Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Book Review: I am Hutterite AND Giveaway!!

Booksneeze.com sent me a copy of Mary-Ann Kirkby's I am Hutterite to read and review, and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised.

I adore memoirs, but you never really can tell ... I mean, it seems like everyone is writing their memoir these days, and you have to figure that not ALL of them have the most interesting things to say and it is hard to be a "good" writer.

Anyway, I wasn't disappointed with Mary-Ann Kirkby's tale.  Mary-Ann grew up in a religious sect called the Hutterites, which is a branch of Anabaptists who, like the Amish and Mennonites, trace their roots to the Radical Reformation of the 16th century.  The Hutterites embrace community living, absolute pacifism, and living as much like their ancestors would have in 16th century Europe.  Since the Hutterites moved to North America in the 18th and 19th centuries, their population grew from 400 to around 42,000.  Today Hutterites are found in the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Colombia, and in the US they reside in North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Washington and Montana.

The book started off a little shaky, and I really couldn't hear Mary-Ann's voice, as she began by telling her mother's story, but it soon picks up, and I was engrossed.  She begins with her father and mother meeting and getting married, followed by her "charmed" community life, and finally being moved out of the community and facing the "English" world.

While at times the first half is hard to read with all the Hutterisch phrases (which are sometimes followed by and English translation and sometimes NOT), the story keeps you going.  I had a real attachment to Mary-Ann by the second half of the book, and my heart broke as she struggled to fit in at school.  My only other complaint is that the book is so careful and slow and detailed, but then it just ENDS.  She's in the middle of a narrative, and then, BAM, epilogue.  I guess it's hard to end a memoir when you went on living for so long after the part you need to tell ends, but it rubbed me the wrong way.

Overall, I would definitely recommend it.  In fact, one of you lucky bitches or bastards could have this book show up in your mailbox compliments of ME!  Here's the deal: since religious sects are usually seen as cults (not to say that the Hutterites are a cult, but you get what I mean!), to enter this giveaway, respond in the comments section with why YOU would be a great cult leader.  The best answer WINS!  Just be sure to leave your e-mail address so I can contact you and get your mailing address.

YAY!  A giveaway!  I must be like, the nicest person on the planet.  Or something.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sexy Time in the News: A New Use for Scissors

People have their own little rituals.  I, for example, have a very specific order in which I use my shower products: 1.  Shampoo, 2.  Conditioner, 3. Shaving products, 4.  Body wash, 5.  Rinse conditioner, 6.  Face Wash.  If I deviate, then I am UNCLEAN and must start over.  Not really, but I get all mad at myself and the day is ruined before it starts.

People have post-coitus rituals as well.  Snuggling, eating, sleeping, stabbing.  You know, the usual.

Yeah, some people stab.  Michelle Thomas, 26, a Texas resident, was not satisfied with a sexual experience provided by her common-law husband on May 4th.  Instead of the silent treatment, she went for the scissors treatment, and began stabbing the crap out of him.  

That must have been one HECK of a disappointing sexual encounter.  I mean, I say I am feeling stabby all the time, but I have yet to cross that threshold into BEING stabby.  And I have never felt stabby after sex.  Maybe I'm just lucky.

Anyway, here are the two best parts:

1.  He refused to press charges.
2.  THIS is her mug shot:

Would you be grinning like that after stabbing your sexually-inadequate common-law husband?  Wait.  Don't answer that question.

At least now I know what neighborhood kid's parents are doing instead of watching him and teaching him about stranger danger.

Monday, May 17, 2010


So, remember how my ONE birthday wish was to get a doggy DNA test? And remember how my mom read my blog and bought me one?  And remember how TOTALLY normal people request things like doggy DNA tests all the time and it is totally not weird or lame or strange?  Well, we GOT IT and USED IT!

What?  You don't care what my mixed breed dog is made of?  Well, guess what?  It's MY freakin' blog, and it is RESULTS DAY!

She looks wary.  Maybe she isn't ready to learn who her daddy is?

Too bad, because *I* am.  We already knew that the test had a swab that we used to get cells from the inside of her cheeks, just like a human DNA test, but then we read the instructions, and we needed to get TWO swabs and those swabs had to be rubbed inside her mouth for TEN SECONDS EACH with one hand pressing on the outside of her cheek to get pressure and ensure lots of cells rubbed off onto the swab.

Guess what dogs don't like?  Yeah, someone shoving a huge q-tip in their mouth and rubbing it around for extended periods of time.

We have a super good dog, so she put up with it ...

