Monthly Archives: December 2011

Wake up, AMC. Polar Express is on and you’ve got kids watching!


It’s the last day of the year. A great day to lay around, eat like a pig and be mean to everyone … because the resolutions don’t start until tomorrow, right? And, while I don’t consider my next action to be mean-spirited in the slightest, I thought I’d share with you some of my anger and frustration over a recent experience involving my young daughter, AMC’s airing of The Polar Express and a highly inappropriate advertisement shown during the program. So today, I sent out a little email.

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Dear American Movie Classics (AMC),

I want to thank you for continuing to air so many of the holiday classics I enjoy with my kids each year. I cherish sharing this annual tradition with them and getting to see the newer movies as well as introducing them to some of the older ones from my generation.

This year, my family celebrated Christmas over the course of two days, the 25th and 26th. As with many families, it’s the only way we can fit everyone and everything in during this crazy season. So, by the time we returned home from our two-day affair, we were all completely exhausted and just looking to relax in front of the television. My husband and son opted for football in the den while my daughter and I snuggled into my bed to watch Polar Express on AMC. She absolutely loves that movie and often brings in all of her stuffed animals to join in the fun whenever we tune in.

It was the perfect closing to our Christmas celebration and very special for both us … until one of your commercial breaks. Can you give me any reason to explain why your advertising department would have elected to place the following commercial during this classic children’s Christmas special???

I spent the rest of the commercial break trying to explain to my young daughter why this ‘back massager’ was just for women. And … I’m just wondering … who was asleep at the wheel when the ad schedule was drawn up? And … is he or she still employed with AMC?

Please respond with an explanation at your earliest convenience. I’m just dying to learn how this could have happened.

Sincerely,

Blah – Blah – Blah

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I’ll let you know when and if I hear back from the good people at AMC. Oh, and ….

Happy New Year! Be safe tonight!

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Happy New Year! And while I’m on my letter writing campaign …


(1) Dear Body Shop Boutique ... Please reconfigure your store’s holiday displays into a much roomier, customer-friendly arrangement. Sorry I took out your entire Cranberry Joy Collection with my purse, but let’s consider the fact that I’m a 5’4″, 115-lb. (well, before Christmas anyway) small woman. The average male customer perusing your wares would’ve taken out a whole aisle.

(2) Dear Ice Cream Counter at the Mall ... Do you really think having a cake display on your counter called “Better than Sex” directly behind Santa’s village where every freakin’ kid stops for eggnog ice cream is a good idea? Because I don’t. And I promise I’m snagging the sign from your business next year.

(3) Dear Photo Processing Supplies Company … Can you please change whatever chemical you use on the surface of all photographic prints (specifically from Walgreen’s) to something less delicious to my cat? Every year, I spend entirely too much time strategizing my Christmas card display to ensure that all the low-hanging cards are free of photographs, so that they are not licked and bitten beyond recognition.

(4) Dear Tinsel Manufacturing Company … I am also suggesting that you, like the photo processing supplies company, change your product’s “recipe.” We had to give up on you years ago as Christmas tree tinsel is apparently a delicacy in the feline community. Our previous (diabetic) cat, Toby, always managed to sneak his share of tinsel from the tree which never much worried us until, one day, we saw him running wildly around the house being chased, it would appear, by his own feces. As it turned out, the tinsel had passed all the way through his system. One end stayed in him while the other lodged itself into his ball of waste. True story. Which I just took the time to write about and, worse, you just took the time to read.

(5) Dear Specialty Toy Stores … If you’re going to have adult games available on your shelves, please create a special section … if not a back room … for these items. My kids spent the entire afternoon cutting up about them (and, I think, quoting the boxes on a few hushed occasions). We had to leave your store so fast that we didn’t buy anything anyway. And I promise I would have. Every other damned store at the mall got some of my money that day.

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(6) Dear Santa … Apparently, one of us should’ve gotten gifts for the caterpillar/butterfly habitat my daughter keeps on our porch these days. Way to drop the ball, jolly man. Said my girl, “Bubba Chubba and Kevin are sad that we forgot them.” (Yes, those are real names. One of them definitely lost the name lottery. I won’t say who.)

