Dana: June 2006 Archives

Bureaucratic vigilantism


You may remember the Consumer Vigilantism. So whilst in D.C. and Baltimore we decided to enact the next installment in what is becoming a very weird photo series: Vigilantism. We convinced Dave and Bonnie to join us, as seen below, and we scared lots of people. Beware, the dorkiness may be catching.

THIS is what I think of your high gas prices.


Karate-chopping through the flimsy, striped wooden gate of pork barrel spending.

Dave and Bonnie deliver sharp hooks.


Clicky for the whole series.

Ewan's dialogue is growing at a terrifying pace. He utters each new word he learns with a beginner's hesitancy but when he's familiarized himself with the term he starts repeating it like a drill sergeant. Unfortunately, many of the words flying from his mouth are embarrassing, horribly mangled versions of their former selves as Ewan takes as much delight in bastardizing the English language as Nana does.

An example of Ewan dialogue:

"Ah woont COCKIT MOOK. COCKIT MOOK NOW. Peeeeeaaas? Peas? Pee-peas? Cockit Mook? COCKIT MOOK! MAMA! NOW!"


"I want CHOCLATE MILK. CHOCOLATE MILK NOW. Pleeeease? Please? Pretty please? Chocolate milk? CHOCOLATE MILK! MAMA! NOW!"

Yesterday Nana confided that Ewan was pointing to her clock on the wall and asked what it was.

"A clock," she told him.

You can guess what that came out sounding like.

Now they might cure my PMS


During college I interned at Clear Channel, or what snooty indie rockers refer to as Papa Satan. I was a gopher, assistant Xerox goddess, secretary, and designate merch girl wherein I got paid to go to a lot of really cool shows, sit behind a booth, and push shirts and CDs. I also set up a tip jar, though accepted free beer in lieu of tips. I've always loved music. The guy I dated before Chris was a psycho who once stalked me and a three-year-old Liam through a shoe store and peered at us between the shelves. He encouraged me to buy my first guitar, a modestly pink Fender Stratocaster, so we could jam together. I learned quickly and kept it as a hobby long after we split, only to have it find refuge at Chris's studio. It has a gorgeously warm tone which distracts from its color.

I never had any interest to play music anywhere except in the privacy of my own home for my children, though I consider myself music obsessed. I grew up around it as a kid in my grandparents' tavern where they hosted traveling rock bands; around friends; my first concert was to see Al Green at the Fox when I was 16 because I was an eccentric teen who truly liked the Rev.
We own crates, and crates, and crates of CDs, some our favorite artists being U2, the Cure, the Cult, Susan Tedeschi, Johnny Cash, the ensembles from the "O Brother Where Art Thou" soundtrack, Nine Inch Nails, Metallica (pre-"Garage, Inc."), the Sex Pistols, Black Flag, the English Beat, Simple Minds, Queen, etc. We have too many favorites.

Chris' job is a bonus because I get to hear new artists and established artists and taste where music is heading. I would describe my own musical predilection as leaning to blues-based rock and industrial. Not every client Chris and Doug work with fits this vein, and while I normally consider his work nothing more than his work and leave it at that, I've been practically eating the songs by two of their latest clients, Full Day Affair and One Lone Car. To put it simply: If I weren't a loyal, happily married woman, I WOULD STALK THEM.
I've been listening to Full Day Affair non-stop for the past three weeks - the guys featured on the giant skyscraper ad to your left. Remember when I was all stressed and talking about the stress and you were probably all STOP TALKING ABOUT THE STRESS ALREADY? One morning as I was experiencing The Worst of It, I put Full Day Affair onto my ipod and their music - it's like Sunday rock - soothed my nerves and I completely chilled out. It's smart rock; it's a great disc with which to enjoy the afternoon - open your windows, your front door, sit on your porch with some friends and a bottle of pinot grigio.

The big, full-color ad means that their CD is finished and stocked in the studio's new online store; the store will soon feature titles by other Shock City artists. The coordination of all of this is one of the stress factors we've struggled with the past week. All of these CDs are just waiting for new homes! Won't you love one?

Man skills


This is the first summer in four years that we haven't had our own vegetable garden. We've been all but ostracized from our two crunchy granola friends who would prefer to starve if faced with the option of not eating something grown organically from their garden.
We chose not to put in a garden this year because it's virtually impossible to do so while policing Ewan, who thinks it's a SUPER COOL FUN game to freak me out by picking up bugs and bringing them to his mouth. I'm too neurotic about it at this point to call his bluff. He loves when I screech and lunge towards him. We also didn't put a garden in because I've fine-tuned a schedule that combines my work and raising children and tending to a full garden wouldn't fit this year. Plus, we'd be behind and I'm competitive and this wouldn't work. Our neighbor's garden is situated in close proximity to our own and I spent most of last summer playing an unspoken game with her. I tried lasagna gardening; afterwards, she did, too. Everything I put in the garden (tomato cages, rabbit fence, etc. MY GAWD I SOUND LIKE A FARMER) she did too, literally days after me. One early morning I watched from my bathroom window as she lumbered over to the edge of my garden, a cigarette hanging from her bottom lip, to eye its progress.

