Friday, March 28, 2008

Spring Break

JH and I are heading south tomorrow to see Grandma and Grandpa in California.

Don't tell the cat.

Supah Fuh-reak

The weather here, well, you know those flowers that were blooming? Um, they were buried under a light snow this morning, then the sun came out, and now?

It's raining ice.

Didn't this happen to the dinosaurs?!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I Surrender

Dear Alien Inside My Head AND My Chest:

You win. You have filled every tiny cavity in my sinus' until I sounded like a parody of a person with a cold. You have moved your alien family down into my chest, and even the tiny hairs on the inside of my ears hurt.

My dying wish is to halt global warming by converting the snot I am producing at an alarming rate into alternative energy.
Green energy, if you will.

Your captive, AnnieMcQ

cc: my internet friends

ps: I did manage to watch Autism: The Musical while the alien was sitting on my chest, and it would have made me cry, but I was afraid to produce any more mucus. If it's showing on HBO again, please, please tivo it. It's just brilliant.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

To the Alien Inside My Head:

Dear Alien,
I would like to welcome you to your spacious new home: my sinus cavity! Or should I say YOUR sinus cavity! It must have been a perfect fit for you, because the ease and swiftness with which you moved in is astonishing! Clearly, it suits you. Or should I say, not clearly, but, um, greenly? I would like to post a few "rules of the house", if you don't mind. I find that it helps to say these things up front, so that we can all live in harmony.

1. I'm glad you are so comfortable in your new digs, but could you please stop itching my eyes and burning my throat? It's keeping me awake at night, and I need my beauty sleep. I am looking every minute of my age, I don't need you adding any of your puffiness, thank you very much.

2. Your lease states clearly that you are NOT ALLOWED downstairs, so don't even think of moving into my chest.

3. I am rather enjoying my new voice. It's Brenda Vaccarro meets Harvey Fierstien meets Foghorn Leghorn meets Urkle.
Unique. Classy. Just like me!

4. If you could keep from exploding my head while you are in residence it would be greatly appreciated.

5. I am having a bit of difficulty hearing. I know, I know, more than normal? Ha ha ha. You are such a funny alien. Seriously, though. Get out of my ears.

6. If you are from the planet allergy, rather than the planet headcold, as I suspect, would you mind not adding the body aches? Theenx.

7. This is not a month to month lease, so don't unpack yet. You are not going to be staying long, if I have any say in the matter. Which, I am aware, I don't. I will not be taking you with me on spring break this weekend. So any visits to Southern California will need to be done from the confines of someone else's head.

Thank you for your consideration! Enjoy your stay, you miserable alien A#@hole!

Sincerely, Anniemcq

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Once upon a time...

...I was an idiotic twenty-something. Hedonistic, dramatic, and looking at pictures of myself then, cute as a button, although I truly didn't think so at the time. I wanted to be an artist, an ACTOR, not an actress (too diminutive for what I wanted for myself and my life), and sometimes, judging from the dreams I keep having, I think it might happen yet. But I am taking a break, to roll around in this life called parenting, to soak it up like a sponge, and to watch this amazing person I am raising catch his own light.

Yeah, but anyway, back to me.

So a loooooong time ago, I did the stuff that you do when you're in your early twenties: I drank too much and made out with people whose names I mostly don't remember.

Except for this one guy. Because he has come back to haunt me as that one-night make out session I can't forget. Not because his kisses were so incredible, I honestly don't remember them. I do remember that he was so much taller than I was that I had a terrible kink in my neck the next day, even though I was a lot younger and more pliable than I am now. (Dear God, thank you for not letting it go any further than one night of beer-induced spit swapping. I would be completely malformed by now.)

I also remember that he was riding his bike through Montana, where I happened to be doing summerstock, and he happened to have lots of friends. And he was completely Nordic, and he had the blondest hair I'd ever seen. But mostly the reason I remember him is because of his voice. It was very unusual.

I'm sure he doesn't remember me, but thanks to Nick Jr., I remember him. Every day at 2:00 and 2:30 I am reminded that I used to be, well, sort of slutty. In a Lutheran sort of way.

That's right. I made out with Patrick the Starfish.

Let this be a cautionary tale to those of you still in your twenties.

Falling in love again

I have been doing my best to be objective. I really have. I haven't gone to first base, I haven't even said we were thinking about going steady. But my resolve is crumbling, and I'm thinking of climbing into the back seat, one more time.

I read the transcript of Barack's speech, having missed it on television, and not wanting to be swayed by his personality, I just wanted time to read and digest his words. First and foremost, I was wowed by the fact that he wrote it himself. Can you imagine what a treat it would be if our current leader would be allowed off the leash to write a speech for himself?

