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While living abroad in Thailand, Leanne gave birth to twins, William and Vivian. After a bit of a rocky start, Leanne found the babies (she lost them on the way home from the hospital), the right nursing bra (not so easy in a country where boobies are slightly less bodacious than ripe Canadian ta-tas), and she started to find funny everywhere.
You know those days when you’re feeling like you’re the world’s suckiest parent with rotten-good-for-nothing kids?
Leanne teaches us to find humor in those low moments.
She tells us how:
Her husband left the babies with drunken strangers. (Sorry to throw you under the tuk-tuk, Chris.)
William liked to pee. Everywhere. On everything.
Vivian drew on the dining room table. Using a Sharpie. (The permanent kind.)
The twins carved their names into her minivan’s paint…with rocks.
She sucks at crafts.
She let her son sleep next to a turd.
Leanne has this way of making us see the humor in the exchanges we have with our kids. When you are suffering through life’s most unfunny moments, remember we are all partners in this ordinary, extraordinary thing: raising tiny humans. And Leanne? She reminds us it’s okay to laugh with them – as well as at them.
Because Leanne is yummypickles, one person is going to be able to win a copy of Don’t Lick The Minivan.
What do you have to do to win?
Leave me a comment telling me a naughty thing you did as a child that you thought was hilarious OR tell me something naughty that one (or more) of your kids did that was heinous at the time, but you can look back at now and laugh. Kind of.
Can’t wait to win a contest? Buy Don’t Lick the Minivan on Amazon.
NOTE: This contest is open to residents of the US and Canada only. Random Number Generator will be helping me on this one. One winner will be announced on my blog on May 27th. If that person doesn’t contact me within 24 hours, I’ll select another winner. Don’t be that turd.
• • •
Leanne Shirtliffe’s book, Don’t Lick the Minivan: And Other Things I Never Thought I’d Say to my Kids, has received glowing endorsements from Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess), Jill Smokler (Scary Mommy), Kirkus Review, and others. When she’s not stopping her eight-year-old twins from licking frozen flagpoles, Leanne keeps a blog at ironicmom.com and teaches English to teenagers who are slightly less hormonal than she is. Follow her on Twitter at @lshirtliffe.
NOTE: Michelle from Steadily Skipping Stones recorded a fun interview video with Leanne on her blog! When you are done reading this post, click HERE to hear Leanne answer silly and serious questions from her fans.
I know. I know. It’s been a while since I’ve done a mash-up.
But big stuff has been going on, people.
See those birds up on that tree in my neighbors’ backyard? That means Frankenstorm is on the way. Seriously? The one year that my kid actually made a plan, bought a costume, and I actually purchased candy in advance? And we’re going to have a major storm? Are you kidding me? We’d better have some people at our door. Or else I’ll be going door to door tossing candy in everyone’s mailboxes. Sorry USPS. You guys lost the package I tried to send my niece and nephew last year, so I figure you owe me one.
Oh, and check it out! Look at the bottom right hand corner of that photo! I learned how to put a watermark on my pictures! So there’s proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
With that, here is some delicious stuff that I read this month in no particular order.
• • •
Le Clown wrote about All Hallows’ Eve. And it is freakin’ hilarious. If you don’t know Le Clown On Fire. He’s from Montreal and he’s magnifique. Like all the time. I know he’s a clown, but don’t be scared. He’s a good clown.
Leanne Shirtliffe (aka: Ironic Mom) shared a powerful tip about the power of acting crazy. I can vouch: everything she says works in and out of the classroom.
Editor for Writer’s Digest Books (& a trillion other things) Chuck Sambuchino wrote a fabulous & terrifying article at Writer Unboxed about how to really interpret those statistics you’ve got on your blogs. I’ve never seen anything like his analysis before, and I have to tell you, it is humbling. Find out if you are notable, impressive or very impressive. Then prepare to curl up in your corners.
Alexandra Rosas of Good Day, Regular People is a writing machine. But her three-part series called Red Flags was something else. And October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Guess what? Every month should be. Start at Part I. You won’t be able to stop.
