh. The number of women who do it, not the price per boob.”

Uhm. I kid you not. I said that to myself, in my head. As if those are two real things that one would seriously analyze when discussing breastfeeding: the number of women who do it vs. the price per boob from state to state.

Well, the economy IS worrisome. Save your pennies, babies. Don’t swallow ’em.

In my defense, I took a Tylenol PM last night and it’s possible I’m still deep deep asleep.

You know, let’s just go with that. The other possibilities are too discouraging.

September 23, 2010

-image-me ol’ bamboo

I cannot remember how old I was when Chitty Chitty Bang Bang first came into my life, but I seem to remember seeing it on TV. At Thanksgiving time maybe? I don’t know why that sticks out for me. Seems like it was the holidays. I do remember having a huge and instant crush on Dick Van Dyke, though. I still do, to this day. He’s just adorable to me. Look at that face. Look at how agile he is. If you can find a man enchanting, if that’s okay to say, then I find Dick Van Dyke enchanting. Always have.

I just loved this song when I was a kid. The delirious dancing, the dangly scrap vests, the tinka tinka tinka of it all. I was mad for the tinka tinka tinka. And, oh, how I wanted a dangly scrap vest! Who cares about a Truly Scrumptious dress when you could have a dangly scrap vest!

Isn’t this just one of the happiest songs ever? Thank you Dick Van Dyke, for being …. yes, enchanting.

You can have me hat or me bumbershoo’, but you better never bother with me ol’ bamboo!

I love this:

“A flyer in an air-eo-plane”


“He does?”

I remember cracking up at that little moment when I was a kid. I mean, Caractacus is faking it during this number — he’s hiding from someone, as I recall, so he randomly joins a dance troupe — and I just went nuts for the crack of his voice, the turn of his head, the way his whole body slackens for the tiniest tick, the way he mimes a wheel but they say stick. (Caractacus may be faking it, but Dick Van Dyke here is a performer in complete control of evvverything. There is such intricacy here, such split-second timing. To be in control of appearing out of control takes true genius. I think people underestimate Dick Van Dyke.)

Anyhow, I loved that whole bit. A heartbeat’s deflation of a totally madcap, ramped-UP song. I noticed that as a kid and just howled. Weird child. I still rewind this just to watch that tiny sinking moment. I love it.

Love the whole happy tinka tinka thing.

September 21, 2010

-image-i’m all for whimsy …. i am …. but

I’m also a crankypants, as we all know.

And I don’t like this.

They seem like a fun-loving buncha kooks, they do, and I love the fun-loving kooks, but — and this is where I’m a hideous ol’ gammie, I guess — I think some things should retain a teensy bit of their dignity. When you’re walking down that aisle, it’s a BIG DEAL. You’re about to do something huge, life-changing, and I think a slightly more traditional processional is more in keeping with the hugeness of the moment.

The worst processional I ever personally witnessed was a girl from our church who decided — oh so ill-advisedly — to SING while she was walking down the aisle. She was a terrible singer. Like a bad American Idol audition. Now we could barely hear her, which was probably for the best because, again, she was a terrrrible singer, and let’s just say it’s a really good thing Simon Cowell wasn’t there. About halfway down the aisle, though, the wedding nerves must have seized her vocal cords and her brain waves because she got all turned around in the song, a namby-pamby worship song, and her eyes went from penny sized to plate sized in terror. She stopped dead in her tracks and bounced around — for the Lord, I guess — or to shake her brain awake, while MB and I and basically everyone around us sat in the pews shaking with the laughter borne of horror that you feel kinda bad about later but just can’t stop doing now. She and her groom are no longer married and I’ve always thought it’s because I saw that same mask of horror on his face that I saw on everybody else’s as she walked her catastrophic walk towards him, singing all about Jesus. You could literally see the guy thinking, “Uhm, yeah. But what about ME?” His future flashed before his eyes and it was no freakin’ bueno, pippa. She wanted to surprise him. I guess she did. I knowed something weren’t right in those crazy kids’ heads when the dude proposed to her at Bible study.


I, myself, neither sang a song about Jesus nor danced to a 5-minute Chris Brown song when I walked down the aisle. No, when I walked down the aisle and glanced up at MB standing there, all devastatingly handsome, I wanted to savor that moment, breathe it in, walk slowly enough to make it last but not so slowly that people would start to think they should dial 911. Singing about Jesus or dancing to Chris Brown would have interrupted that moment, my thought process, my focus. I wanted to walk with purpose towards this future we’d chosen, and I know MB felt the same about seeing me, although maybe not the handsome part. I remember I could tell he was nervous by the way he was breathing, so as I walked down the aisle, I winked at him and he instantly, visibly relaxed. Yeah, we’re getting married, we can take it very seriously, but we’re still US and we can share a little wink. A tiny moment of levity between us that most people didn’t even see.

