Sunday, April 30, 2006


As the Feral Mom points out here, it's National Poetry Month. Now, I may have majored in English, but I've scarcely even been fond of poems. I do make an exception for haiku—and not heartfelt haiku, but snotty/snarky/wiseacre haiku. Like the ones the Feral Mom has composed. My favorite of hers:

Belly swings gently
Two lobes, slight crease in middle
It's my second ass

Here's a topical one I'll write about how I'm feeling right this minute:

A migraine sucks ass
I threw some codeine at it
The fucker came back

Yes, that's right. I'm having a cranky day, and I'm still in my pajamas at 6 p.m. (Don't worry about passing along advice for managing migraines. I know all the tricks, and I only get a really pesky one like this every couple years. And it's not as if I'm vomiting, or unable to sit upright.)

Anyway, please think of something you have a bad attitude about and write a haiku about it in the comments, 'kay? Let us all wallow in a Haikupalooza of Pissiness. Pissiness, Snarkiness, Rudeness—anything with no socially redeeming overtones will do.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

With bullets, who needs transitions?

American Idol recently had Queen day, and one of the contestants sang "We Will Rock You." This has brought a classic rock song to a new generation, which is great. However, one of Ben's kindergarten classmates sang snippets of the song for him, and both boys told me how much they like that song—which they render as "We Will Walk You." I assured the boys that the song's actually "We Will Rock You," but they're having none of it. Ben sang snippets for his dad—"We will, we will walk you. Walk you!" Mr. Tangerine corrected him, of course, but Ben's having none of it. He knows it's a song about walking. Which, if you think about it, is no more nonsensical to a six-year-old than being rocked by someone.

• Ben crashed and burned in yoga class yesterday. The moves were too hard, and he found it frustrating. He kept coming over to my lap for motherly solace, eventually turning on the tears. So I took him home early. (This yoga class? Is crazy. It's not soothing and peaceful at all. Those girls are LOUD. And some of them are TOTALLY HYPER. LIKE, I THINK THEY MIGHT NEED MEDICATION that they're not receiving. In all seriousness.) Today, we finally made it to his new dodgeball class, having missed the first three for reasons of spring break and maternal spaced-outness. And Ben absolutely LOVED dodgeball! He didn't seek out my lap. Hell, he didn't even glance my way after the one time he gave me a thumbs-up. I'll leave it up to Ben as to whether he wants to give yoga another try next week. If he doesn't, that's fine with me, because the noise level at yoga is so much greater than the noise level at dodgeball. (Plus, yoga class is free, so it's no skin off my back to quit.)

Midwestern Deadbeat wanted to know the story behind the name of this humble blog. (Hey, first I typed "blug." Shouldn't that be a word for something? Maybe for an entomology blog?) I promised to make up something juicy (hah! juicy!), but I'll be damned if I can think of a good story. The real story is that I rather randomly chose "Orange" as my screen name after I started commenting at other blogs. Other people had such clever and cryptic names, and using my first name clearly wouldn't do. Then when Psycho Kitty goaded me into starting my own blog (with a very charming, "And where's your blog, young lady? *tap, tap, tap*"—thanks, girl!), I needed a blog name. I don't know how I came up with the idea of tacking Tangerine on. I think Blogger wanted my full name and I made up first name Orange, last name Tangerine? And then used the same thing for the blog name? I dunno. Aren't you sorry you asked, Deadbeat? I sometimes contemplate writing a post full of links to all the orange and tangerine things I like, but wouldn't that be more boring than this? I did just order something called Pussy Pucker Pots in Tangerine from Flea's Honeysuckle Shop garage sale; it's flavored lip balm.

• One of the local TV news programs has this plug on their site: "The best local news coverage doesn't get any better with Mark Suppelsa and Robin Robinson." Does it get worse? Or does it merely stagnate?

• I can't believe I wrote that I dreamt I was making out with a blogger, and not a single one of you guys wrote a comment or an e-mail. All I'll say further is that if I haven't met you in real life, you weren't the guy in the dream...

• The last reader question is from JT: "What makes you the best mom in the world?" Easy. I had the foresight to marry Mr. Tangerine, who's the best dad in the world. He's patient where I'm not, willing to take destinationless El and bus rides strictly to entertain Ben, dedicated, devoted, sweet, and incredibly affectionate.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Blogger meet-up in the arms of Morpheus

My most vivid dreams come late in the course of sleep, not long before I awaken.