On a lighter note, I know she said the deadline has passed, but I’ll bet that Jules’ would totally take late entries for her Halloween Hat Contest at Go Jules Go. (If you don’t, I’m gonna win. Or not.)
Tech savvy folks still have time to enter my contest to make me a header. Just do it. You know you want to. Now that I know how to make a watermark, I mean, there is a chance I might figure this shizz out all by myself.
Love was in the air this month and lots of people wrote lots of posts about Valentine’s Day. And chocolate-covered love. And wine-coma love. And 13 things they love most about their lovers. And love is awesome. Don’t get me wrong. These posts are slightly less lovey-dovey.
I find the situation in the Middle East very confusing. Piper Bayard’s partner Holmes has been writing a multi-part piece on Iran that is a must read. There are several parts. Start at the beginning and don’t stop.
It was my 44th birthday yesterday. If you were paying attention, you learned about Scorpios.
I have to say, I don’t feel a day over 20. Seriously. If I lived in the land of anti-reflective surfaces, I am pretty sure that I could believe that I was the same spring chicken I was decades ago. (Stupid mirrors.)
In honor of all Scorpios everywhere, I’m playing head-banging heavy metal from the Scorpions. Guaranteed to wake you up before you go-go. And check out these bloggers because, like the Scorpions, they’ll rock you like a hurricane.
(But not like a real life hurricane because that is no kind of fun. Just a metaphorical hurricane.)
From the English Department
Susie Lindau’s Anger, Fear or Joy? might make writers think about how we treat our loved ones when we are on a writing spree.
Jami Gold asks How Do You Celebrate? when you have finished writing the first draft of a book. Right now, I can only dare to dream that moment, but the idea of this post carries over into other areas. How do you celebrate when you have reached a goal. Do you allow yourself to experience joy? Or do you jump right into the next project?
From the Math Department
From Wild About Math I have Happy 11/11/11 Day! Seriously, I have no idea what this man is talking about. When I listen to him talk, I feel so English Teacher-ishy. And I totally meant to have my class look at the clock at 11:11 on 11/11. Except I forgot. Oh well, there’s always next year on 12/12 at 12:12.
Jenny Hansen interviews Piper Bayard and Kristen Lamb about their 2012 Worldwide Blog Tour Kickoff and their run for President and Vice President in a campaign where everyone — even Canadians and pets — can vote!
To celebrate my 200th post the other day, I told people if they commented, I would create a new post explaining how we met. Of course, I explained, all the content would be a lie. (Especially since I don’t know most of the people who post on my blog.) So here it is: a piece of fiction to include everyone one of you who was brave enough to leave a comment. I hope you enjoy this brief digression, where I veered off-course — away from parenting and education — and went straight to fiction.
I would like to encourage people to click the highlighted names to see the work of any bloggers with whom you might not be familiar. In addition to being my cyber-friends, these people are truly great writers.
• • •
Blackwatertown and I met on a chilly day in Bratislava as we fled hand-in-hand across an icy river. We’d had to spend an uncomfortable night hiding in a chicken coop because we couldn’t find a proper hotel. Covered in feathers and fowl feces, we carefully made our way across the creaky ice. I am forever grateful that he was wiling to share his single mitten.
Betsy W. and I met during our stint at Harvard Medical School at that cool bar where we stayed up late discussing the scaphoid, the lunate and the triquetrium. We bonded over our devotion to the fourteen phalanges.
I met Chrystal at a high-end mattress store in Savannah, Georgia where she insisted I bounce up and down at least 16 times on the Sealy to make sure the Posturepedic was really what I wanted. Of course she was right: the pillow top was too soft.
I met Ricky Anderson in 3rd grade after Chuck E. punched him in the nose on the playground. While the blood poured from his nostrils, I went in search of toilet paper to stop the oozing gush.
SaveSprinkles1234 and I met during the intermission of a really boring orchestra concert. We laughed as we met in the lobby and decided to grab a quick cup of chai and talk about the poor performance. Outside in the chilly air, Sprinkles found a cardboard box filled with abandoned kittens and insisted that she would take them all home and raise them up — and that’s exactly what she did.