"I grew mine from seed," she smugly said to me one afternoon as I returned from the market with a tray of plants.

"Cool," I said and in my head I added "Do you want a cookie?"

I was concerned about the amount of shade the garden was receiving; her garden enjoyed full sun most of the day while two trees blocked most of my garden's light in the late afternoon.

"I'll just cut those trees down," Chris offered.

"Okay, call your dad," I replied.

"My dad? Heh, I'm a grown man I THINK I KNOW HOW TO CUT DOWN A TREE."
Apparently, tree-cutting is another Man Skill that men acquire in their youth, along with fixing cars, killing bugs, taking out the trash, and leaving their dirty socks all over the bedroom floor.

When Chris told me that he would take care of it I felt immediate fear. He called his dad and asked to borrow the chainsaw. His dad told him that he would help but NO. CHRIS THOUGHT HE KNEW HOW TO CUT DOWN A TREE.

Liam (who was two at the time), myself and our video camera crowded in front of our bedroom window to watch daddy kill himself. Chris stood at the base of one tree, chainsaw in hand, and looked up to the top. That's when I knew he was in over his head. So he began cutting the base of the tree - leaving stump to pull out - and then realized that his plan to cut and push the tree away from the house was not going to work. The tree began to lean ominously towards him. There was a loud CRACK! and Chris sprinted to the hills WITH THE STILL-RUNNING CHAINSAW IN HAND while the tree fell - AND HIT RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE BEDROOM WINDOW. Liam was in the process of potty-training and wearing his first pair of Underroos; he promptly wet himself all over the carpet when the tree landed. I saw Chris, standing at the other end of the yard with his bottom jaw brushing the grass. He looked at me and I began laughing hysterically.
No! Despite the first failure, Chris still had one more tree to go.

"WELL? I CUT IT DOWN, DIDN'T I? I KNOW I CAN GET THIS ONE" he screamed from the yard.

He cut it and it fell right on top of the neighbor's garden.
We were just felling trees ALL OVER THE PLACE at the Loesch homestead.

Luckily, the neighbor was out of town for the weekend. We examined the chaos; our house wasn't damaged and the tree only crushed three of her tomato plants and some cabbage; everything else was fine. We discussed all of the ways to address this problem: We could've blamed it on the big storm last night, the one which sent tree limbs flying through the air. In the end we owned up. Chris cleaned up the mess and hauled away the trees while I wrote her a card apologizing for the damage and offering to either replace her plants or she could take three of our plants. When she returned home she walked over and thanked us.

"I just can't believe how honest you guys are," she said, genuinely shocked. "I would've assumed it was caused by the storm."

"No, no. Just insane-o Chris and his chainsaw."

"A little part of me can't help but wish that my father's name was on there."

"Yeah, but then you wouldn't be here."

"I guess I've finally found something about him to be thankful for."

Happy Father's Day to all of the men worth their weight in gold (Chris).

Pre-Monster Syndrome


This past week I've been ridiculously crabby. Before I continue, a service to the male readers - ATTN. MEN: I am about to talk about PERIODS on my website. Avert thine eyes if the discussion of menstruation and the accompanying hormones bothers you.

Anyway, I've always noticed that my hormones go girls gone wild, wild meaning slightly homicidal, at the onset of every cycle. Lately though, I think it's becoming worse. I've always chided women who blame their normally witchy behavior on PMS but after I had kids my PMS began morphing me into the female Ken Shamrock. And the only reason I know who he is is because Chris likes to watch Ultimate Fighting because we've been living in this small town too long and are becoming hoosiers as a result.

Last week my hormones pinned me against the wall. One event in particular set it off, and I hate to be vague but it's required at this point otherwise POOP + FAN. This event caused my tongue to fork and I was curt and unreasonably witchy for the rest of the week. In addition, my seventeen-year-old cousin decided to come home at 2 a.m. that's TWO IN THE MORNING, THAT'S THREE HOURS PAST CITY CURFEW, the curfew of a city she's NEVER driven around in, EVER. I growled demonically into the phone to the people she was out with and resisted the overwhelming urge to drive 45 minutes north to where she was - 25 minutes away from the place she was supposed to be - and THROW DOWN kuntry-style. After we waited up for her - me pacing the hardwood floors in my stilettos (we attended a big Greek wedding while she went to a concert) - I lectured her about all of the raping! murdering! mugging! robbing! stabbing! and carjacking! that goes on in this city. I was all "THIS IS NOT THE SMALL TOWN FROM WHENCE YOU CAME." I also put a scary emphasis on the importance of answering one's cell phone when their older cousin, who's charged with their care, calls to check on their well-being.
If she were my daughter I would've tied her to the kitchen table, but alas, she is not.

