Toothpaste and Poop: The New Art Media

The easel helped a lot with the “surprise art” I would find around the house. It obviously hasn’t stopped completely. This was so sweet-she was absolved of all wrong doing that day, for at least a few minutes.

As I sat upon the throne in the bathroom today, I noticed that someone had put toothpaste on the full length mirror.  This isn’t unusual to find toothpaste on a surface in our bathroom.  There have been times when I have walked in to find EVERY surface of the bathroom covered in toothpaste-mirror, walls, bathtub, toilet, counters, floor.  Toothpaste as far as the eye can see.  I don’t know why they do it.  They just would rather wipe excess toothpaste anywhere but a towel.

What was different today was the toothpaste was not only covering the mirror, it had been used to draw a picture.  I knew who did it.  Princess Artiste was so busted!  I asked her about it, and she owned up to it.  Though it’s easy to tell-if it’s a mess with an artistic flair there is no doubt who was the culprit. We’ve known for a long time who the artist in the family is.   I sent her up to clean it up.  Then I called The Professor in to go up and clean up his toothpaste mess.  His was the blobby mess that had no artsy look to it, on and next to his drawer in the bathroom.  There might have been some sort of mathematical coefficient involved, but we won’t get into that.  I just threw that in here in case my husband actually reads this.

He has also confessed that he hangs out in the bathroom sometimes and “drinks the toothpaste” (my son, not my husband).  He’s a weird kid.

As a parent you deal with your share of messes, especially when you are ADD and it takes you a while to realize that “Oh, that’s not good, I should probably clean that up.”  And then forget for another few days.  It all depends on where the mess is, what it is, and sometimes it takes awhile to be discovered.  Like the abstract poop picture on the back of the shower room door (It was down very low).  Once that one was discovered after who knows how long, it was cleaned up quickly (this happened during the fun fun period where they are potty trained peeing but not yet pooping).  We’ve also had lovely artwork done on the table with pasta sauce, milk, frosting, glue, etc.  The hardened cheerios decoupage is my favorite, and it’s virtually indestructable.  Once those Cheerios revert back to their solid form after being soggy in milk they could very well be used as armor, except for the fact that you’d have holes in it.  Maybe it lets the surface breathe?

And there is the traditional media of pen and marker, which has found itself upon many surfaces in our house, including both my children’s bodies.  The Professor has always had a hard time keeping markers off of himself accidentally, his sister just decorates herself on purpose.  When Princess Artiste was pretty little she somehow got a hold of some of my scrapbook paper and a pen, and went crazy with drawing on it.  I was livid.  My mother insisted I keep it and use it to make a scrapbook page.  I did, and it actually turned out to be one of my more creative pages.  It helped that if you looked at her “drawing” just right, it looked like a face sticking its tongue out at me.

Oh yes, and we must not forget that she painted the dog. I’m really regretting the fact that I didn’t grab the camera on that one.  As far as most of the other messes, I don’t have evidence of them either since I didn’t see the artistic value in those, especially the poop one.  I did, however, take pictures of my daughter when she helped paint the hallway white.  SHE was also white, from her head to her toes.

In addition to the above, we have had lots of experience with anything that cuts.  Both kids have managed to cut things they should not.  The Professor attempted to decimate a scrapbook page of mine that was already in the scrapbook when he was pretty little.  Ironically, his cutting skills haven’t much improved since then.  Princess Artiste has got a hold of not only scissors, but my scrapbook paper cutter which she used to cut up her brother’s class picture.  She’s in support of the movement for smaller classes, apparently.

The Professor just isn’t big on art, unless it has a purpose.  If he has drawn something it is something that he has designed, like a car or a superhero suit.  I have a lot of their art framed in the hallway upstairs, and had to beg him to draw me something so that his sister’s artwork wouldn’t totally take over the space.  He finally did, in his own way.  He drew our house, and the school bus he rides every day.  He refused to color it in.  There it hangs among the other artwork-it is definitely one of his pictures.  Princess Artiste draws/paints/colors pictures for me every day.  At one point our refrigerator was so covered with her artwork it was hard to tell there was an appliance in there.  I didn’t put them there, she would dash to the kitchen as soon as she would complete a picture and put it on there.  She was very put out with me when we ran out of magnets!