(7) To My Children’s Preschool Teachers of Yesteryear ... Thank you for introducing my kids and I to the art of reindeer food creation. I have come to love the annual tradition of making food to leave out for Santa’s fleet. The only recurring ingredient each year is raw oatmeal. Everything else is whatever I’ve got lots of … and am looking to get rid of … in the house. This year’s menu included some old parsley flakes and paprika as well as blue and pink face glitter (“to catch the light and help the reindeer find the food”) left over from my girl’s school play. It is the best way I’ve found to clean out my pantry and spice cabinet in years. Hmmm, I wonder if I could feed them stuffed animal spare parts next year. Those nappy little critters are taking over this house.

(8) Dear Manufacturer of the Shirt I wore on Christmas Eve … Please improve the quality of your zippers. When I tried the shirt on in the morning to select my evening attire, the zipper locked up on me, trapping me inside for the entirety of the day. And dressy black shirts do not really complement the sweat pants and unshowered mess that was the rest of me for all of my last minute holiday errands throughout the day.

(9) Dear Drugstore located Two Minutes from My House … You lost my business on Christmas Eve because of the annual “rock” concert you hold in your store each year. I know I sound like a Scrooge, but I needed to get in and out of your store in a hurry but everything was entirely too packed for me to even consider stopping in. So, the next closest drugstore got my business. And I spent $163.53. Just so you know.

(10) Dear Sanitation Department and Letter Carrier … Do you really care about political correctness on my girl’s homemade greeting cards to you each year? She seems to struggle to fit these lengthy titles in her festive holiday designs. Would ‘garbage men’ and ‘postman’ be acceptable next year? Also, did you like the candy canes/cookies?

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(11) Dear Lady Next to Me at Church on Christmas Eve … Fishnet stockings?

(12) Dear Me … Remember that your kids are always listening … and somehow, apparently, reading. Which is why, when your boy asked about the mysterious gift tag on his dad’s present that read ‘To Dave, From ODNT, your girl said … without hesitation … “That stands for Old Dog New Tits.”  You, dumb ass, now get the joy of explaining to her what ‘tits’ means and why she can’t use the word anymore. And then, you get to deal with what will undoubtedly be her implicit disapproval.

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Her new roller skates + My physical therapy = An exciting new career opportunity for my girl


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That’s my girl … demonstrating her latest and greatest form of awesomeness in her new skates from Santa.

And I’m the one-mom paparazzi following behind her as we circled the block again … and again … and again. Am I disproportionately proud of this pathetic feat of athleticism on my part? Well, yeah. I kind of am. It’s not Ironman, but you’ve got to start somewhere with this post-surgical rehab stuff, right?

Plus, we’ve got to hone our skating abilities to cement her future with the Big Easy Roller Girls. Maybe one day we’ll get to see her compete in New Orleans’ own ‘Running of the Bulls.’

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What? A mom can’t dream?

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Think the Food Network would consider producing a show hosted by ODNT?


Pay attention, my friends ...

… because this may well be the first and last blog entry you ever read from me offering recipes and help in the kitchen. Maybe it’s all the health craziness and anxiety I’ve been through the last month. Who friggin’ knows? But, for whatever reason, I felt inexplicably compelled … both after Thanksgiving and after Christmas … to create something really delicious and rib-sticking … from scratch … for my family.

And thus was born the opportunity for me to test drive the following two recipes, both of which had the word ‘carcass’ in their names. (That’s always a plus in cooking, right?)

After Thanksgiving, I made Turkey Carcass Soup. It involved a multitude of ingredients (nearly all of which needed to be purchased) as well as lots of chopping and dismembering of an Avian skeleton.  And, bear in mind, I am neither Julia Child nor Julie Powell, making aspics with calves’ feet and cleaving through marrow bones like lumber.  Still, if I had to single out the hardest part of this recipe, it was absolutely locating uncooked barley at the grocery store. It took three employees to find it for me … considering that the first two didn’t even know what it was.