Not so much a help with the whole PMS thing.

Usually I have unbearable cramps - I had a mild case of endometriosis which subsequently vanished after my second pregnancy - but for the past year I've had nothing but fatigue and harsh mood swings. The mood swings aren't so much "swings" as they are death-defying free falls into the fieriest pits of hell. I recognize what's going on and I take care to reign in my mood. My body runs like clockwork and I meticulously chart my body's schedule so I can immediately identify why I feel the need to scream and dismember puppies. I've also cut out any and all caffeine and unnecessary sugar from my regular diet and am eating healthier than usual. Chris and I've discussed it; I plan to meet and discuss the situation with my OB because WOW.

I've been hesitant to discuss women's mood swings and the treatment of such - be it natural or medicinal - publicly because in doing so you're TOTALLY ASKING FOR IT. I'm most concerned with the "suck it up" response because I HAVE BEEN SUCKING IT UP and all of the sucking is giving me a headache.
I'm just curious about all of the options out there. Maybe I should embark on an exercise program. I flirted with yoga once; I bought a DVD and tried to do it at home but the boys were all "HUMAN. JUNGLEGYM." When I was able to do it I felt great afterwards. It's just near impossible to find regular help with the boys aside from our neighbor-girl whom we have watch the boys for a few hours once a week while I work.

So in conclusion: I'm not depressed. I'm just beyond cranky once a month and I'd like to make that better.

I caught this post yesterday on one of the blogs I read and later caught the news piece on KMOV. (Just to say - when I really want to know what's going on in St. Louis neighborhoods, I read Steve Patterson. Also, you know that blogging has arrived when the networks get info for their top story from a blogger.)

Normally I'm all kids, boobs, and poop over here, but this issue strikes close to home as a) Chris is co-heading a much-publicized rehab that qualifies as "gentrification," plus, we're also preparing to move back to the city into a rehabbed area. I want to move back into the city for the diversity and to escape the lily-white hicks who live and die by "Freebird." However, I want to move back into an area where the buildings don't look decrepit, where homeowners take care of their property; a neighborhood that's safe in which my kids can play.

I'm enraged by people like this ("Good for them?" Are you JOKING?), excellently described in Patterson's comments as:
"... represents an anti-gentrification zealot usually no more than ex-suburbanite turned 'bourgeoisie radicals' who took one too many social science classes at university, and now feel compelled to appoint themselves as a guardian of what they perceive as a victimized class, by making victims of another."
FYI - the market determines the price of those "over-priced condos," you butthat.

It's amazing that there are people who think that you must stifle growth in order to maintain diversity. I say "SOCIAL!" you say "IST!" "SOCIAL!" "IST!" "SOCIAL!" "IST!" Yes! Say "no" to an increase in your tax base! Say "no" to more tax dollars for schools and public works thereby condemning yourself to increased property taxes to shoulder the ever-increasing burden! (While whining about the rising taxes.) Dude, that's redneck reasoning.

That mindset truly doesn't understand the city and is determined to ruin it. That, THAT is the real threat.

The point at which I wanted to DIE


Last night as I got a drink of water before going to bed, Andi told me that she had a hard time falling asleep the other night. She then asked me a question that no parental figures or guardian figures should ever be subject to hearing:

"So um, do you guys have a headboard?"

I spit the water out of my mouth with the force of a geyser.

I know people everywhere do IT and that hi! We have two children, people may begin to suspect that they came to exist as a result of IT, but I have a mental hang-up wherein I seriously cannot handle other people knowing about IT.

"Okay, I'm just going to go DIE NOW. Goodnight!" I replied cheerfully.
I sprinted to the bedroom, shut the door, grabbed Chris and shook him. Chris, who was lying in bed and had been peacefully playing solitaire on his Treo while keeping tabs on an old episode of "Overhaulin'" looked at me like it finally happened! SHE'S FINALLY GONE MAD.

"What on earth is wrong with you?" He asked.

"You do not even want to know what Andi just said to me OHMYGAWD! Chris, she asked if we had a headboard."

"Oookay ...?"

"She prefaced this question by saying that she had trouble falling asleep the other night."

"Yeeah ...?"

"Our headboard narked on us. I wonder if other people, you know, know."

Totally pretentious FAQ


A lot of the e-mails! I get ask the same questions. Because there are only so many times one can type "hoosier" without the phrase losing all meaning, I've compiled a totally pretentious and way-more-important-than-I-really-am list of most-asked questions BECAUSE I AM THAT LAZY:

What on earth is a hoosier?
- A "hoosier" is another word for "redneck" in Missouri. I am not in any way slamming the good people of Indiana.

Your hair is great. What do you use on it?
- I use Redken Soft Curls shampoo and conditioner. I alternate between allowing it to dry naturally or blow drying it (during winter) with a diffuser. When I was younger I tried to straighten it but it always looked like a horse's mane. I am not in anyway slamming horses.