This morning, I dreamed that I was moving into Lisa's house. It didn't actually look anything like her house—it was some sort of odd communal duplex, and this other couple had moved out of their half and left most of their stuff behind—such as a gold Corvette with a scratched front bumper, left parked in front of the garage. Lisa's husband looked wary and said, "You're only staying for three days this time, right?" Nope, I'm staying for months, I replied. (Who knows why?)

The scene changed to a large room with about 20 people crowded together, all standing. There was talk of pairing up, so a man near me popped a piece of gum in his mouth to freshen his breath. Then he shared it with me (though I don't typically chew ABC gum in my waking life). Then the lights were dimmed, the gum had magically disappeared, and we were totally making out, our mouths pressing and yielding, tongues teasing each other, bodies close, arms holding and squeezing...delicious, warm, inviting, promising.

And then I woke up and couldn't get back to the dream. Dammit! You're probably saying to yourself, "That dream's not all that interesting, and it doesn't even go anywhere. Why is she posting it?" Well, the guy with the gum is also a blogger and will probably read this post. I could say who it was, but isn't it more fun to wonder?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Comparison shopping: Lego vs. Mega Bloks

Trying to decide what sort of plastic building blocks to buy for a kid? Trying to choose between Legos and Mega Bloks? This diagnostic tool will help you choose.

1. What's your preference for manufacturing calibration?
a. I like everything just so, perfect and reliable.
b. Pshaw! I'm not anal like that—I enjoy the surprise inherent in not knowing if a given piece will be too loose, difficult to snap together, or just right.

2. What themes in play do you prefer?
a. I like socially positive toys, such as creative blank slates, rescue equipment, Harry Potter, and hospitals.
b. The more militaristic, the better; tiny men with tiny fake automatic weapons are charming; actual firing of miniature missiles ("You'll shoot your eye out"), a huge plus.

3. Have you got issues with packaging?
a. I appreciate efficiency and organization. When you've got hundreds of pieces, order is essential. Numbered bags of parts keyed to the instructions are a big help.
b. I'm so adept that I don't mind at all if those hundreds of pieces have been placed almost at random in unnumbered bags. I enjoy the challenge of plucking little pieces out of five different piles.

For each a answer, give yourself 1 point. For each b answer, give yourself 1.23794 points. If your total score is greater than 3 points, consider Mega Bloks. If your score is precisely 3 points, you will appreciate the Scandinavian orderliness of Legos. Whatever your choice, good luck and happy building!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Now We Are Six

Today is Ben's sixth birthday. The celebrations at school start out with 150+ kindergartners singing "Happy Birthday" to him, involve the birthday boy wearing a paper crown all day, and culminate in birthday treats in the lunchroom. (Ben has requested donuts, which I'll go buy shortly.) Yesterday we had my family over, and on Saturday, I hosted Ben's kid party at Chuck E. Cheese's. I kid you not! Basically, it's the slacker mom's approach to party planning: No need to bake, cook, or clean the house. Ben had a great time, of course, but I found 3½ hours at Chuck's house to be mentally exhausting. I sat around the rest of the afternoon, stunned into a near coma. But I'd do it again, I would.

Now, Mona's questions, as promised. She asked me to describe my first, second, or best time, or share a recipe for magic brownies. How about a hybrid? My first time was, lo these many years later, not so memorable. I was freshly 21 and about to start my senior year of college. (I kissed around rather than sleeping around. Oh, the missed opportunity!) I'd spent the summer working on campus, and this guy from northern Minnesota, J., had come to town for a karate tournament being held in the college gym. I fell for him instantly, and J. liked me, too—but love? That was reserved for the girl who'd dumped him and moved away. We wrote letters and talked on the phone, and when he came back to visit me a few weeks later...or was it when I went to visit him? I have no idea what part of the state I lost my virginity in. Might've been my room, might've been his apartment up north. No recollection. It was all right, but the earth didn't move. In his apartment, J. had a poster on the wall—of tawdry Samantha Fox. (Oy.) And yet I was convinced I was in love with him.