Kids are funny.  Just when I think they are out of the coloring on the walls phase, or the cutting things they shouldn’t cut phase, they do something that totally paints me as a liar.  I’m happy that my daughter likes to do art, and that my son likes to design stuff (and with all of the art that she comes up with, it’s probably a good thing he’s not a prolific artist!)  When they do things they shouldn’t, I have to sit back and laugh after I’ve taken time to dole out the punishment.  And be thankful that I have creative kids-except for the poop.  Poop and creativity simply do not mix.

Here is another non-poop picture drawn of me by Princess Artiste. I’m not sure what is coming out of my armpit…

Learning to Embrace Geekdom

I am a geek.

Harry Anderson of “Night Court” fame once told of the origin of the word geek.  He said it was what they called the circus performer who bit the heads off of chickens.

Today’s version of a geek is much more friendly.  The “I Geek…” program that has been so well promoted has really helped with that.  Geek more refers to something that you have a keen interest in.  I also think the show “Big Bang Theory” has a lot to do with it.  I love that show.  Geeks trying to relate to people who aren’t.  It’s kind of like my life.  It’s almost cool to be a geek these days, depending on what kind of geek you are.

Being a geek is now cool!

I am a geek on several levels.

The version that most people know me as is the band geek.  The music geek.  I was in marching band and LOVED it.  Symphonic Band, Orchestra, Pep Band.  My life in high school revolved around instrumental music.  I had a hard time understanding that other people didn’t enjoy it like I did, like my high school boyfriend (he quit band-he rolled his eyes when I talked about it.  No wonder we broke up.)  I was good at it because I worked hard-it didn’t come naturally for me.  I was so jealous of my friends that were naturally so good they got to do things like All-State Band and the State Fair Band.  In college I was in those things and then expanded into vocal music.  I played in the municipal band and the regional symphony.  For a while I was a music teacher.  Now I’m now.  That’s another post.

You know I never actually got to go to band camp?

Then there are the other layers of geek.  I like movies.  I like some TV.  I love Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Superheroes.  The original Star Wars movies are still some of my all time favorites-there was a time when I could recite “The Empire Strikes Back” word for word.  My son has all the action figures that I had as a child (sorry collectors, they are not still in the boxes).  I get excited when there I find “Star Trek:  TNG” on TV.  I went to “Star Trek:  Nemesis” on opening night.  When I went to the new Star Trek movie, I almost cried when it was over because I never wanted it to end.  I waited in almost painful anticipation for the Avengers movie to be released. Harry Potter was magical to me-I saw the movies wishing that there had been such a thing when I was a kid.

I’ve just been waiting for an excuse to use this…

I have not read “50 Shades of Gray”, though I did check out an excerpt online because I wanted to know what the hell everyone was talking about (It’s PORN!  I’m sorry, that is porn.)  I have however read most of Robert Heinlein’s vast collection.  Alan Dean Foster, JR Tolkien, Brian Daley, Isaac Asimov, those are all very familiar names to me.  I used to read a book a day.  I was a little bookworm as a child.  I am trying very hard to get back to reading something that isn’t a magazine article these days-but when you have kids it’s hard!

But not all the geeks like the same stuff.  For the record, I’ve seen a little of Dr Who, but never got into it.  Never seen Babylon 5.  Saw the Stargate movie-never seen the show.  Watched some of Battlestar Galactica, but kept forgetting it was on (if it wasn’t for my DVR, I probably wouldn’t know when anything was on.  Again, another post).  Watched Smallville for a spell, then lost interest.  I don’t get into the whole Twilight/Vampire thing-though I have really enjoyed Being Human on the Sci-Fi channel.  Oh I’m sorry, it’s Sy-Fy.  Never quite understood why they changed the spelling-just how stupid do they think people are?

When we moved back to the Midwest after years of being a military family I started to get embarrassed about the things I liked.  For years I pretended that I had no interest in the stuff.  Mainly because I liked guys and I wanted one to like me back.  Thank goodness I finally met my husband.  I married him because I could be myself around him, and he likes the same stuff I do-movies, sci-fi, books, music, etc. We often speak in TV or movie quotes at home.  Let’s face it, he’s the Band Geek who never joined the band (I love the American Pie movies, and there is a good reason why).  Yes I am in a Geek Marriage.  But that’s ok.