"Woman, this just ain't right."

... for the first 18 seconds that is.  When we had two seconds of rubbing left (twss), she stopped playing along.

I decided DNA was more important than the comfort of my dog, so headlocks ensued.  Also, you get a bonus boob shot.  YOU'RE WELCOME.

In the end, I persevered over a squirmy dog:

We waited patiently for like a bazillion years (or two and a half weeks) and then we got the results in a large, important looking envelope in the mail. Just like I got when I was trying to determine the father of MY baby ... that might be a better story for later.  And Jeremy, if you're reading this, just ignore that part.

We knew that Cleo was predominantly a black lab, but with ears like this ...
and a tail like this ...
and a huge mane around her neck like this ...
and the fact that she weighs about 40 pounds less than a pure bred lab, we were excited.  And now we know.  Hold onto your panties.

(duh, Black Labrador Retriever)

Okay, I think this conclusion is fascinating enough, but I have the feeling that some of you will not be all that interested.  So, I will ALSO reveal the REAL FATHER OF MY UNBORN CHILD!!!!


Robert Downey, Jr., you ... ARE the father (Shouts and cheers from the Maury crowd.  Robert and I embrace.)

She's gonna be so beautiful ...

Thursday, May 13, 2010


My mom told me to decide what kind of cake I wanted for my baby shower, and I was sure a Google image search would not disappoint.  Boy, was I right.  I found the WORLD'S WORST BABY SHOWER CAKE.  It is amazing and horrible, and I wanted to show it to you in all its glory, but instead I had to put up censor bars so as not to scar the sensibilites of my gentle readers. 

You migt be thinking at this point, censor bars on a BABY SHOWER cake?  Yeah, well.  You'll see ...

I told you it was something.  (If you're dying to see the original, click here)

So, what to do after finding the world's worst cake?  Find the best cake molds!!  I could shower you with amazing and impossible-to-recreate cakes, but I thought I would instead share cakes you can actually make.  I should probably be getting a cut of all sales that result from this post.  Note to self: contact companies demanding money.

Okay, on to my new favorite cake pans.

Here is one that you might have already seen, but I think it is worth highlighting:

Seriously, who doesn't love cupcakes?  And we all know making things giant is MONEY.  I can see this sitting in front of a one-year-old on his/her birthday as easily as I can see it at grandma's birthday bash.  Versitile AND delicious.  Killer.

Speaking of making giant sweets out of other sweets:

YUM!  It begs to be picked up and eaten like a giant Oreo.  I would really enjoy seeing that.

This last cake follows on the theme of giant things and also made me think of my husband:

OH YEAH (in a Mac voice from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia)!  The fillings can be anything your heart desires, so all kinds of taste sensations could spring from this cake!  It also begs to be picked up and eaten.  Fan-bloody-tastic.

I still need to decide what my baby shower cake will look like, but I am leaning toward all four of these cakes at once.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Stranger Danger: A Passing Fad?

There is a knock on the door at 8 PM.  Since I am pregnant, I convince Jeremy to answer the door (*evil laugh*).  You will never EVER be able to guess what happens next, not in a million years, even if you are a witch.  

A kid is standing at our door, and says, "Hey, do you know a kid named Marty?"  Jeremy answers, "Umm, no?"  The kid, who was definitely under the age of ten and unattended says, "I think he lives somewhere around here, so I am just going door-to-door looking for him."

Does this sound STUPID and WRONG to anyone else?  I mean, we don't live in the Gaza Strip or anything, but we live in a city.  A city that has murderers and rapists and pedophiles living in it.  I don't know any personally, but statistics say they exist.  My neighbors are great (minus Crazy Lady, of course), but I can't vouch for anyone who lives beyond a two-house radius from me.  Would you want your child knocking on random doors, alone, at night?  I would NOT.  So, I told Jeremy maybe we should do something about it.

Jeremy:  Like what?

Veronica:  Shouldn't we teach this kid a lesson?

Jeremy:  Dear God.  How would we teach this child a lesson WITHOUT getting arrested as a result?

Veronica:  *pondering*  Call him back to the house, invite him in, and then tell him that we COULD have been killers, and now that he was in the house, we could have killed him and no one would be able to save him?

Jeremy:  And how would that NOT get us arrested after the kid ran home and told him mom and dad what you said?

Veronica:  What WE said.

Jeremy:  Oh, hell no.  You are on your own.

Veronica:  Don't you think it is important to educate our youth?  It takes a village, Jeremy. A  VILLAGE.