My family's last name is Scaggs/Loesch too. Could we be related?
- For your sake I hope not. I am not in anyway slamming my family. Except for my Aunt Paula. I am totally slamming her.

Can I send you things?
- As long as it isn't anything illegal, perverted, disgusting, annoying, or that could harm me or my family, sure.

Can I send you my product for you to write about it on your website?
- For free? I'm joking. If it's really cool, I'll think about it, though I can't promise anything. It never hurts to ask. I always disclose how I got anything. Though I would advise against sending me something unsolicited and then firing off a kapillion e-mails asking me when I'm going to write about it and am I going to write about it? WHY WON'T I WRITE ABOUT IT, IT'S A GREAT PRODUCT. Because that like, totally makes me not want to write about it.

I'm a SAHM and a writer/freelancer too. How did you get your column and break into writing and do you have any advice for me?
- I have a lengthy romance with journalism which was my major. I write. A lot. I also have a hefty assortment of clips; some awards; nominations for awards; and the editors, they love me. All I can say is keep writing.

I cannot believe you spank your children. That's abuse.
- That is not a question. Go eat a fart.

Why do you homeschool?
- Because. And please don't worry about their socialization. Here's a rundown of how and with what I roll.

Do you and your husband plan on having more children?
- Yes. Ideally I'd like four - three boys and one girl (he objects, but whatever). I could not handle more than one girl. I have enough PMS by myself.

I like your photos. What kind of camera do you use?
- I use a Kodak Easy Share camera. It's not a pro camera, but it does have a 35mm lens which I love. I color-correct all of my photos in Adobe Photoshop 7.0 and I like to slightly pump up the saturation.

Have you always been a writer/What did you do before writing?
- Pretty much. I've written since I could first hold a pencil and self-published my first book when I was eight. It was about dragons and written on notebook paper complete with a dedication and pretentious-for-that-age author's bio. However, my writing didn't take center stage until my junior year of high school. I studied ballet for a frillion years and had planned to join a company after school until I got burnt out. I went to college on literary and journalism scholarships.

During the last day of our trip Dave and Bonnie took us to the Edgar Allan Poe house and his grave site. I've been a fan of Poe since my early days as an angst-laden teenager who listened to Joy Division on her headphones while stretching for a track meet and scowling at cheerleaders. I loved his use of meter and the hollow, aching loneliness he conveyed through his words because sometimes I felt it, too. I practically ate everything the man wrote and now all he's ever written sits on our bookshelves.
To visit his grave site, for me, is like visiting Graceland.

Except that Poe's house isn't a tacky, real-life metaphor of what exploitation and excess can do via celebrity; in fact, his legend survives much as Poe himself did in life. The Poe House, his museum, sits in the ghetto across the street from the half-burnt shell of a house. All of the buildings on the block have thick iron bars in the windows. The museum is a sad, weensy house with barely the room to stand upright inside; Poe lived there for several years. His chair, college lap desk, telescope, bits of his hair, old clippings, and a copy of his wife's death portrait - the odd, 19th century custom of dressing up your dead loved ones for a pre-Glamour Shots sitting - are all on exhibit. Poe's real story, not the obfuscation of him as a drunkard and doper, the story taught in high school by those who never read past his popular work, is told. The story of a man whose jealous rivals attempted to rip him to shreds in the papers, rivals who lied about him, blacklisted him, and tried to snuff out his legend. Their lack of literary skill, when compared to his, drove them to the desperate and pathetic measures exclusive to hacks.

The literature on visiting the grave was unsettling ("Beware of beggars, they may try to steal your money!") but the cemetery itself, serenely situated at Westminster Church, was beautiful. It could qualify as a Tim Burton set. Poe's current grave lies at the cemetery's entrance, marked by a large monumental tombstone; his original resting place is located down the twisting path through the catacombs.
I took some shots of the tombstones (rubbings were prohibited) because they were old, beautiful, and just plain cool-looking.

Click for all Poe shots.

Behave like a tool wherein you try to slam me for making money by writing. For doing what I can do to provide for my kids, to pay my bills, to help take care of my family.
Just ignorant.
Like you WOULDN'T if given the opportunity, please.
That's what it's all about.

It never stops amazing me that there are people in the world like this; trolls who think nothing of sending type-written bile to a living, breathing person. You would never treat someone with such animosity without the safety and anonymity of your keyboard, so step off.

There are also those who disagree with things I say and instead of making room for a contrasting opinion at the big effing table of humanity, I'm kicked in the face for it. For simply having a thought on whatever that doesn't jive with that of someone else.
And people ask me why I feel lonely.
Or at-odds with things sometimes.
Or defensive.

I really don't get much hatemail, but nevertheless it still hurts, despite the ridiculous, uber-tough exterior I try to present. I usually ignore, but today I couldn't.