About six months later, J. learned that his ex-girlfriend was moving back to town, and he was hoping for another shot at a relationship with her—so he dumped me right before Valentine's Day (and not in person!). I wailed melodramatically, of course...and then suddenly noticed how attractive that guy across the hall was. (Ah, the benefits of coed dorms.) A couple months later, that cute guy and I got physical. And that second "first time," it was readily apparent that the young man who would one day be known as Mr. Tangerine was good with his hands. Really good. He's got long, slender hands with the dexterity to fold tiny origami creatures (in another era, he'd have been a hell of a watchmaker). Good hands, and he's been nice enough to share them with me for 18 years now. The rest of his body works well, too, but it was the hands that immediately moved Mr. Tangerine to the top of my list of lovers. Sure, there's only one other guy on the list, but I've never regretted getting married relatively young. When you're lucky enough to meet your other half years earlier than you expected to, you hold on tight, and you make a life together.

Well, it appears I've moved on to addressing E.'s request to hear about the Courtship of the Tangerines. Mr. Tangerine took a break that last quarter of my senior year and ended up graduating two years after me. So that meant that we had a long-distance relationship for more than two years. We started hanging out in February 1988, first slept together that April, first declared our love for each other that August, and got engaged the next February. Being a modern couple, he gave me his mom's old engagement ring and I gave him a diamond earring. (And we don't wear either of them any more! I need to get the ring resized, and Mr. Tangerine stopped wearing an earring before he started working in the financial district.) We continued the long-distance thing, routinely horrifying both our families during our visits to one another's homes (the parents said we couldn't share a room, but we flouted the rules like mad. The old folks forgave us a long time ago...I think.)

When Mr. Tangerine graduated in 1990, he joined me in Chicago and we set up housekeeping in a wee apartment on the North Side (less than a mile from where we live now—apparently we like the neighhborhood...). He got a job early in 1991, clearing the way to get married (we'd been engaged for two years and absolutely planned to spend our lives together, but had never set a wedding date). We decided to elope at City Hall without telling our families ahead of time...but when we went to pick up our marriage license, the basement of the City Hall/the County building was so dingy. Fiberglass chairs, fluorescent lighting...less romantic than the standard DMV facility. We resolved instead to get married in a courthouse in the 'burbs, and then decided to invite our families after all. They had about two weeks' notice. We had our parents, most of our siblings, and most of my grandparents there. My sister's friend served as the photographer, and the caterer was brunch at a restaurant in Lincoln Park. A few weeks later, we slaked the thirst of the other relatives for a reception and had a smallish catered thing at my parents' house. Total cost for wedding apparel, catering, and everything else: less than $1,500. We honeymooned over Christmas in St. Croix. And then we enjoyed each other's company for several more years before even thinking about having children. That's one huge advantage of getting married young (or being in a relationship) and having reliable birth control—you have time to be a couple, to sleep in on weekends, to vacation, to get settled financially, to do whatever you please whenever the mood strikes, before parenthood changes your lives.

Speaking of parenthood, I've got to go buy a couple dozen donuts. If you'll excuse me...

Friday, April 21, 2006

One question answered, plus shopping!

Okay, I promised to answer your questions. The first one up is Becky The Absent-Minded Housewife, who asks, "When snow melts, where does the white go?" I had no idea, so I Googled it. A rather dry scientist says, "The 'white' did not really exist on its own - it was a property of the arrangement of the water molecules in snow, and disappears as soon as that arrangement is changed."

There's a much more in-depth answer, with plenty of interesting details on glaciers and photons, from Hannah Holmes at Check it out yourself. The bottom of the page has links to other "The Skinny On..." articles, such as the must-read piece on Why Asparagus Makes Your Pee Stink". Interestingly, about three quarters of people may say that asparagus doesn't make their pee stink. But guess what? If you take the non-stinkers' pee and let a stinker sniff it, boy howdy, does it ever stink! Some people just don't know how bad their pee smells after they've eaten asparagus.

That puts me in mind of an old joke I love. As told here:

A woman goes into the doctor's office and says, "Doctor, you have to help me...I've got this problem: You see, I can't stop farting. I fart all the time, only they are silent and don't stink. As a matter of fact, I've farted 20 times just now while talking to you."

The doctor fills out a prescription and tells the lady, "Here, take these and come back in a week."