Larisa and I met while we worked briefly as U.S. spies in the former Soviet Union. We were crammed inside a tiny airplane, trying to sneak into Tajikistan — under the radar, you might say. I’m probably not supposed to say that we were spies. I’m sorry, Larisa. I hope you are not a spy anymore. If you are, I have just put you into terrible danger.
I met Teri when a lost buzzard accidentally smashed against the front glass windows of her house. The ugly bird was decidedly dead, but Teri made me perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, just to be sure. It was very traumatic for everyone involved. Especially the dead buzzard, as it was early in the morning and I had not yet brushed my teeth.
While going through an odd stage in my life where I wanted to cover everything in platinum, I met E. Rumsey who helped me understand that while platinum is precious, it is not a good idea to try and cover one’s friends in the substance.
I met Amie the same day I met isrbrown. It was a warm spring morning and I had been churning butter at one of those old-fashioned country museums, talking about how everything was better in the good ole days when Amie picked up a brush began painting a fantastic mural on the floor and isrbrown sat down in a rocker and started knitting a cap. We churned and painted and knitted for hours until the good people from the museum brought us proper costumes — pretty dresses with fitted bodices and bonnets for our heads — so as to better fit in. Though we remain bitter that the museum people did not pay us for the work we did that day, we did enjoy playing dress-up.
JM Randolph was wandering around downtown SoHo smoking a cigar when some rogue ashes accidentally caught the sleeve of her shirt on fire. Hearing her screams, I pulled my ’75 Plymouth Volaré to the curb and drove her to the nearest hospital. Alas, JM proved to be extremely non-compliant and began scratching the nurses who were trying to help her. In an act of desperation, the doctors declawed her. Tragically, they removed every fingernail on JM’s right hand which is why she always wears one long white glove.
One day I was out pruning the rose bushes when I decided that I was going to give the most perfect bloom to the first person I saw passing by. And who do you think was the first person to roll by on her bike? Keenie Beanie! Okay, so I might have looked a little funny scary chasing after her with my sharp gardening shears. In fact, now that I think about it, this could help explain why she was pedaling away with so much enthusiasm, but I did eventually catch up to her and ask her if she would accept my rose. She said she would take it. If I promised not to hurt her.
D’alta and MamaSauce got into it in 7th grade. The two best gymnasts in the class, they would not stop arguing over who could make more passes on the balance beam without falling off. They had been carefully walking for over three hours without showing any signs of slowing when Marshall came over from the boys’ side and pushed them off in one fell swoop — and that was the end of that.
Jean, Lisa and I shared a chisel as we tried to escape from after school detention. Looking back at it now, we should have chosen a quieter method.
Kasey went through a science stage where she liked to experiment with different chemicals. One day while I was at her house, she told he to lie down on the couch while she put a cloth over my nose and mouth. A short while later I awoke, slightly disoriented, and asked what had happened. She simply answered: “Well, I guess we know what Chloroform does.”
Deborah the Closet Monsterand I met while working as dishwashers in a fast-food restaurant in 1985. Deb refused to wash dishes and mumbled continuously about “dish-soap mermaids.” Finally, Kathy – the manager — stepped in and told Deb that she needed to pull her weight or she’d be fired. In a single act of defiance, Deb tipped over a bucket of filthy mop-water, destroying Kathy’s pink legwarmers. We all laugh about it now. Right, you two?
One day, I zigged when I should have zagged and I accidentally ended up in the men’s room of a rather swanky restaurant. Thing is, I didn’t realize I was in the men’s room until I came out of the stall and saw someone… you know… standing there. I froze. My feet simply refused to turn back or go forward. Thank goodness Clay was such a good sport about the whole thing. After we washed our hands at the sinks, we left the bathroom together and had a good laugh about it. I never thought I’d ever see him again — but he turned out to be the beekeeper from whom we purchase our fresh honey. Small world, huh?
I met writerwoman61 at a Farmer’s Market while on vacation. She taught me how to select the freshest cucumbers and told me which vendors had the freshest goods. She also told me I should always buy cucumbers in threes. So I do.