I’d have no problem if this couple did something like this as the REcessional, as they’re leaving, woo hoo we’re married, and I love all the videos on YouTube of the choreographed bridal party dances at the reception. But these few moments, I don’t know, they’re sacred to me. I don’t think they’re the time and place for silliness, but maybe that’s just me. To me, you’re physically entering the room, yes, but you’re also entering into the biggest deal of your lives. This bridal party is obviously having fun, but it all seems too blithe for me. TOO carefree. Well, maybe not carefree, careless.

Okay. So I’m officially a gammie then, swigging my jug of prune juice. Oh, and to add to my gamminess: I think the bride looks stupid doing this. Sorry. I think they all look ridiculous, but I’m saving all my ire for her since I’m assuming she might have been someone who could have put a stop to this. And — AND — (insert indignant gammie voice here): “I would not be caught dead walking down the aisle to a song that says ‘double your pleasure, double your fun.’ You’re getting married, not filming a gum commercial!”

Besides, the whole thing is over 5 minutes long. Get on with the gettin’ hitched part! Is that why you’re there or not?

Look. Ol’ Gammie here just likes the awe of the processional. The hush. The fleeting majesty. I like the moment when the doors swing open — whoosh — and you see that bride take her first step down that aisle. I like seeing it now; I liked doing it then. I liked taking those few moments down that aisle to see — really see — my future in front of me. I liked letting everything and everyone else melt away into the background. I like watching the groom as he watches his bride and sees no one but her. It’s magic, feeling that love as a palpable cord pulling these two people together, feeling that you’re all in the presence of something much much bigger than all of you. Because you are.

Take that away and it loses some magic for me. The hush is missing. The awe is gone.

And there’s just not enough awe anymore.

September 19, 2010

-image-li’l mb redux

(I first posted this about 5 years ago. Five years ago?? Seriously??)


(Li’l MB, age 3, a broad-shouldered bruiser.)

A story.

Li’l MB was about 4 or 5. His mom, a nurse, was called into the hospital on an emergency and dad was at work, too, so Li’l MB and his brother were dashed off to the nearest babysitter: Cecilia Stone, reluctant wife of Rocky Stone.

Li’l MB and brother spent the afternoon playing nicely with each other; they were good little boys, well brought up, having a good little day. Cecilia Stone, however, was apparently not having a good little day. She was getting drunk.

Now, every good little boy, even in the midst of the most riveting afternoon of play, will need a potty break. Some little boys just go behind a bush, barely missing a beat. Other, better boys will stop, go in the house, and do their business. But the very best boys, finding themselves at, oh, say, someone else’s home, will ask permission to go in the house and relieve themselves.

MB, as I have established, was one of the very best boys. And when the need for a potty break became pressing, he respectfully approached the boozy Cecilia Stone, reluctant wife of Rocky Stone.

As the son of a nurse, MB had learned all the medically correct terms for the body’s vital excretory functions. In MB’s childhood home, there were no such words as “pee” or “poop” or “tinkle” or “wee wee.” And there were ABSOLUTELY no such words as “yellow potty” or “dirty potty,” the descriptive phrases used by Ritchie and Brian, Li’l MB’s troglodytic, melon-headed friends.

No. He and brother were taught to say “urinate” and “defecate.”

So L’il MB approached the sotted Cecilia Stone.

” ‘Scuse me. I have to defecate.”

“What!?” Cecilia Stone slurred.

“I have to defecate!”

“What?!? You’re suffocatin’!?”

“NOO-HO! I have to DEFECATE!” Li’l MB’s voice became urgent with need.



Poor Li’l MB. He rocked on his heels, desperate, but Cecilia Stone was soused, pie-eyed … sloshed. She could NOT understand him, no matter how hard he tried. Maybe he should have said “dirty potty.”

Moments later, mom came to pick up her boys and found Li’l MB crying in frustration and in dire defecatin’ straits. A groggy Cecilia Stone blurted:

“What the HELL is wrong with this kid?? HE KEEPS SAYIN’ HE’S SUFFOCATIN’!!”

Mom narrowed her eyes at silly Cecilia Stone and looked down at her frantic, dancing boy.

“He is NOT suffocating,” she replied, matter-of-factly. “He has to defecate!”


Cecilia Stone wheezed.

“What’s that?!?”

The question trailed in the air behind MB’s indignant mom as she marched her little pooper home to his long-awaited destiny.