Jeremy:  I feel like it is natural selection.  If that kid is dumb enough to do that and gets killed, then ...

Veronica:  Jeremy!!!  You are so cruel!!

Jeremy:  You were JUST telling me we should tell this stupid kid we are going to kill him, and now you are defending him?

Veronica:  You know I think natural selection should only apply to adults.  It is not his fault he is an idiot and unaware of stranger danger and is allowed to roam city streets by himself, looking for danger.  Clearly the adults in his life have failed him.  Which is why we -- the VILLAGE -- need to take him under our wings and save him from his parents.

Jeremy:  I have a baseball game to watch, so if you are done talking about killing neighbor kids ... (*walks away*)

Isn't stranger danger still something that people are frightening their children with?  I remember listening to the cassette tape "The Safety Kids" so many times that we wore out a copy and my mom rushed out to buy a new one the same day ("We're gonna be smart / And we're gonna be CAREFUL. / We're gonna be the Safety Kids./ Learn the rules / and YOU can be one TOO! / Kids like me ... / Kids like YOU!").  

I also have VIVID memories of a Winnie the Pooh VHS that taught me to be "too smart for strangers" while traumatizing me.  I can't be sure if this was a real part of the video or something my terrified mind added in, but I remember a kid thinking it was okay to be alone with an adult because the adult was a doctor, and therefore safe, but the doctor was NOT SAFE and that child was NOT TOO SMART FOR STRANGERS and OH MY GOD, my doctor is so nice!  Is he going to use Not-Okay Touching?!?!

Long story short, my mom scared me appropriately, and I was never snatched, hurt, or sold to human traffickers (though my dad threatened to sell us to gypsies roughly every other day).  I can't say the same for kids around here, however.  When will scaring kids be in vogue again?

Monday, May 10, 2010

*UPDATED* Awesomeness in the Shape of a Sausage. But Not a Sausage, Because I Hate Sausage.

So, remember how BP sucks and is lame and stupid and they continue to dump oil into the Gulf of Mexico day after day?  I knew you would.  And remember how they had that stupid dome idea (that would result in 5% of the oil spilling from the valve sneaking out of the dome ANYWAY -- by conservative estimates)?  You know how oil is BAD for ocean life and people life and other life?  Since BP cannot fix the problem, an awesome company in California is working on it.

Now, this idea is bloody fantastic.  I bet none of you would have thought of it.  I, incidentally, thought of it 6 years ago, but this company just beat me to the punch is all.  Okay, the awesome way they get oil out of the water?

HUMAN HAIR IN NYLONS.  Yup.  A Matter of Trust collects all those hair trimmings that salons sweep up off their floors and throw away, accept donated nylons, shove the nylons full of hair, and make big long sausage-like contraptions that they float in the water.  The waves go in oily and come out clean because the hair collects the oil.

Brilliant.  Amazing.  Strange, but amazing.

They are currently working on a huge blitz to get new donors, and they have had more volunteers sign up in the 72 hours after the oil spill than in the previous SIX YEARS they have been running the business.  Sometimes people are good.

The only problem they were facing was the fact that they didn't have enough nylons to keep up with all the hair they were receiving.  I mean, who wears nylons anymore?  Not me (sorry mom).  So they announced the need for nylons, and guess who showed up?  The transvestite community surrounding the San Fransisco home base of the company.  Bravo, ladies.  Most people in this country treat you like crap, but you are willing to help them all out.  I love transvestites even more now.  I do worry about the quality of the drag shows in the near future, however, but let's not be selfish here, people.  We can deal with hairy legs if it means the ocean can get all cleaned up, right?

Anyway, the bottom line is, this is awesome and weird and interesting all at the same time, and you should ask your own salon if they are part of this program.  If not, they can go to http://www.matteroftrust.org/index.html to get information on donations.  If you can't take time off work to go south and clean up the oil yourself, you can make a quick phone call to your salon to help.

Your reward will be imagining the bags of hair shaped like sausages floating around the Gulf of Mexico ...

UPDATE:  I lost a follower after publishing this post.  I have narrowed it down to a few possible reasons:

1.  Said reader hates sausage (But *I* hate sausage, too!!  It's in the title!)
2.  Said reader LIKES the oil spill (Perhaps he/she has dry skin and was hoping to use it for therapeautic purposes.)
3.  Said reader hates transvestites (Well, that is a crying shame, because they are lovely and dedicated.  Have you ever seen a biological women put so much energy into her appearance? I have not.)
4.  I suck (Lord knows, THIS could not be the truth.  I feel silly for even mentioning it.)