At one point, I entered myself in a LEGO building contest to see who could create the best creation. Hundreds of people were there, but Ray Colon stood to my left and Limr stood to my right. We each had 10 minutes to sketch and one hour to build. Limr created an amazing dragon with huge wings. Ray crafted a vehicle that morphed into a really tall tower. I made an emu that carried a jewel of enchantment on his back. We all lost.
Christian Emmett and I met at a rock concert. I can’t remember the name of the band because it was that long ago, but at some point someone started passing around a joint. I could not have been older than 14 years old, but I was terrified. I didn’t want any. I looked at my friends, who were all partaking. I didn’t know what to do. Christian, a complete stranger, saw my fear and simply took the reefer out of my hand and passed it to the person sitting to his immediate right. We played footsies for the rest of the show.
Having just ended a terrible relationship, suchmeagerinsight and I found ourselves alone in Cancun, Mexico. It was a balmy evening when she started eating the entire contents of a large glass container filled with maraschino cherries while lying in her white-netted hammock. What she didn’t realize was that the cherries had been packed in liquor and she got mad-drunk on cherry juice champagne. I spent hours holding my new friend’s hair as she vomited into the toilet. People generally bond over things like that.
Larry Hehn, Becky O’Connor and I met on a Greyhound bus headed north to Massachusetts. Becky planned to see Salem to learn more about the witch trials; Larry wanted to go to Trinity Church, and I wanted to go to Fenway Park to catch a Red Sawx game. Alas, our bus overheated in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and — after waiting 17 hours for another bus to show up in sweltering summer temperatures — we decided to Rent-a-Lemon for $38 and drive the rest of the way together. We never made it. But we had a great time at Busch Gardens Amusement Park in Virgina.
After seeing Bo Derek in the movie 10, I decided to try the whole “corn-row braids thing.” After a few weeks, I realized I’d made a terrible mistake and, as I sat in on a bench the local mall crying my eyes out, Ermigalsat down next to me. I told her how I regretted my decision while she licked her vanilla & chocolate swirl ice cream cone with rainbow sprinkles, and by the time she had finished her frozen treat, she selflessly offered to help me take out each and every bead and braid. It took 4 hours, but she never complained.
Some of you may have heard about how Annie, redheadstepmom and I unintentionally stopped a robbery. Redheadstepmom had an itch on her elbow, so she set her tuba case down on the curb and, as the rapscallion tried to make his getaway on foot, he stumbled over her over-sized instrument. Annie and I heard people screaming, “Stop that thief!” so we tackled the guy, giving the police just enough time to arrive on the scene, arrest the villain, and recover the stolen loot.
Jodi and Faith and I met at a barbecue for some people none of us knew. As we waited for our hot-dogs to grill, we looked at the condiments and had an exhaustive conversation about different types of mustard. Since then, we always exchange Grey Poupon for the holidays.
One winter, Educlaytion and Leanne Shirtliffe were wearing white snowsuits and lying in the snow on a curb outside of Bowness Park just 7.5 miles outside of the city center of Calgary, Canada. The two had been looking at the patterns they saw in the clouds when I tripped and fell over their legs. As I apologized profusely, Leanne laughed hysterically but Clay was all “Whaaat?” We found a nearby coffee shop to defrost and talked about “action verbs” for hours.
I would expect Val Erde to remember that we first spoke at the base of Mount Etna. But the only reason we met there was because I stalked her! I had been told I simply had to make authentic Italian calamari, so when she purchased the last octopus at the fish market and put it on ice in a big cooler, I simply could not let her go. When she stopped for that hot-dog in Sicily, I tried to swap my inexpensive Kappa knock-off tee-shirt for her box-o-seafood. Of course, she caught me red-handed. Nevertheless, she graciously invited me to her beautiful apartment where we promptly burned the octopus and overcooked the pasta.
• • •
Thanks for helping me celebrate my 200th post with some fun fiction!
How’d I do? Let me know if I forgot any details. Or if you missed out on that post, feel free to remind me how we met!