So she leaves and a week later comes back to the doctor's office. "Doctor, doctor, you must help me! Now things are worse. I'm still farting all the time, they are still silent but now they smell something awful. You must do something! What were those pills you gave me?"

The doctor replied, "Oh don't worry. Those pills were just to fix your sinus condition; now we'll work on your hearing problem."

Shopping? Yes, I mentioned shopping. I just placed a sizeable order with Amazon. First, "The Electric Company" DVD for Ben, because Flea just got me in a tizzy about it, and Ben thinks Letterman looks groovy.

Second, another copy of The Incredibles on DVD, because Ben gouged our first copy by getting it wedged in the DVD player.

Third, "Summer Bridge Activities" for kindergarten to first grade—a workbook to keep Ben's brain alive this summer so he's ready to kick ass in first grade. (Per the teacher's recommendation.)

Fourth—and this is where I'm a bad girl—I just dropped ninety bucks on "Like, Omigod! The '80s Pop Culture Box (Totally)" box set of 142 songs. Mona had confessed to buying the '70s version of this, but you know what? I'm an '80s girl. I'm interested in less than half the songs on the '70s discs, whereas most of the '80s songs inspire nostalgia, an embarrassing amount of "Ooh, I wanna hear that song!" Like, I don't need to hear Billy Squier's "The Stroke" more than once, but just once? It'd be kinda funny. I see only one Duran Duran song in this compilation, but that's okay because I have Rio on CD already (and in previous lives, I had the record and the tape). A little Cyndi Lauper, Human League, Thompson Twins (I had the hugest crush on that guy—bonus points to anyone who can remember his name), "Major Tom (Coming Home)" (I bought the album, complete with songs in German), Naked Eyes, Kajagoogoo (c'mon! Kajagoogoo!), Night Ranger's guilty pleasure "Sister Christian," Deniece Williams' "Let's Hear It for the Boy" from Footloose ("Maybe he's no Romeo, but he's my lovin' one-man show..."). Sure, I'll have to skip over Starship's "We Built This City" because it is an abomination unto music, but CDs make it so easy to skip the crap. I could go on, really I could, but I must stop before this devolves into an "All '80s, All the Time" blog.

In comments on the last post, both Ken/Cazique and Charlie offered earnest recommendations that I buy a card reader rather than a USB cable for my camera...but as it turns out, that USB cable was right on my dresser all along. (I'm not the most organized at completing the unpacking process after a trip.)

Up next (by which I mean another day), more reader questions will be answered. But my goodness! Some of those questions are mighty personal. I'll do a combo for Mona's questions, and cover my first first time and my second first time. E. wants to hear my courtship story. Jeezalou, that's an old tale! I will have to get in the way-way-back machine for that one, too. And then I'll fake an answer for Midwestern Deadbeat's question about the origins of the "Orange Tangerine" name.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


You know where my USB cable is for the digital camera? I think it's in Florida. Hmm, I think I need to buy a new one. Vacation photos, Badcock and all, must wait.

In the meantime, ask me something, and I will do my citrusy best to answer. I've been feeling uncreative of late, with the needle on my blogfodderometer running near "E." Help me fill my post tank, won't you? And for considerably less than $3 a gallon? There will be (invisible) prizes for the funniest and most insightful questions.

(Concept of a plea for questions yoinked from Siddity in the City's posts last week.)

I throw down the glove

Yes, I challenge you—with a single white, sequined glove. That's right: It's a Michael Jackson challenge. Can you or someone you love do the moonwalk?

Tonight, there was a moonwalk-on-ice race on this show called Banzai, which inspired Mr. Tangerine to slide out of his slippers and begin moonwalking on the living room rug.

Who's got some mad Jacko skillz? Anyone? Please tell me I'm not the only one living with a closet moonwalker.

Monday, April 17, 2006

New addition to the freebie list

Mona just added Terrence Howard to her Fantasy Boyfriend list after seeing him in Hustle and Flow. I just saw him in a different movie, 1999's The Best Man, and he was actually one of the less attractive cast members. He was edged out in the pretty-boy competition by Taye Diggs, who's all right, but he definitely wasn't the hottest man in that movie.

Morris Chestnut, he's the one. I mean, glance through the Google image search results. His character in The Best Man was a jock and a womanizer (meh), but man, is he easy on the eyes.