I did what I could.  Now you can never say I don't care.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

This All Ends With Me Praising My Husband, If You Can Believe That

Driving home from work today, I was doing what all the cool kids do -- listening to NPR -- when I heard BP was going to "solve" the oil spill problem in the Gulf of Mexico by putting a DOME over the broken pipe that is spitting oil.

Well played, BP.  Not only are you drawing on The Simpsons in the time of crisis,

but you managed to ignore the fact that the oil is already all over the freaking place and floating on the surface of the water.  Way to go.

So, I didn't really have a whole post ready to go on this ... that was as far as I got.  You know, that I think that idea is stupid.  

But watch this:  Okay, the oil spill is a big, gross problem that is not being fixed.  You know what else is a big, gross problem that is not being fixed?  My HUGE SWOLLEN FEET AND ANKLES.

I have never seen such a thing is all my life.  I guess whenever I heard about swollen feet before now, I was always like, "Heh.  I bet that won't happen to me."  Burn, former self.  Burn.

I have a girlfriend who was mad about her swollen feet because she was angry with herself and irrationally thought there must be something she could have done to avoid it.  I am not mad so much as horrifically disgusted.  I can't stop staring at my feet, which look disturbingly like hams on toothpicks, and I get the major voms.  I am feeling the biggest vomity-vom-vomitness of all time.  

I am repulsed by myself.  I mean, you couldn't SEE my nausea every waking moment of my first trimester.  You can't SEE my stiff lower back.  But these Flintstone feet.  Oh, you can see them.  And I just want to hide in my house with my feet propped up on a pillow while I stare at my deformed body and cry.

So, much like the horror that is the oil spill, I am not finding a solution to the problem.  My dome is convincing my husband to rub my ham feet when I get home from work.  He is really racking up his sainthood points lately.  I mean, even *I* won't touch those nasty feet.

I guess the moral of this story is that my husband rocks the casbah.  Well played, Dimick. Take a bow.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Drink Up and Fry Some Ice Cream! It's May 5th!!

¡Ai!  ¡Ai!  ¡Ai!  ¡Arriba!  ¡Arriba!

Get up and celebrate, fools!  It's Cinco de Mayo!  Which, of course, has large and lovely implications in other parts of the world, but around these parts, it means eat, drink, and be merry!!

Today is also my brother's birthday, and we always had a blast celebrating his birthday on Cinco de Mayo.  We always went to Chi-Chi's to have an "authentic" Mexican dinner.  We would gorge ourselves on free chips and salsa (still one of my favorite past-times), order massive dinners, and then "surprise" my brother with the same thing every year.  My mom would always get the waiter or waitress to bring the whole staff over to sing happy birthday.  But at Chi-Chi's, it was super-special, because first they would plop a large sombrero on his head and place FRIED ICE CREAM (I hope you have tasted this magical dessert.  If you haven't, please do yourself a favor and scamper to your closest restaurante Mexicana and GET SOME) in front of him before singing a "Mexican" Happy Birthday song.  

Not to brag about the awesomeness we had at our fingertips or anything, but Chi-Chi's ALSO took a Polaroid picture of the birthday boy with his sombrero and fried ice cream -- for FREE.  In every picture, my sister and I are crowding in, getting in his face, singing loudly and looking very excited (probably mostly about the fried ice cream in my case).  

I think this is one of the reasons I SOO love the birthday singing in restaurants.  Seriously, is there anything better on your birthday than having strangers clap for you and someone bring you a FREE dessert?  I think not.  Sadly, this is not a part of my birthdays because my husband thinks it is "embarrassing" and "strange" and just because he doesn't like strangers staring at HIM on HIS birthday, he deprives me of such pleasure on my own.  But I digress.

Back to my brother and his Cinco de Mayo festivities.  We continued this tradition late into his teens, and probably would have done the same thing this very year if Chi-Chi's hadn't had the audacity to close and my brother hadn't had the audacity to move across the country.

Happy Birthday, bro.  I hope you have someone singing to you in a Mexican restaurant tonight.  To the rest of you:  Drink a few extra margaritas and Coronas for me! 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Crazy Lady, Fire, and My New Role as Sole Zombie-Killer

I have a neighborhood report, and this time it is NOT EVEN a result of me spying from my front porch.  I mean, I did learn all of this information by looking out my bedroom window, but I think by the time you have reached the end of the story you will agree that it does NOT, in fact, constitute spying.