After Christmas, I made Turkey Carcass Gumbo. That was today.  And it took me five hours. I even had to make a roux, which  was no small task and (shaming my name as a native New Orleanian) was a first-time effort. But I did it. And I’ve heard nothing but good reviews from five tasters so far. Pretty good for the short order, Hot-Pockets-are-my-Specialty cook who needs repeated lessons in simple rice making. (Right, Ashley?)

For both recipes, I used a carcass from a fried turkey. Yeah, I know that’s kind of cheating … in that there’s so much fatty, salty, seasoned goodness already seared into those bones. But, hey, these were the birds with which I had to work. So, don’t besmirch me the good fortune to have dined well for the holidays in the first place.

Oh, and while I’m at it, I should probably also share the gingerbread recipe I used this season. All of my children’s teachers got a little care package before they left for the holidays.

Every one of my close friends is reading this post with their mouths hanging open right now. Either wondering why I’ve been holding out on them for so long … or what past Shirley MacLaine-ian life has taken over my body in the last month. (MotherMeetsTheRoad, eat your heart out!)

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No, it’s not Milo … but wouldn’t that have been hilarious?

Anyway, I promise I’m fine. I’m just having some fun and making a mess with my kids in the kitchen. So, it’s actually a good time to stop by for a visit. There’s always something good in my fridge these days. And who knows how long my wild cooking spree will last?

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Turns out a full bladder is not as useful as a full gas tank


Ever panic ’cause you realize your gas light is on and you’re not sure how close you are to the nearest gas station? What if your gas light came on right after you passed through the toll booth to a long bridge connecting two cities over a lake?

That happened to me tonight.

My girl is spending the night out at an old friend’s house. Originally, the friend was coming to our house but the plans got reversed this afternoon. So, we packed up all of the necessary clothes, elf hats, costume jewelry, stuffed hamsters and other paraphernalia and set off on the 31.3 mile voyage from our doorstep to her friend’s house. It was a beautiful day and, aside from the fact that I was quite tired, we got there in no time at all. Playing the Game of Life app on her iPod all the way over.

It was nice catching up with her friend’s family. Her mom and I don’t get to see each other much since they’ve moved to this new house. And, after a good bit of chit chat, I could tell that my daughter was ready to see me off and begin her “real” sleepover. So, I left …. fortunately feeling much less sleepy at the wheel than I had on the way over … but still craving a jolt of caffeine. I wound up grabbing a Diet Coke and a little fast food sludge to munch on in the car on the way home. I knew the Diet Coke would make quick work of my diminutive bladder. And I deduced that a full bladder would serve as my alertness stimulant for the ride home. Which actually worked.

If only I had also considered filling my gas tank before getting onto the lengthy causeway. The second I pulled on to this now darkened, sparsely populated bridge, the yellow gas light popped on. It mocked me and made me feel like a fool in my complete and utter dependence upon it. As, clearly without it, I would drive until my tank was filled with cobwebs and sand.

So, I picked up my cell and called Dave to warn him of my potential quandary.

Me: How long is the Causeway Bridge?

Dave: I don’t know. Why?

Me: Because just as I was getting on it, my gas light came on.

Dave: What? How did that happen?

Me: I don’t know. I’m not usually in situations where I’m more than 20 miles from a gas station at any given time. … Isn’t it 22 miles long? The Causeway, I mean. If so, I’m good. There’s a gas station practically on the off ramp.

Dave: Actually, I think it’s 24 point something miles.

Me: Well, then I’m screwed. My gas range said 24 miles of gas was left in my tank right when I pulled on. … I’m going to keep thinking it’s 22.

Dave: If you really get into a situation, just pull over to the side, put on your hazards and call me.

Me: There’s only two lanes of traffic and no shoulder on this suspension bridge.

Dave: It’s not a suspension bridge.

Me: (pause) Oh, my God. I know what a suspension bridge is. I don’t know why I said that. Just cross your fingers for me. It’s gonna be close.