He is a geek in more ways than I.  For example, he is a science geek.  He took Quantum Physics FOR FUN.  He also loves video games.  He plays World of Warcraft and City of Heroes.  We have every older video gaming system they made, including an Atari and a 3DO.  I think he salivates whenever we pass a Gamestop.  And he loves Comic Books-he takes my kids to the comic book store for fun.  He is currently designing metal signs for people’s cubicles at work based up their interests.  When his is complete, the world will stop and take notice.  That’s because it’s the Iron Man face, complete with a replica of an arc reactor that lights up.  He wants to be able to take it out and wear it.  I’m glad they embrace his weirdness at work… I tease him about it, but I love it.

I’m so glad he has found his niche.  His love of sports (mainly football-once again, that’s another post) is something that is very relatable to others. Outside of our family it’s hard for me to relate to other people that like the same things I do.  I guess because I’m a girl.  I’m still seen as the odd girl.  Quiet until you get to know me, developing the social anxiety hasn’t helped!  I remember vividly a few years ago when I was working with kids in a local after school program.  My boss told an entire room of people right in front of me how I’m kind of odd, and that was good because I could relate to the weird kids.  I wasn’t sure whether to be embarrassed or proud at that moment.

My husband has never been embarrassed of his interests.  He proudly lets people know what he likes.  He wears Star Wars and Star Trek t-shirts.  He lends out the movies he really likes to people who haven’t been exposed to the stuff.  I’m still embarrassed to show up the book that I’m currently reading in public-it’s the very first book ever written based upon “Star Trek:  TNG”.

Part of my goal now that I have more time to devote to being myself is getting to the point that I’m ok with being me.  Learning to embrace Geekdom, and learning about what is actually interesting about me being, well ME.  Developing the part that counts, the part on the inside, and stop worrying so darn much about what other people think!  So if you are offended that I am, well, such a GEEK, then stop reading my blog!!!

Not everyone is as fortunate as I am to have found a partner in Geekdom as I have.  Oh boy, my kids are DOOMED!  Again, that’s another post…

The Fair… Fair or Unfair?

We’ve had a lot going on in our little world the last couple of weeks.  I probably have enough blog material to keep me busy for quite some time.  We all survived my husband’s first overnight business trip.  We went to the Science Center.  My son started second grade.  The dog is still alive (for now).  My husband downloaded a really cool game that you can play online for free.

The big thing in our neck of the woods this time of year is fair time.  The previous month is when the different counties have their own county fairs.  Then in August, we have the state fair.  This will be the first time that we have actually gone consecutive years to the event.  Last year just the adults went, and even got to camp overnight.  This year we took the kids.

If you have never in your life attended a State Fair in the Midwest, there are some things you need to know:

1)  There is no dieting at Fair Time.  There is nothing healthy at the fair.  Except maybe salad on a stick.  Everything else is fried.  They have everything from fried oreos to fried vegetables to fried butter.  Yes, fried butter.

2)  Everything is on a stick.  Everything.  See Post #1.  Except for maybe this:

3)  You must amass a small fortune to be able to attend.  It costs to park.  It costs to get in.  It REALLY costs to eat all that stuff on a stick.  I’m sure if we give it a couple of years, they’ll figure out how to charge to breathe the air there.

4)  Your kids will hate you because you won’t let them do every single thing they want to do unless you have that fortune referred to in #3, because you won’t be able to afford it.

5)  You will walk the equivalent of a half marathon. I’m not kidding.  You make up for this by ingesting a week’s worth of calories, however.

That being said, we pooled our resources to be able to go to the fair-I mean afford stuff at the fair.  My husband’s work actually reimburses for the tickets-which was why we decided to go.  We saved half of our money that we made from putting the stuff none of us can actually fit into anymore into my parent’s annual rummage sale.  We took cans back-never before did I realize just how much you can fit into a Nissan Altima with two children and their car seats.  We tried really really really hard to NOT spend money beforehand.  I researched to find all the best deals.  We packed water bottles.  Then my husband took over and we ended up abandoning all my great creative cost cutting ideas.