September 16, 2010

-image-nosy survey: gifts and presents

Let’s say you’re a person and you have relatives and, at some point in your life, you’ve given these relatives gifts. Birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, Sorry I Recommended Rear Window gifts.

Does this scenario pretty much apply to everyone?

Okay. I have some questions then.

Copy and paste into comment window as per usual Nosy Survey practice.

1. When you were growing up, which family members received gifts from you, if any?

2. How were these gifts procured? Were they purchased? Home made?

3. What’s the best gift you think you ever gave to someone whilst you were growing up?

4. What is the worst “gift crime” you ever committed, i.e. snooping around, blabbing a surprise, secretly opening presents?

5. Am I the only one who got $5 birthday checks from Gramma? What’s the most Gramma ever ponied up for your birthday?

6. What age were you when your parents stopped giving you birthday gifts, if they ever have/did?

7. Do you think parents should stop giving birthday and Christmas gifts when their kids reach a certain age and what age would that be, in your opinion?

8. Are gift cards an acceptable gift in your family? (My mom is offended by them.)

9. Okay. You’re an aunt or uncle. Do you give birthday and Christmas presents to your nephews and nieces?

10. And ….. now the reason for this entire survey: Should aunts and uncles stop giving said gifts to nephews and nieces at some point? And, if yes, what point (age of kid) would that be??

Thank you for participating in my nosy survey, pippa.

You can see the questions that consume my fevered brain. I clearly ain’t thinking no lofty thoughts.

September 15, 2010

-image-bad (netflix) romance

So my parents’ disappointed love affair with the cinemah continues apace and apparently it’s all my fault for setting those crazy kids up.

I now get regular deflated updates on the status of their Netflix relationship. Basically, it would seem they’re dating for lack of anything better to do, going out with the guy you go out with just to have something to do on Saturday night. I mean, my dad has mastered tie-dye and stained glass and woodturning and rock stacking and indignant letter writing, eh, might as well move on to movie watching. My mom has mastered the art of being sick for over a quarter century, so it’s only a matter of time before a movie stumbles across her line of sight to make her forget she’s “sick” for approximately 93 minutes, even though I’m still crossing my fingers for that magic movie. Uhm, I think it’s called “The Afterlife.”

Turns out, my parents watched “On the Waterfront” and liked it, although Mom had to insist that Brando was not good-looking. Not her type. No way. Never.

Tracey, he was NOT good-looking.”

Okay, Mom, whatever. Calm down. He was gross. Fine. You’re right.

Dad said, “We’re gonna watch ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ next. Whaddya think?”

WhaddyI think? Uhm ….. uh ……. I think they should see it, and I think they will hate it. HATE it. HAAAAATE it.

I performed a verbal pirouette around THAT one, leaving it open, giving fair warning. I mean, they’re still bitter and ramped up about Citizen Kane and somehow these things all come back on my head. If I recommend a movie they hated, I have “gone against the family” and it’s all my fault and how oh how could I do that to them?

Recently, I told Dad to put a bunch of Hitchcock in his queue and he did.

So they watched Rear Window. And they did not like Rear Window.

Last week, we were at their house. Dad had printed out his queue and handed it to me to peruse. The two of them started in on poor Rear Window.

“I did not like Rear Window,” said Mom.

“Yeah. I don’t like Hitchcock,” said Dad.

“Okay,” said I.

“Well, it wasn’t suspenseful at ALL,” said Dad.

“YEAH,” agreed Mom.

“Okay,” said I.

They glared some blame at me.

“And what was Jimmy Stewart’s problem??” said Mom.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, he was a grouch!”

“I think that was just …. who his character was in that movie, Mom.”

“AND he didn’t want to marry Grace Kelly,” she continued.

“YEAH,” said Dad.

“Who doesn’t want to marry GRACE KELLY??”

Mom was out of her mind with indignation.

“I dunno. Do YOU want to marry Grace Kelly?”

I am a jerk.

“Tracey, come on.”

She glared at me some more. I think I’m the sole reason her face does that.

“Okay. Well, maybe don’t watch anymore Hitchcock, I guess.”

“Yeah. I like to be uplifted when I watch a movie,” said Dad.

You have to understand. My dad is Walter Mitty. He lives in his own little world and it’s not the world the rest of us live in. It’s nice where he is. It’s Disney, uncomplicated and sunny all the time. Even with mom’s “illness,” he lives in this place. Before she got sick, it was more of a vacation place he visited once in a while, but now he’s bought some land, built himself a cabin, probably stacked some rocks, and moved there on a permanent basis. It’s nice where he is, you see. There are no storms on his horizon.

So I began to rattle off a bunch of sports movies that I think he’d find “uplifting.” The Rookie. Hoosiers. Remember the Titans.

