October 2013

kids bath (2)Many of us have experienced vivid memories triggered by scent.  Researchers attribute this to the proximity of the olfactory nerve to the amygdala, which is associated with emotional memory.*  Science lesson aside, the feeling can often be very powerful, transcending time and space.  We smell a familiar scent that evokes a strong memory from childhood; the bubble bath we used when my sisters and I would pile into the bathtub; all three of us. My father, his early childhood through the formative years spanning the Great mr bublesDepression, was extremely frugal. We were allowed about three inches of water in our bath, but we made the most of it with lots of bubbles. No wonder our skin was dry and itched like crazy.

To this day I associate “clean” with the chemically smell of Lysol, Pine-sol and Comet Cleanser. Our clothing smelled of White King D, Fels Naptha Soap and lot’s of Clorox. My dear mother prided herself on how white her whites were. When I think of my own children and the scents they will associate with childhood, I think a musty smell will play a prominent role in their olfactory triggers.  I tend to have a 24-hour waiting period between the wash cycle and remembering to put the clothes in the dryer. Adding half the box of Bounce sheets does very little to freshen things up. I’ve given up on re-running the washing machine, because another 24-hours elapses so quickly! I just can’t break the cycle.

As for other scents that will cause a misty-eyed, nostalgic response from my children, dare I mention my car? It’s for good reason we call it “The Family Dumpster”.  The Jeep has its own special brand of decaying snacks, sweaty soccer socks, and spilled coffee with cream. It’s an all natural blend, like a Joe Malone perfume. Certainly my children won’t be able to walk near a dumpster 30 years from now without thinking of Dear Old Mum barreling down the freeway, hip hop blasting on the stereo.

* Source: 10 Facts About Memory: Scent Can Be a Powerful Memory Trigger by Kendra Cherry, About.com

forehead curtains 4I recently cut bangs.  They really do hide a multitude of sins.  I couldn’t help feeling I was lowering curtains or blinds on my forehead, hence, a new phrase was coined. It’s like that old commercial for Mazola. “You call it corn, I call it maize.”  You call them bangs, I call them “Forehead Curtains”.  Perhaps it doesn’t have the same ring to it.

The new challenge; how to hide the sagging cheeks (AKA: jowls). Forehead curtains are fun and stylish.  Somehow I don’t think the “Cousin It” look is going to make a comeback any time soon, even to cover unsightly jowls. cousin it 2

I have noticed the best way to lift the 40+ year-old jowls non surgically is to smile.  And studies show if you smile, you actually will feel happier and have an overall sense of well-being.  Are you gagging right now? No, nobody died and made me Polly Anna, I’m just trying to look younger.

My home décor style is somewhere between “dumpster chic” and “eclectic-ancestral chic”.  I love that you can add “chic” to any word, and it makes even my junk show sound cool.  When my husband and I moved from his bachelor pad to our current home 14 years ago, we didn’t have any furniture.  Mainly because I wanted to start fresh.  His home had a decidedly “fraternal” look to it.  A black vinyl sofa, wicker end tables from Cost Plus, University of Washington pennants proudly displayed as if they were Picassos, Delta Chi brick-a-brac, and monolithic stereo speakers and subwoofers as tall as the ceiling.

IMG_3178We lived in a sparsely furnished home for many years, which was perfectly conducive to the huge parties we threw before kids were even a twinkle in their daddy’s eye.  We slowly accumulated furnishings over the years, and took full advantage of our proximity to Vancouver, BC.  In the late 90’s my husband liked to refer to their currency as the “Canadian Peso”.  It was a 40% discount on the dollar, so I loved scouring the antique and junk shops for furnishings.  My mother-in-law has also been a great resource over the years.  When she moved from the house my husband grew up in, she sent a lot of things our way.  Including an extensive collection of painted portraits of my husband in grassy fields blowing on a dandelion, or looking dreamily up at the clouds. These one of a kind paintings, by an almost-famous local artist, represent each year of his precious boyhood. I considered creating a shrine or grotto to house this priceless artwork.  I thought better of it, and they remain tucked away in our boiler room in hopes that archeologists might discover them a thousand years from now. Surely they will theorize about the domain he ruled over and the mythical power this young Norse prince wielded.

The portrait tribute to “Little Lord Fauterloy” aside, there is a solid marble Grecian statue I particularly like.  It borders on “Liberace Chic”, but I find it irresistible, and I have it prominently displayed in our foyer. I’m not sure which Goddess she is, but I’m guessing Venus, the goddess of love.  She certainly cast a spell on my son at a very young age. I caught him copping a feel when he was about four.  I decided to capitalize on this teaching moment and explained to him, “That is what implants feel like, and son, it’s important to know the difference.”