I told myself that I wasn't going to say anything, but you know what? It's freeing. It's cathartic.
And I'll get over it.

Two years


Of everything I've done in the past two years of Mamalogues.com, I'm most proud of this distinction: #1 in a Google search for "nicknames for country grandpa's."

I spent a good portion of yesterday all teary from the e-mails and comments. I feel a bit like Lorne Michaels when he asked Rudy Giuliani "Can we be funny?" on the 2001 season premiere of SNL. I watched the dramatization documentary, became infuriated and got all teary at the end again.
A new day. Another five years.

So I switched up the mast and changed some colors.
This month also marks the second anniversary of spilling my trials, triumphs, and misadventures on this website. I blogged for a year prior on a different Blogger site before changing things up, so three years of blogging in total. The purpose of my blog has changed somewhat to suit my needs over the past two years. I began blogging initially as a way to keep writing after I left the office and came home to freelance and care for Liam. Blogging kept me on the bicycle. It began to make me money, which we needed, despite the women who wrote in after my SAHM piece and insinuated that I must be rich to stay home HOW NICE FOR ME that I'm rich. Being rich would erase some of life's problems, but no, not rich! The money I make pays for our health insurance, Liam's asthma meds, and other bills. She works hard for the money.

This month also marks a year since I had Mamalogues trademarked - as it's paying bills and such, I need to protect my bass. Which is why I got a weensy bit angry when I discovered that some yuppie Beverly Hills boutique was trying to pass off my site name as their property and making cash off of it - which is why I made a call to get all ghetto cease-and-desist-y on said yuppie boutique after they ignored my previous polite requests to stop using my name. And I was so polite! I'm normally very polite, very straightforward, but so polite! However, I can get really, really white trash, BRING IT pushy.

I love sharing my experiences with you all and I've met some truly awesome people through my website. I'm astounded at the number of old friends that have found me through it. I'm astounded further by the number of kindred spirits out there who read daily. So many of you write in to share your own experiences, offer well-meaning advice; a few of you regulars (Jen S., LeAnn, MN, Sarah W., others) send me links to things you'd think I'd find interesting. Jen S. once sent me a photo of a classic mulleted redneck (saving for a future post) that caused me to choke on a gulp of orange juice. That so many of you take the time out to drop me a line and put a name with one of the thousands who read each week, that's pretty remarkable. I feel like I'm connecting. I appreciate it.
Thanks. Warm fuzzies, AWWW.

Also thanks to Craig who helped beat my site design into submission. Last but not least, a MAMMOTH thanks to my host and friend, X (and his luuurvely wife, my friend Nicky), who lets me park my site on his server and totally bailed me out with the move to MT. I couldn't do what I do without him. And without you all, I'd just be droning on to nobody.

**ADDENDUM: LeAnn has informed me that I am also #1 in a Google search for Darth Vader is lots of awesome. I want that on my epitaph.

I want to spread him on a cracker


This is Hudson:

He's the delicious pad of butter with whom we stayed in Baltimore. His favorite food is table and he always looks either pleasant or surprised.

Does he not have hair reminiscent of a pineapple stalk? I could EAT HIM, he's that adorable. His dad thinks so, too. Here he is devouring his child, toe by toe, in public:

Hudson's "Blue Steel" look, inspired by Derek Zoolander:

Our cousins, Dave and Bonnie:

We stayed at their gorgeously-restored historic home and decided that if we could be like any other people in the world besides ourselves, we'd choose to be like them because they are as genuinely good as you can get of people. That and Bonnie has perfect skin. PERFECT!



Last night we ate with a group of friends at Soda Fountain Square in Lafayette Park. I've often noticed that when parents and their children go out with a group of friends, the party becomes segregated; the single and childless sit on one end and the parents on the other end, corralling their children. It was more of the same last night, and while we truly love our single and childless friends - and our kids - it's one of the reminders of the separate worlds in which we live.

Chris wasn't especially celebratory yesterday. It's been a tough week, a tough year for la famille de Loesch. Chris's business is the looming factor in our lives and the building they're rehabbing isn't just a building they're rehabbing, it's a multi-million-dollar project - a blessing but dude, THE WORK. A lot of things are on the line right now. Our financial stability is on the line. So many little pieces of this puzzle have to fall perfectly in place for this venture to be successful and when one little piece aggravatingly won't fit all progress screeches to an abrupt halt. Normally I love the excitement that the rollercoaster of life brings, but we've found ourselves wanting to hide under the bed lately.

I've been fortunate enough to have opportunities which bring in some cash and do an awesome job of offsetting any stress. Plus, it's work that I absolutely love to do. But still, the stress remains; the stress over long-term finances, our kids' college education, savings, health insurance, etc. Chris and I were taking turns, freaking out in tandem, but last night I made the decision to NOT freak out anymore.