Anyway, hold on to your hats, biotches, because this story is ZANY and TOTALLY REAL AND FACTUAL.  No embellishments or additions.

I am sleeping, snug as a bug in a rug as is possible for a pregnant lady, when a fire engine rouses me.  And it is not far away, like usual, it is CLOSE, and I turn and look out the window, and it is ON MY STREET.  And then it is STOPPING DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE!! You can imagine the panic.  I shouted Jeremy's name (about an inch from his ear -- it was effective) and he immediately ran downstairs.  My first thought was "Is MY house on fire and I'm not aware of it yet?" but we quickly learned that the firemen were running toward the house across the street, not ours.  That house is home to Crazy Lady.

Crazy Lady.  How can I summarize her quickly and effectively?  She is 92, in perfect health, possesses all of her faculties, but ... is not so nice.  Apparently the other neighbors used to take turns visiting her and bringing her food and checking on her, which I find VERY KIND and unusual, especially in a city this large.  However, Crazy Lady only likes one of our neighbors, and hates all the others for various reasons, such as the colors of the clothing they wear and the cadence of their voices.  

At first she starting pretending that she had been struck deaf and mute when those neighbors knocked on her door.  BTW, I think this is super-clever, and I may utilize it myself one day.  Her acting was very realistic because she would take out her teeth and gape open-mouthed and wide-eyed at people.  If it had been me, I probably would have smiled, waved, left cookies and the porch and just run away.  My nice neighbors were persistent.  They waited, and she would finally give in and let them in the house.  Apparently she would then excuse herself and go to a back room and call 911.  When the cops arrived she would ask the neighbor with cookies to be removed from her house.  Then she would walk across the street and brag to the one neighbor she likes about how she got the "harlot with the red shirt" removed from her home.

So, apparently Crazy Lady's house is on fire, because now there are FOUR fire engines.  These are followed by two police cruisers, and finally an ambulance.  There seems to be some confusion and running back and forth from the house to the scanner to talk to dispatch.  I finally hear over dispatch (because it is louder than the firefighters' voices), "Well, if she is just standing there starting at you through the front door and won't let you in, threaten to use the ax."

This is when I realized that Crazy Lady was likely totally safe and this was not going to be a scary and sad night.  Lots of talking and head shaking later, I hear the story (like all of my other neighbors, who are of course standing in the street at four in the morning to be in the front row, and not peeking out of their bedroom window like me) -- Crazy Lady has awoken to discover that her power is out.  So she pushed the fire, ambulance, AND police buttons on her lifeline alert system.  When she finally let them in, she simply stated, "My power is out, and that is unacceptable."  

Sure, she alerted us to the power outage, which we would not have known about and would have slept in and been late for for.  Sure, she is a ballsy bitch and uses the term "unacceptable," much like yours truly.  But I was DISGUSTED to see my street full of emergency workers who came out to save a life, and could be needed elsewhere to REALLY save lives, all because Crazy Lady was mad that her power had been out for a few minutes (the power was back on in another 10, by the way).  I will save the rest of this rant, because I am sure you are all filling in your own version yourselves.  I don't care how old she is -- I hope she gets a big, fat bill from the city.

What I did not expect from this incident, however, was what I learned about my husband.  While I was lying there, adrenaline still rushing, heart still racing, and mind full of horrible thoughts, I turned over to find Jeremy DEAD ASLEEP.  Less than five minutes after four fire trucks pulled up in front of our house in the middle of the night.  Seriously?

I shook him awake to tell him, "This is startling evidence that you have no heart."

Jeremy:  Did you just wake me up to tell me I have no heart?  At four in the morning?

Veronica:  Yes.  I wanted you to sit with this realization, much like I have been forced to.

Jeremy:  How do you figure I have no heart?

Veronica:  If you had a functioning heart, it would be racing.  It would be pumping adrenaline throughout your body, and you would be unable to nod off moments after such a shock.  

Jeremy:  Well, it wasn't a real fire.

Veronica:  Your body should not know that yet.  You should still be in fight or flight, not REM.

Jeremy:  Can I go back to sleep now?

Veronica:  You know, I don't fear for you Jeremy.  I fear for me.  One day you will have to save me and the baby from a monster, and in the middle of defending us, you will just collapse and take a little cat nap!  

Jeremy:  *SNORE*

Crazy Lady might be crazy, and she wasted the taxpayers' money, and I will never bake her any cookies, but she did make me realize *I* will have to be the adult in charge of emergency plans in case of zombie invasion, bear attack, or shark bite.  Duly noted.
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