On the other hand.

Eight. Long. Years. It would be hysterically funny if we weren't five years into this f*&#ing war, if people weren't losing their homes in record numbers, if the earth weren't threatening to melt and swallow us all whole.

I was also amazed by Barack's embracing our ambiguous human natures, without being at all wishy-washy. But more than anything, I am amazed by what I'm feeling in response to his words: Hope.

The Clinton's used to have the market cornered on Hope, but as much as I admire Hillary, and believe in her ability to lead, and as much as I LOVED Bill (but not in that way), I think a Hillary candidacy would be too divisive.

It's strange, isn't it? This feeling that every four years we fall in love, get our hearts broken, swear we'll never fall for this again, only to swoon and sway once the sweet talk eventually thaws our hearts.

But honestly, I ask you: How can you watch this without falling, truly, madly deeply? He's given me a promise, and I believe him. And he believes in me. He said so himself.

So I guess it's official. I am going steady with Barack Obama.

Monday, March 17, 2008

What is AnnieMcQ Up To?

About 5'3", and no good.

If you're really wondering what I'm spending my spare time working on (instead of keeping my house fastidiously tidy* and my son full to the brim with edutainment**) here is a clue:

It really is a walk down memory lane, going through all the receipts and credit card bills.

"Remember that one trip to the ER?"

"Insurance didn't really cover too much of that, did they?"

"Good times. Good times".

The thing is, we have someone who does our taxes.
And yet.
And yet.
It's still a pain in the ass.

*It could happen. If I were hypnotized and drugged.
**Hey. I helped him build a leprechaun trap, didn't I? An afternoon in front of the tv won't kill him.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Look what I caught!

Friday, March 14, 2008

How to Build A Leprechaun Trap

A tale told with visual aides

First of all, there is the gathering of materials, first and foremost being glitter, because leprechauns adore the shiny. We used green scissors (for luck), and what building project is complete without popsicle sticks?

Second, the glitter must be artfully applied to attract the Leprechaun properly. This piece here is going to be the arch. Arches are majestic, and when you see them, especially if you have an ounce of Leprechaun in you, you MUST pass through.

This is just errant glitter, and some flotsam. See how the glitter even makes the flotsam look beautiful?

Next there is the bait: money. Leprechauns love money. But it has to be SHINY money. It helps that it has weight, because it will play a large part in the trapping of the Leprechaun.

And just in case the lure of the lucre isn't enough, what Leprechaun could resist the promise of Gold? Especially with this many exclamation points?

Seriously? If you were a Leprechaun, and you saw that gorgeous arch, with all that signage just WAITING TO BE DISOBEYED, wouldn't you have to go under that arch to grab that money?

Up above the gold, you'll notice (only because I am kindly pointing it out to you - if you were a Leprechaun, you would be too blinded by your money lust to even look up) the clever mechanism through which the rope for the trap will be threaded. Also note the signage. Leprechauns LOVE to disobey.

And for the finale, here is the completed project. With the proud builder in the background. You might not be able to see the trap itself, as it is cleverly disguised as a gigantic hovering tree (or perhaps a hairy green cloud). Anyway, once the money is lifted by Paddy, the Leprechaun (who has been visiting class all this week, making all sorts of mischief - leaving tiny green footprints, stickers and messing with traps brought in early by eager first graders), the rope attached to the trap will be released, dropping the trap onto the unsuspecting Leprechaun.

What do you do with a Leprechaun once he is caught? He wouldn't make much of a meal, and I don't think he'd be much help around the house. Any suggestions will be gratefully accepted.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ginger or Mary Ann?

I don't know about you, but it sounds like Mary Ann might be having more fun.


I heart Anna Quindlen.

The Leprechaun Trap

Last week, Joe-Henry came home with a unique homework assignment. He has to build a leprechaun trap.

It has to be workable, and clever. So we've been gathering our materials: glitter, natch; popsicle sticks, of course; Legos, because they always come in handy somehow; string and a styrofoam cup as the actual trap. We have some cardboard stock to put it all on, and we've been decorating, because Leprechauns are very artistic. It will also have some well placed "Do Not Enter" signs, because they are notoriously naughty about not following rules.

They are also attracted to sparkly things. Which makes me wonder if perhaps I'm part Leprechaun? (I think it's written into law somewhere that I am not to be allowed anywhere near a bedazzler.) So we've been glitterizing (I'm sure that's a word, if it's not it should be) all of it, including the inside of the actual trap. I told JH that our leprechaun won't see that until it's too late, but he insisted. "Mom, just because I'm trapping him, doesn't mean I want him to be unhappy. If he's going to be there, he should be comfortable".