I'm the type of person that when pressure hits, I kinda break down Janice Dickinson-style for a nanosecond before digging my heels in and pushing back. I attribute it to my intensely competitive, perfectionist nature, and other things. I've never given up on any project I've ever attempted and I've never failed getting anything that I've wanted. I'm usually too busy going after the goal to worry about what may happen along the way. It's a blessing of selective tunnel vision.

So last night when Chris confided his worries to me after the lights were off, I dug my heels in. He expressed concern over his workload and wondered if it was perhaps putting a strain on our family. I said no. He was sad that he doesn't get to spend as much time with the kids as I do.

"I look at these projects as a war-of-sorts," I replied. "We're all manning it on different fronts. You can't be where I am because then your flank would go exposed. I can't be where you are because then who would hold down the homefront? We're each where we need to be."

I see the light at the end of the tunnel but there are a lot of hurdles we have to jump in the meantime. I'm not afraid. And we're sure as heck not giving up.

Liam is going through some sort of stage right now where he constantly talks ALL OF THE TIME WITH THE TALKING. His voice bounces off the walls of my head at night when I'm trying to sleep. He's gone so far as to attempt conversation with us while he's on the toilet. He stops speaking long enough to grunt if needed. Sometimes he doesn't even speak in coherent sentence; he just speaks to hear his own voice. I attribute this to my and Chris's earlier over-parenting, wherein we zealously devoted our undivided attention to Liam and were totally interested in every little gurgle which resonated from his voice box, even if we were only pretending. Now we have two kids and when you have two kids you quickly learn that you can't be as zealous and over-devoted as you were with the first because a) you don't have as much time and b) it will KILL YOU. For instance, before Ewan was born, we fussed over every little boo boo Liam acquired as though a trip to the ER was an imminent possibility. Now we tell both boys: "Ah, here. Just put some Bactine on it."

I've heard that you fill out every little space in your first child's baby book; with the second kid you sort of get around to writing their name in it. I thought "Oh that's awful, I will do the same thing with my second as I did with my first," but I didn't.
Liam has a baby book stuffed to the point where it can't fully close - in addition to a "baby box" filled with his First Onesie, First Socks, First Hat, hair from his First Haircut. If it were for any purpose other than documenting the infancy of my first child it would be called a Stalker Box.
Ewan doesn't have a "baby box." It's because I'm a bad mother. Really though, It's not that I care less for him, it's just that the chaos of having children - plural - forced me to realize the priority of things a while ago, and knowing when your first molar broke through isn't all that important. When my mother showed me that she'd collected all of my baby teeth and had them saved in a sandwich bag stowed in her belt drawer I thought "Ugh. Sicko."
For real, I've never once needed to know when my first tooth came in or when I first rolled over. Only for kindergarten bragging rights, maybe.

Except that Liam never got that memo, so it's still all of the time with the talking. Now he has to contend with Tank (a.k.a. Ewan) for our attention, a child who gets a gold star if he makes it through the day without crapping all over himself or eating something gross. Perhaps the never-ending talking isn't so bad after all.



My dearest Elle tagged me with my first meme. I've been blogging for two years and I'm only now doing my first meme?
No one loves me.
Yeah? Well, I'm going to have a princess party with a tiara and cake and my mom's old high heels and my grandma's gaudy jewelry and YOU ARE NOT INVITED.
Seriously though, I was running free until Elle shot me with some sort of organic tagging dart that she got at Whole Foods. Dude, they have EVERYTHING at Whole Foods.
To get even, I'm going to lock her in the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese's with my kids when she comes to visit later this month.

Four things:

Four Jobs I've Had (besides mom)
- journalist
- Editor of an indie city magazine
- Old Navy salesperson (and lord of the now-defunct Denim Wall) where Elle and I held secret "Doesn't our manager suck? She so totally does suck" meetings in the store room
- waitress

Four Movies I can Watch Over and Over
- "Old School"
- "Pride and Prejudice" (A&E or Keira Knightley version)
- "Pretty in Pink"
- Harry Potter. I AM NOT ASHAMED.

Four Places I've Lived
- St. Louis
- St. Louis
- St. Louis
- St. Louis
I'm so exotic.

Four TV Shows I love
- "Star Trek"
- "Gilmore Girls"
- "24"
- "South Park"
- "Aqua Teen Hunger Force." I can rap the entire theme.

Four highly regarded and recommended TV shows I haven't seen (much of)
- "Lost"
- "House"
- "Grey's Anatomy"
- "American Idol" - this show makes me feel constipated.