Then I mentioned The Mission and described it to them. It’s a bit of a litmus test. I threw that out there knowing there’s a good chance they won’t like it. I think it’s uplifting, in its own way, but maybe not in the way Dad means. He wants happy endings, not sacrificial endings. Still, if they don’t like The Mission, I am adopted. (I can hear it now. “Tracey, I didn’t like Robert DeNiro in that movie.” “He was a bad guy.” “People were naked.”)

Dad got out a pen and dutifully wrote all my suggestions down. Mom commented randomly.

“I don’t like that George Clooney.”


“He’s in some new movie called The American.'”

“Uh-huh. Uhm, what’s wrong with that?”

“Well, he is NOT an American!”

See what I deal with?

“Uhm ….. wha …..”

“He doesn’t behave like an American.”

I don’t want to have this conversation.


“I don’t like the way he behaves.”


“Or that Glenn Close either.”

What has she done lately to make ANYONE mad? Besides, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even know who Glenn Close is.

I glanced down at the queue and said, “Well, if she bugs you that much, you should take Paradise Road off the queue. She’s in it.”

“Ohh, Tracey. That won’t make a difference. I can still WATCH a movie she’s in.”

“Uh-huh. We’ll see.”

She rolled her eyes at me.

Dad put a quiet question mark next to Paradise Road.

September 11, 2010

-image-mary carillo badminton flashback

Now I love Mary Carillo just in general. Her Wimdledon and US Open commentary with her childhood friend and one-time mixed doubles partner John McEnroe is priceless. They have great chemistry.

But here she is at the 2004 Athens Olympics doing a commentary on badminton. About 1:20 in, she goes off the rails. I don’t know if it’s calculated or if she’s having some sudden traumatic badminton flashback, but it’s hilarious. She’s so deadpan with that low voice. I love her and now I love her even more.

(Yeah, she does have a low voice, but the sound quality on this makes it sound even lower. I’m listening to her on TV at the Open even as I write this, and it’s not THAT low.)

“The tree is now groaning with children ……”

“Then you see Christopher Burr — and it’s always Christopher Burr — take a rollerblade ….”

The look on her face when she says “Christopher Burr” is hysterical.

I keep replaying this, and it just gets funnier to me. I really don’t think it was planned. I think she’s riffing. The YouTube page that features this says it was “taken off the air in the middle of the night.” If that’s true, why?

It’s hilarious.

September 8, 2010


My sister and Piper, having a frozen yogurt date.

SIS: Pipey, you know Dad had this thing growing in his body, right?
PIPER: Yeah.
SIS: And he had that surgery where the doctor took it all out.
PIPER: Yeah.
SIS: Well, the doctor wants to make sure there’s none of it left anywhere in his body.
PIPER: Okay.
SIS: So ….. Daddy needs to have these treatments to make sure it’s all gone.
PIPER: Oh, okay.
SIS: With these treatments, though, it will look like Daddy’s getting sicker — for a little while.
PIPER (after a pause): Okay.
SIS: I just wanted you to know that Daddy might look sicker, but he has to get a little sicker so he can get completely better, okay?
PIPER: Okay, Mommy.
SIS: Okay.
PIPER: It’s okay, Mommy.

Brave girls both.

September 1, 2010

-image-ew, ew, ew

“She had her issues – she had her demons – but I never lost my respect for her.”

Really? What about now, crackie??

How low does your self-respect have to fall to do that??

-image-word ladder

A game to play to while away the work hours.

Send word ladder combos in emails to your work colleagues! Well, unless your email is monitored! Then I’m sorry, your job sucks! Work them in your cubicle while the boss is or isn’t looking, depending on how much you like or care about your job!

S’fun and s’guaranteed not to get you fired. But what do I know about anything? I don’t even get HIRED because of my prejudice against puppets. Because I’m a puppetist? A puppist? A puppophobe? Whatevs. Because I hate puppets.


The rules are simple: Pick any two four-letter words, and by changing one letter at a time, turn the first word into the second. The catch is that each variation has to also be a word.

For example:

Atom → Bomb:
atom, atop, stop, slop, slob, blob, boob, bomb.

Oreo → Milk:
oreo, ores, ares, ales, alms, aims, dims, dams, dame, dime, mime, mile, milk.

Eels → Sand:
eels, ells, elms, alms, arms, arts, ares, area, aria, arid, grid, grad, goad, good gold, gild, mild, mind, rind, rand, sand.

For competition, see who can solve a set the fastest, or who can make the fewest permutations. You can try five letter words, pippa, but don’t come crying to me if you slit your wrists over it.

Here are a few to try:

Keys → Lock
Drum → Toms
Holy → Oven

Happy changing!

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