When I pulled off the bridge, there were two gas stations waiting for me at the exit. The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway (a Guinness Record Book holder for longest continuous bridge over water) is 23.83 miles long, by the way.

So, I had .17 miles to spare. Point-one-seven. I don’t know what everyone was so worried about.

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Our family just got a little bigger, meaner and more fashionable


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We’ve got Stavros, Pavlina, Bianca and a different blonde Barbie than we met in our original mean girl Barbie post. When we were cruising websites for Christmas gift ideas, my girl took one look at Tiffany, our frizzy-haired friend from the first post, and said, “Uuuuck. No way. She is UUUUG-LY!” So, she chose a different blonde Barbie for her Christmas list. And one who I think looks a lot like a Giselle.

And the first thing I noticed is that Barbie footwear has seen major technological innovation since I was a kid. Back then, we loved the beautiful shoes, every one of them six-inch stilettos, but we knew there’d never be with us for long. They slipped on and off with the ease of a slip-on house shoe. We hated losing them but we accepted that it was just a matter of time ’til one was gone, rendering its mate completely useless. And, after a while, you gave up on shoes altogether and your doll just became a Julia Roberts-esque hippie chic woman who wore everything from cruise wear to evening gowns with no shoes at all.

Until now!

In 2011, the shoes click on. Did you hear me? They click on. And actually sort of lock in place. I mean, it’s not Fort Knox, but I’d say it could cut the propensity for loss by 50 percent. That’s huge! Huge, I tell you! And, if that’s not enough, this new shoe ‘technology’ is a plus for the cat, too. There’s a greatly reduced chance that any of these pointy little shoes will be navigating themselves through this colon any time soon. And his good news is everyone’s good news.

(Two quick side notes: (A) Only some of the Barbie models have this new shoe-locking technology. Why? How should I know? Nepotism? Blackmail? Or some other inappropriate behavior that I don’t even want to think about between Barbie and her wardrobe designers. AND (B) I wonder if we’ve lost all the male readers at this point.)

Sadly though, my girl didn’t like any of my names for the crew. She said, “Stavros is ridiculous. That’s not even a name.” I tried to explain that he was a Greek exchange student working at the Gap until he made enough money for head shots and a one-way ticket to New York. Because his dream was to come to America and pursue a male modeling career. But she just rolled her eyes and said “No, Mommy.”

I think I love my girl’s new friends as much as she does. She has her names for them. And I have mine. From left to right … my names, then hers.

Pavlina – Stephanie
Stavros – Andre
Bianca – Bridget
Giselle – Lexie

So, we’ve now cleared off the built-in desk in her room and transformed it into Barbie Central. The dining set she got from my sister-in-law is featured prominently in the middle of the ‘house.’ I cracked up when I took a good look at the assembled box this morning.

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“Oh, no. Ken is late!” ??? … Girl, you are a gorgeous woman who nails every profession she tries. Dump his ass, throw something on from your Fashionistas World Tour Collection and go for a spin in your Corvette.

I see hours and hours of Barbie play in my future. I think she even asked her dad to join in the fun tomorrow. That should put an interesting spin on things. Plus, I’m totally going to make him be Stavros. And speak with a Greek accent. My girl wants him to have a French accent. We’ll see …

Oh, and in the style of television programming from my youth, I’ve included a few outtakes of tonight’s Barbie photo session at the end of this post. It was very important to the cat (Milo) to be a part of this activity. It may well be the best part of today’s entry.

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Wishing you all the best from all the hardworking people here at ODNT


It’s Christmas morning and I’m thankful to have much more to do today than sit at my stupid computer. I just wanted to give you all my best and leave you with two of my favorite Christmas videos. (Had I chosen to post three favorites, you’d also be watching Schweddy Balls right now.)

Here’s the original. My mom got me hooked on Bing Crosby when I was still just a baby. David Bowie, I fell in love with on my own.

And here’s the remake. These guys mimicked every little detail, down to the very end, where they stray … just a little. Enjoy.

Happy Holidays from ODNT!

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