Four places I've vacationed
- Bahamas
- California
- Memphis
- Las Vegas

Four of my favorite dishes
- Sushi
- BBQ'd pulled pork sandwiches
- Tacos from Tomatillo's
- spring rolls

Four sites I visit daily
- Defamer
- ClubMom mom blogs!
- Blogher
- Boingboing

Four places I'd rather be right now:
- On a Caribbean beach
- Desert of New Mexico
- On a boat, floating on one of the bodies of water in the desert canyons
- French Rivera

Four new bloggers I'm tagging
- Kristen King, whom I met in D.C. and is hands-down the friendliest person I've ever met period. She is almost I-may-be-a-serial-killer-I'm-so-friendly but is not. A serial killer. (*Edited because I don't want to gyp her with an odd compliment because she's much too talented and grammatically skilled to just be noticed for being nice.)
- Ashlea
- Lisa
- Elisa
- Laura

Good for another 15 more years


As we have the entire house child-proofed and the doorknobs sheathed in plastic covers, those not familiar with how they operate find it difficult to get out of our house. Andi has great difficulty in opening any of our doors.

"Well," Chris said one evening, "I guess we now know how long those child-proof doorknob covers are good for."

Reality bites


For the third time in the past couple of months I've been contacted by a casting producer wanting me to participate in a network reality series. The latest contact comes from ABC's "Wife Swap," the show I know only for the gi-normo woman who, at the last minute, decided that she was a "GOD WARRIOR!" and went on a red-faced diatribe. And she was sober.

That's the big reason I said no.

My kids, my family isn't a social experiment and I'm uncomfortable with allowing people I don't know in a position to influence my kids. Family is sacred. Except for this morning. Or the times that Ewan throws a tantrum and stamps around the house smacking his big fat head on things in a self-righteous rage. Or when Liam whines, how the unnerving decibel of that whine is pitched high enough to kill kittens.

"Plus, there's no other woman on earth who could take your role, do everything that you do, and deal with me," Chris snickered. That's right. Especially this morning.

Despite spilling my entire life out online, I'm a very private person offline. I'm a situational extrovert; though I generally prefer to keep to myself. The thought of a frillion television cameras poking around my house freaks me out, especially since I think that regardless of how people truly are, they're always edited to be more "appealing" with some kind of overblown drama.

And we all know that there's MORE than enough drama to go around right here.

Back from D.C.


We made it back from D.C. unscathed and unpoliticized, which is hard to do in a town that wears its neurosis on its sleeve. The people there are insane. They drive crazy. They walk crazy - they power-walk. In heels! - they even eat crazy. Whereas crosswalks mean "slow down for pedestrians" in every other normal place on earth, they mean the exact opposite in D.C. I had to sprint across the crosswalk - much like a gazelle shoots across an open plain - just to make it safely to the sidewalk. Washington is a jungle of monuments, traffic cones, and tourists. I felt some sort of reverence while visiting all of the monuments.
That's a photo set for another time.
When we approached the Lincoln Memorial I fell silent as though I was sitting in a church pew.

We stayed in Baltimore with the ever-awesome and aforementioned Bonnie and Dave and their baby, Hudson. I affectionately referred to Hudson as "pineapple" and "cornstalk head" the entire time due to his sprig of fine blonde hair which stands straight up at the top of his head. He is one of the tastiest-looking babies I've ever seen. His little feet fit perfectly on hamburger buns.

I took the MARC into D.C. most mornings and cabs everywhere else within the city. St. Louis should perk up and take note: D.C. has an awesome public transportation system. The city (and outlying areas) is entirely accessible by Metro, MARC, bus, or cab.

On Thursday Dave told Chris to drive me to the city in his Mercedes Benz Ridiculously-Swanky-Class. MERCEDES. BENZ. BLACK. WITH GPS. They allowed us to take their car, which has a retail value higher than that of a child, to D.C. even after reading this.
Bonnie calls the GPS system the Navigation Wench. The Wench forbids you to get lost and prevents such an occurrence by nagging you to death:

"Prepare to turn left. Turn left 700 feet. Turn left 200 feet. Turn left now. TURN LEFT NOW."

I don't know if I imagined it, but sometimes I thought she became slightly irate.

St. Louis should also take note: D.C.'s parking situation SUCKS. The day that we took the Mercedes for a joyride we stopped to lunch at the Chop Shop something-or-other restaurant which features the best beer I've ever had - a rich vanilla stout. We parked across the street in one of the two-hour slots. We walked out of the restaurant and got to the car at approx. 4:10 p.m. and noticed that an over-zealous, satanic meter maid gifted us a $100 parking ticket for parking in a spot that, apparently, you can't park in between 4-6 p.m. The ticked said it was "clearly marked" which it SO WAS NOT. There was a tiny, nondescript sticker on the meter which read "4-6 p.m." and that was it.
(Addendum: We tried to contest it and they were all "Yeah...we don't care.")

Click here to view the D.C. set. You might notice that I started running out of ideas with the captions. Sorry.

Things you missed while I was SOL


1) Ewan now screams "MEATS!" full blast in a voice sounding not unlike someone would sound while wrestling with a particularly stubborn bowel movement.

2) Ewan also began saying "No" in an I'm-being-mugged-in-a-dark-alley kinda way.

3) My 17-year-old cousin is living with us while recording her album. Her name is Andi. Her milkshake will most DEFINITELY NOT be bringing any pimpletons to my yard.