“Stop, collaborate, and listen, lice are back with a brand new edition. Lice, lice, baby, in your hair, in your hair.” Sing this ditty to the tune of Vanilla Ice’s (AKA: Rob Van Winkle’s) smash early 90’s hit, Ice Ice Baby. Hey Rob, if you don’t sue me for copyright infringement, I won’t mention that you forgot to negotiate the rights to “Under Pressure” with David Bowie. shower cap

But I digress. The topic is lice. I have had many discussions with parents of my generation about the confounding nature of lice, and the fact that nobody remembers anyone getting lice when we were growing up. Fast forward to the 2000’s and they are pervasive.  Our family has had the honor of having them twice.  I asked our local lice removal service if we could join their frequent flyer program.   I’ve also considered getting a chimpanzee as a family pet.  He could munch on our lice and nits all day, and I could make a lot of money renting him out to other lice-ridden families.

If you aren’t planning to acquire a chimpanzee as a preemptive strike against lice, I have outlined the six phases of lice infestation and provided a helpful protocol if you find your family in this predicament.

I went dumpster diving this morning, Seattle-style, which means it was our MASSIVE recycle bin, not a garbage can.   It really made me thankful to live in a city committed to saving our planet, where each item of waste is carefully separated.  I practically climbed inside that giant bin.  In spite of getting soaked by all the empty-ish wine bottles, I did manage to find what I was looking for; my daughter’s outdoor school permission slip. I recalled filling it out and signing Sunday night, then it just disappeared.  I looked everywhere on Monday and could only conclude that in an effort to see my kitchen counter tops, I had swept it up into a pile of recyclable paper. 

It’s hard to explain the elation I felt upon finding that sacred purple piece of paper.  My daughter had worked abfab2herself up into a frenzy, convinced she would not be attending outdoor school with the rest of her 5th grade class. If they really threw the book at her,  she might be expelled.  My daughter and I have sometimes been compared to Edina and Saffy, the mother and daughter in the BBC series, Absolutely Fabulous. While this comparison may be hyperbolic, I admit I see some truth in it. I’ve been known to fly by the seat of my pants, while she is punctual, organized, and the complete opposite of a procrastinator. Incidentally, there is no true antonym in the English language for procrastination.  Is this because it’s a rare gene mutation?

So dumpster dive I did, and off we went to school.  My feelings of goodwill after finding my needle in the haystack of recyclables carried forth through my commute.  I actually let a car turn left onto Mercer in front of me, waving the gal in, enthusiastically, as if she were my long-lost sister. I was feeling the need to give back to the universe kharmically.  Of course, I immediately regretted that selfless act, as the driver was slow and disoriented, but I did it! And I refrained from cursing at her.


It’s auction time at our school.  Even the most Napadaisical among us have to get up off the couch and volunteer, so I really throw my energies into creating original items. This year, I had some really fresh ideas for the procurement team that were sure to spark bidding frenzies, if not all out wars. To my surprise, my best ideas were rejected.  If you are active in fundraising at your children’s school, and really serious about driving big revenues, I suggest you try these out.  And please, let me know how it goes, I sense a whole new paradigm shift when these items are unleashed at school auctions across the nation. Obviously some of the items below only apply to parochial schools, but don’t worry, there is something here for everyone. Keep in mind, “It’s all for the chilren.” (Think Michael Jackson’s lilting, pre-pubescent voice. He REALLY LOVED children you know.)

1)  Auction off the Dads: Nine hot ones and one not so hot, but really, really, rich guy. Some restrictions may apply.

2)  Mother’s Little Helper Delivery Service:  Medications delivered to your door step for one year.  Thirty day’s supply. Hundreds to choose from. Guaranteed to take the edge off. Some medications may require a doctor’s note.

3)  A Great Dane Puppy or a Pony. Nonreturnable or refundable.  This one is so fun to do at the end of the night when everyone is good and sauced and can’t resist those cute little animals.

4)  Kindergarten Class Party at The Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum: It’s so fun watching the little shavers running amok amidst priceless blown glass artwork.  Proof of insurance required.

5)  Marriage Counseling: The winning bidders will receive 52 weeks of couple’s therapy from an accredited and licensed therapist.  Just hug it out guys!

6)  Straight A’s for Your Child for One Year! Nuff said.

7)  Hall Pass from Church for a Year:  We won’t track your attendance, but don’t think for one minute you are off the hook for tithing. 10% of your salary is the suggested donation. Monthly confession recommended, but not required.

8)  Star in your own Broadway Hit Musical: Musical of your choice performed at the 5th Avenue Theater in downtown Seattle.  Choose your role and we will surround you with a strong cast of professionals to help you from being a total bomb. Invite all your friends.  Includes two nights of performances, week days only, mutually agreed upon  dates/times. (We all have unfulfilled dreams don’t we? Would it be weird for a 40+ year old woman to don a red curly wig and belt out “Tomorrow”? Heck no!!!)