But don't tell Amnesty International about their future leader just yet. After working on his trap, he was playing around with his Legos, and he'd built a funeral pyre for his Lego fireman, who'd lost an arm in a grisly accident, and Joe-Henry was having a LIT-tle too much fun relaying the details to me. Of course, I think that was just because he enjoys making me worry about his future. He and his friend from next door were playing spies yesterday, using the cheap walkie-talkies I got him this weekend, and his "spy glasses". I looked over and he was holding his little flashlight like a gun and he had his bubble pipe in his mouth like a cigarette.

Weapons! Cigarettes! Let me just get you some pork rinds and heroin for a healthy snack, and we'll be good to go.

Sigh. Raising children is nothing if not interesting.

Friday, March 7, 2008


Do you suppose that cave people had a work week? Did they grunt, "Thank Rock it's Friday!"?

Or the pioneers? On those endless wagon trains, did they shout "Hallelujah, we can sleep in tomorrow!"?

Or did it all blend together, was struggle just a way of life, from day to day to day?

Probably. They were a lot tougher than me. I am a, what's that word I'm looking for? Oh, right. Pussy.

Even though yesterday, we stayed home from school AGAIN, because he had diarrhea in the morning, but nothing for the rest of the day, I am looking forward to the weekend. To a little R&R.

Of course that means getting the taxes ready and the house clean and some play dates arranged and etc, etc, etc.

But a just a little more sleep sounds sooo nice.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Gas Prices are Poking the Monkey...

... but this is worse.

For my friends in Texas. Word has it it's an oyster carnival down there.

Thanks to my sweet, funny husband for sending me the link.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Dangerous Music

When I met my husband, well, when we first spoke, it was doing a job together. We were both actors and were hired to do an industrial for the Pacific Science Center. We'd met before, backstage at a play he had done. I'd gone with my bad boyfriend of the moment, I'd said "hello, good show", and he walked right by me as though he didn't hear me. Turns out, he didn't hear me. So I don't wake him up in the middle of the night to argue about it all these years later. Well, hardly ever.

But on this particular occasion, he was cast as world-weary private dick (insert inevitable joke here), and I was cast as a sexy come-hither scientist (insert blatant disbelief here). I was skinny and had short hair, and had the market cornered on playing spunky orphans (Anne of Green Gables, Plum in Nancy & Plum, and Kit in The Witch of Blackbird Pond), or daffy comic relief maids in British comedies. But sexy? I never got hired for sexy.

We had a blast that day, I recall. My boyfriend had dumped me the day before via telephone from some regional theater job where he had fallen in love with some sexy young actress, and my ego was bruised, but I had mailed off a letter filled with vitriol on my way to this job. Then I walked in the door to see Charley, in a white shirt, with the sleeves rolled up to reveal his beautiful forearms, and a fedora perched on his head, and I was instantly smitten. But it wasn't until later in the afternoon, after we'd gone a few rounds and done a few takes that I realized we were in a room full of people and we were the only people in on our jokes. His humor went right to my core, and it wasn't until then that I realized what I had been sadly lacking in all of my romantic forays: someone who could dish it, and take it, who had a true sense of humor, and someone who was as smart as he was sexy. I seem to recall a producer from the shoot who took me to coffee later, but I couldn't be bothered. He wore pastel argyle socks and tried too hard.

After we wrapped that first evening (that's biz talk for finishing the job), we went down the street to a happening mexican restaurant and got drunk on margaritas. The innuendo was flying, but so was the conversation. I learned that he had just broken up with someone recently too (although I won the prize for, um, recent-ness), and as the evening wore on, I could only think of one thing: I seriously, seriously wanted to kiss him. We finished our drinks, and he walked me to my gigantic old car, and he kissed me long and slow until I was up on the hood. To this day it's an argument about who kissed who first, an argument, I might add, that I always win, because I know (after years of practice) just how to shut him up. Anyway, he followed me home on his motorcycle, and we spent the rest of the night, and pretty much the rest of the spring and summer, finding new ways to annoy my neighbors.

When I think of that time, I think of us on a motorcycle, fresh oysters, cold beer, baseball & concerts on the pier. We saw
Lyle Lovett and his Large Band
, and Shawn Colvin with Richard Thompson. And like all lovers, we had a song. It spoke of who we were then, or at least who we thought we were, who we thought we wanted to be. Mysterious, dark, somewhat dangerous. I can't hear this song without feeling the breeze off Puget Sound ruffling my faded cotton blouse, his leg pressed next to mine, the anticipation of his kisses. He swept me off my feet, and my life has never been the same. Now we're almost twenty years older, we're heavier, grayer and more responsible, but when I hear this song, I am 29 again, Red Molly on the back of his Vincent '52.