I started off the morning trying to put myself into a diabetic coma.  Pop tarts for breakfast.  Mmmmm.  I must have been figuring that if I actually went into a coma that we wouldn’t go spend all that money at the fair.  We actually got out of the house on time-that NEVER happens.  My husband disagreed with my idea to go park for free and take the shuttle bus for $1 each.  We instead paid the $10 for parking.

I had two goals while I was at the fair:  get some free stuff and buy another tie-dyed t-shirt.  There is a lady who does beautiful tie-dye at the fair each year.  Last year I finally bought a long-sleeved shirt from her after admiring them for years and years.  I know that I could do my own tie-dye.  As a matter of fact, I have an overflowing box of white clothing  all ready to go for everyone in the family along with three different tie-dye kits.  I can’t find the package of soda ash.  Apparently that is really really important or your tie-dying will mutate.  So instead I resort to purchasing my tie-dyed items.  I really need to find a place that sells soda ash.

I got my t-shirt.  I didn’t get anything for free.  I even went to the wine tent-I swear the wine samples were free.  No.  They were $1.  I guess that’s close to free.  It was actually the cheapest thing we found all day-$1 for a thimble sized amount of wine.

We also ate some food.  Lunch was an entree apiece.  My son and I had a corn dog.  My daughter had a hot dog on a stick.  This alone cost us almost as much as the three of us eating at McDonalds, which by the way was there too-apparently no place in the world is safe from McDonalds.  We drank water from our water bottles instead of actually buying something to drink. Supposedly there were to be places to refill your reusable water bottles, but I think they lied to us.  Later on we had ice cream.  It was really good ice cream-I surmise it must be made from gold considering the price.  We got a human sized bag of kettle corn on the way out.  At least my kids will have something for snacks for a few days.

My daughter wanted to go on every thrilling ride she saw.  My husband and I get sick on rides, and she is four so that just wasn’t going to happen.  She begged to go on everything from the double ferris wheel to the ride that is a giant cylinder that spins around-I have no idea what it’s called but someone always pukes on it.  We settled for “Ye Olde Mill”.  This is a ride that is little boats that go through what looks like an old saw mill that advertises everything you can pay money to eat at the fair inside.  It’s nice and cool and very dark in there.  It’s also fairly quiet except for my daughter shrieking in delight the whole way. We managed to convince her that this was as thrilling as it gets.  I’m glad she’s still young enough to believe it.

My son spent a good amount of time counting how many things were in other things-we saw an end table in the art building that was glass and filled with golf balls.  Kind of like those guessing things in grade school.  No wonder he was trying to figure it out, he thought there was a prize.  Then there was The Drowning Machine.  Yes you saw that right.  There was actually a display about how you can get sucked under by current when you’re boating.  Oh he couldn’t get away from it.  He must have asked the people there a hundred questions.  We had to basically pick him up and carry him away from it.  I feel sorry for whomever is his swim instructor next summer.

We did have fun.  The kids saw a lot of different animals-both your traditional farm animals and some more exotic ones at the petting zoo.  They got to milk a fake cow.  They both got to make spin art.  I took lots of pictures-which is important to me as a scrapbooker.  And we got to see a life sized moose carved out of chocolate.  To hell with the famous butter cow, this is my dream.  I was hauled away before I could jump over the rope and take a bite.

I was surprised to find that I still had money in my purse.  It turns out that was because my husband didn’t eat a thing while we were there.  Last year when the two of us went he got in a lot of trouble for getting a beer.  Not just any beer, a beer that cost $11.  Every time the subject of the fair comes up, I have to point out the $11 beer.  So he refrained from consuming anything.  Wow, he must really love me.  To help keep him from succumbing to hunger, we stopped on the way home and picked up a gourmet meal of Jack’s pizzas.

All in all a good day.  We were exhausted from all the walking but glad we went.

This morning my son got out of bed and remarked “Hey Mom I remember when we went to the Iowa State Fair.”  “Yes honey I hope so,” I replied, “That was yesterday”.