9)  Snack Provider Freedom: The winning-bidder will never again be asked to provide their child’s/children’s team, or group, with snacks for sports, and all other school sanctioned activities. Ever again, ever, ever, forever! (My personal favorite, along with #8)

10)  A Lilt® Home Perm Children’s Birthday Party: For your sweet child and up to 12 of their friends. We will curly wighost the party and administer the perms.  Your child will have a full head of curls, and a whole new attitude! The perm solution is highly toxic.  “Decorate your own respirator” will be the first activity, all materials provided by the host.  We recommend not shampooing the hair for at least three days after the treatment. As a bonus, this is guaranteed to kill lice and nits.

I recently purchased yet another polyester onesy for my son to wear for Halloween.  He assured me that this new ninja costume is way better than the ninja costume he wore last year, and it’s great to add to the already overflowing costume box. Children love wearing fabric made from coal and petroleum, and it makes mothers feel so good. Luckily, I already have next year’s costume figured out.

photoAt the Catholic grade school my children attend,  the third graders dress up as their favorite saint on All Saints Day.  When my daughter was in third grade, I was campaigning for St. Pauli’s Girl, the patron saint of the beer buzz.  Say what you will about  the Catholics, they really do know how to get their party on, and I figured this saint would have “broad” appeal (sorry for the bad joke). My daughter wasn’t all that keen on the idea, so we settled on St. Helene, in honor of her maternal grandmother.

If dressing up like a saint sounds like a boring prospect, think again.  There are over 10,000 Catholic saints, and this motley crew consists of some of the most macabre, strange, and downright crazy characters in history.   These guys are better than Spider Man, Iron Man or any of the Star Wars characters combined.  So who is in the running for my son? Here’s the short list. And the great news is these guys didn’t wear polyester, only natural fibers, for maximum softness and environmental friendliness.

St. Lawrence, Patron Saint of Cooks.  No doubt we will include a jaunty chef’s hat and oven mitts.  St. “Larry” was martyred by being roasted on a gridiron and famous for saying, “it is well done, turn me over”. Who doesn’t love a saint with a sense of humor?

Santa Claus as “Pimp Daddy”, rocking the fur on the collar and cuffs.  St. Nicholas dropped three bags of gold down the chimney of a poor man to provide as dowry for the man’s three daughters, saving them from a life of prostitution.  Apparently career options were limited for unmarried women in the 3rd century A.D.

And finally, my personal favorite, St. Polycarp, the patron St. of Diarrhea.  Typical martyr story, he was burned at the stake but didn’t die, so they had to stab him with daggers.   Why he gets the dubious honor of patron saint of massive colon blowouts,  is a mystery. As we know, the Lord works in mysterious ways, and  Catholicism in out-right weird ways.  But what an easy costume to assemble. A white toga with strategically placed brown stains. Done.


IMG_1241This is the Ikea cubicle shelving I purchased to really get my sons room organized. Knowing everything is in exactly the right place really helps me keep my helmet on straight. No more wasted time looking for his baseball cap or his favorite Star Wars shirt!

You might be asking, wow, I wonder what other organizational tips and tricks she has up her sleeve? My favorite is dumping the contents of the junk drawer into a grocery bag and starting over.


pumpkin2When I was a child, my sisters and I carried the same pumpkin candy carriers for the 10 or so years we trick or treated.  I suspect my mother kept them, and I really should have asked her to give them to me after I had my daughter.  I can never remember to buy those darn things, and it seems that every year my kids endure the humiliation of using a Target plastic bag or grocery bag for trick or treating. 

Approaching my daughter’s 3rd Halloween, I finally had the where-with-all to buy her a hard plastic candy receptacle, and boy, I was sure glad I did! Just before Halloween, we were playing at the park, and my daughter declared she had to go “numero dos”.  My daughter was an early potty trainer; signed, sealed, and delivered at 2 years, 2 months.  This was by no means a reflection on my brilliant mothering skills.  My son finally trained at 4-and-a-half.  I was convinced that kid would be wearing diapers to his senior prom. 

At any rate, we were in a desperate situation, and the Parks and Rec folks had already locked down all the bathrooms for the winter.  I thought I could get her to squat in the woods, but she refused.  The nearest bathroom, in my estimation, was a mile away.  I’m sure you can guess where this story is going.. In a moment of inspiration, I ran to the car and grabbed that smiling jack-o-lantern.  Well we really gave him something to smile at, and he made one heck of a potty chair.  Needless to say, my daughter once again trick-or-treated with a paper bag as candy carrier that year. Some things are just not meant to be when you grow up in my family.

© 2019 Napadaisical
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