Back in June, Ironic Mom (aka: Leanne Shirtliffe) held a big, exciting contest called “What’s in a Name?” in honor of her 200th post where she discussed how people have butchered, screwed around with, and twisted her name which has kept her entertained for decades.
I have two favorite posts that you simply must read this weekend if you missed them the first time around. Or I won’t be your friend anymore. People like to relax. And there is nothing wrong with that, right?
Paul Johnson caught United States’ President Obama trying to relax in the UK this week. Paul Johnson’s outrageous Scenes from the Special Relationshipfeatures photographs of Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron chillaxing together while playing ping-pong. What? Two major world leaders playing indoor sports doesn’t sound interesting? Trust me, my friends. The Good Greatsby‘s dashing wit and uber-hilarious social and political commentary is worth a click. The comments are faboo, too!
Another piece of deliciousness comes from Leanne Shirtliffe aka: Ironic Mom. For those of you who do not know Leanne, let me introduce her to you briefly. Leanne is a teacher, a proud Canadian, and the mother of the devil’s spawn delightful twins who keep her notebooks filled with ideas for new blog posts. Well, this week, you get a double dose of our girl from Calgary. I challenge you not to laugh out loud when you read When Irony Ruins Your Day. And if your kids are outside relaxing this weekend, playing with their water guns, sipping their aqua-tinis . . . well, later on, just make sure the taps are turned off. Leanne would want you to.
That’s all for now. After you do your required reading, have a great weekend.
Every once in a while, Monkey will do something that really makes me mad.
Like on a really hot day, he’ll spray me with his water gun – but he will forget to mention that he’s filled the barrel with a special concoction of water and the added bonus of blue food coloring (you know, for greater impact). So that’s pretty much the end of that white bikini.
Or he’ll tap things, even though he knows I can’t stand repetitive tapping.
Or he’ll leave his cup sitting on the kitchen counter. (And I don’t mean the cup you drink out of.)
Or he’ll put his jeans in the washer and then transfer them to the dryer…with an entire pack of chewing gum still in the pocket. So that’s pretty much the end of everything in that load.
Some folks are timely with their posts. They write about Christmas on Christmas. Me, not so much.
It has taken me until spring vacation to write about the shenanigans that occurred on April Fool’s Day, when Ironic Mom (Leanne Shirtliffe) and EduClaytion (Clay Morgan) got together and created a hilarious way for bloggers to have a little fun. They call it “Search Bombing” and it involves using Google to type in little things we bloggers know about each other and then intentionally searching for them in an attempt to have them show up on the intended bloggers’ “Most Frequently Searched Terms” lists. And since most bloggers are obsessed with moderately interested about their statistics, it is a fun little way to add a little personalized zing to each other’s pathetic lives spent chained in front of our computer screens.
If you want to know more about Search Bombing, check out this link here. The video kind of explains it all.
The following are terms that I’m pretty sure by which I was intentionally search bombed:
• Lessons in making out with a teacher
• Teachers lessons to dance get me body
• Pictures of hot teacher in Halloween costume
• Giving a cross for a bat mitzvah
• Calgary Calgarah
• The Conclusion for 2011 – kindle and nook almost in a tie
• Pictures of hot girls in graduation hats in space
• I was bullied by my zombie camp counselors
• Teacher fucks puffy coat in elevator
• Did William Golding have any siblings?
Now, people simply have to understand that the post that gets the most views every day is my piece on head lice. Okay, fine. I have an irrational fear about getting head lice. And even thinking about head lice totally freaks me out. That friggin’ post averages 147 hits a day, thus serving as a constant reminder of my neurosis. So I’m not sure I was actually search bombed, but the following are terms that showed up, and they seemed waaaay too detailed and each only registered only one search – which put them on my uber-suspicious list. These searches might have been intentional or not; either way, they are hilarious.
• My kid has head lice. Do I have to do something?
• I was around someone with lice. I use gel and two different hairsprays everyday. Am I ok?
• How do I know it is head lice or just dandruff?
• Has anyone ever tried to blow torch head lice?