3.5) A group of rogue ants ate the caulking from under our front door.

4) My boobs shrank a cup size. ?

5) I received a buttload of e-mails from people asking if I was hurt or pregnant and is that why the site isn't up, when is the site going to be up.

5.5) Marc Anthony's guitarist recorded a part for his upcoming album at Chris's studio.

6) I've learned that I suck royally at CSS.

7) I uploaded 323 photos from our D.C. trip. They'll be online starting Monday.

8) We attempted to finish finishing our basement and then were all "This is hard. Let's go get some tacos." We've yet to finish.

9) Liam discovered that his Darth Sidious action figure will not flush. This was realized on Sidious's pretend "underwater cave exploring mission" while I was in the shower.

9.5) I had a meeting at the Post, the first time I've ever walked in the building, and engaged in a lengthy discussion on the Civil War with the coolest security guard ever while waiting for the elevator.

10) Chris is warming up to the idea of a daughter. You all shut your mouths. Just shut your mouths!

Bonus! Chris sitting in Edgar Allan Poe's chair!

And a Baltimore church!

The teenage invasion


In this week's column you're introduced to my cousin, Andi, the seventeen-year-old girl who has invaded our house and leaves her flat iron on the boys' bathroom sink. She might as well have a gigantic target painted on her face, because Liam aggravates the will to live out of her every chance he gets.

We have several sayings in our family to describe our bizarre, shared traits. We say things like "Oh, TOTALLY a Scaggs," or "Just like a Scaggs," and "It's because I am a SCAGGS" to explain or excuse large chests, lanky builds, occasional diva-esque behavior, sharp tongues, or bar fight mentality. People affiliated or familiar with our family are all "YEAH YOU ARE."
Because Chris is now in a house occupied by not one, but two Scaggs' women, a general collective pity for him has begun to accumulate. To illustrate: Chris is infamous for saying something only to forget it two minutes' after he's said it and trying to pass it off as something else. Now that Andi's here, I have a witness. Last night Andi and I were discussing our disdain for short skirts, she because she's delusional and thinks her legs are thick, and me because I am not and believe that my legs are too skinny and my knees resemble doorknobs.

"Well she hates skirts because of her thin legs and you hate them because your legs are thick," Chris said to us.

Our eyes widened and the air turned sour.

"Excuse me?" I whispered, my voice sucked from my throat by the frothy, black pit of rage which temporarily coated my lungs and at that moment, rendered speech a monumental feat. I am kidding. "Did you say that my legs were thin?"

"Yeah, did you say that my legs were thick?" Andi chimed.

"No, I did not. I did not. I meant that YOU think your legs are ... ohmygawd. FORGET IT."

WOW. The mail has been ... wow. I feel loved. Actually, it picked me up off my backside when my stress level topped Elmo last week.

My two-year affair with Blogger is officially over. I noticed that Blogger wouldn't publish while I was in Washington; it also stopped saying "I love you" when I called it on the phone. I e-mailed them and inquired as to what the deal was, yo. Others were also having difficulty with Blogger. Blogger sat on its a-double snakes. The only thing to do was to move my website from Blogger's platform to that of Moveable Type, something I've been considering for awhile now; I just didn't want to do it RIGHT NOW as the timing couldn't be worse. Plus, I know precisely crap about CSS. In Blogger, I chopped up and re-did some of the HTML to suit my needs; I had to get help with Mamalogues 2.0.

Herein lies my BIG thanks to several awesome people who helped me through this hell, my generous host, Martin, the man with the driest humor EVER (so dry! It's awesome!). He and his wife, Nicky, rock and I love them both because they refrained from making fun of me when we saw "28 Days Later" and I scream-talked back to the screen throughout the movie.

A big thanks to Craig Wagner, who I called in my 11th hour and was all "Moveable Type is possessed. Or I'm just stupid. I'm positive it's the latter." Craig has Jedi CSS skillz. He's fluent in every computer language! He designs awesome websites! He does it fast! He needs work! E-mail and hire him!

So now ... introducing ... Mamalogues 2.0.
You'll notice that besides the new three-column layout, there are several other new features: Categories! Permalinks! Trackbacks! Commenters will also be required to leave an e-mail address when commenting, which I'm sure will whittle down those drive-bys. I do not do anything with e-mail addresses or anyone's private information ever; those are the animals we sacrifice in my son's homeschool classes.

Despite the pain it took in getting to this point (Blogger was so easy, therein lies the problem; MT is much more complex, tricky, and somewhat confusing), I'm happy with the end result and I hope that you are, too. There are a few things left to tweak (some of the sidebar links included), and I'm sure that I'll have to work out a few future glitches here and there as I acclimate to my new platform and learn CSS, however should you stumble upon a bug or problem, please drop me a line and let me know.

I've missed you.


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Dana asks: "Thanksgiving Traditions: Yours or Your Mother's?"