I'm adding Morris to my freebie list. Nobody's rotating off the list, though. There's no reason to limit the list to five names, is there? Of course there isn't.

Who has caught your eye recently?

Saturday, April 15, 2006


What a lovely welcome-home gift, for my return from Florida to be greeted with Florida-type weather here in Chicago. Usually it's a harsh slap in the meteorological face (what?) when a Midwesterner comes home from a warmer clime. On the down side, I always like a 20-degree advantage when I vacation outside of the summer months. It's such a rip-off to expend money and no small effort just to get the same weather the folks have for free back home. At least the Midwest in April is not conducive to swimming outdoors or going to the beach, so I've got that.

This was a low-key vacation. One of our few vacationy events was taking a river "cruise" followed by dinner. Ben pronounced the cruise to be boring, the lowlight of the trip, and the restaurant sucked. But check this out: We grown-ups (me, Mr. Tangerine, and the mister's aunt) each ordered a glass of wine. The waitress deemed the aunt and me to be clearly over 21, but Mr. Tangerine? Carded. He just turned 40, sure, but apparently he could pass for 20. Or 19. My teen husband. Father of my almost-6-year-old kid. (I feel like a virtual Mary Kay Letourneau.) The lesson here is that without his Transforming Paste, Mr. Tangerine's hair goes crazy and he looks like a kid. (A hot one, if I do say so myself.) We weren't sure which of us should be more offended, him for getting carded or me for not getting carded when he did. Anyone? (I take solace in the fact that I was carded myself some weeks back.)

We flew home last night, and when we reached Baggage Claim Carousel 5, there were a dozen stacks of empty luggage bins making their way around the track. Soon they were joined by some luggage...and more stacks of bins. Eventually there were about 30 stacks of bins on the carousel, and they started getting bunched up where the conveyor belt goes back behind the wall. Two responsible passengers took it upon themselves to hoist stack after stack of bins to clear the logjam and keep the bags moving. I wasn't sure if it looked more like something out of "I Love Lucy" (the chocolates) or "Candid Camera"...but no film crew ever emerged to laugh at those people. Say what you will about United Airlines (try not to curse too much, dears), but I gotta say I prefer United to American. American's half ounce of pretzels sucks, man. And United's flight attendants make far more trips up and down the aisle to gather up empty cans, cups, and snack bags. American, they made us fester amid our measly snack-related debris. (Who, me? Petty? Nah.)

I haven't downloaded my pictures yet, but I did get a lovely photo of the Badcock home furnishings sign. (I still don't know what possessed the Badcock family not to choose a business name like "Furniture of Distinction.") We didn't make it into downtown Inverness, which is where "The Daily Show" taped the segment on the Cooter Festival and where I had seen the "save a fish, eat a cooter" shirt in a barbershop window. Another time, perhaps...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Technical matters

I'd planned to be blogging regularly from vacation, but dudes, the place I'm staying has a dial-up connection. At this very moment, I am blocking incoming calls to a relative's house.'s lame. I'm back down by my in-laws' part of Florida, where they have the "Save a Fish, Eat a Cooter" t-shirts, where there's a U-Kill-Em do-it-yourself pest control store, and where there is a furniture store called Badcock. I'm going to try to get a picture of it this time. "Badcock! No biscuit!"

Have been to a small beach at the Gulf of Mexico, not very spring-breaky. Although there were six college boys in board shorts playing football on the beach, one with a nice build and five scrawny guys. (One was a dead ringer for Screech of "Saved by the Bell.") Anyway, shirtless guys wrestling each other to the sand? Is it just me or is that vaguely homoerotic?

Sorry the word-verification thing is back. I turned it off to see if the internet's miscreants would leave me be, but the spambots leave more comments than my lovely readers, so you're back to having to type in things like frkjnqww.

Time for dinner. Toodles, dears!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Still coughing

You know the hard thing about having a powerful cough after you've had a kid? It makes you wish you did Kegels regularly. If I'm standing up when a cough strikes, I have to cross my legs. I'm doing a helluva job, if you don't mind my saying so, avoiding the disgorgement of anything other than phlegm when I cough. Still haven't barfed or peed my pants. I do sometimes feel a little light-headed right after I cough, though, and it tastes terrible—am I dying, DoctorMama? Should I call my physician?

My client warned me that this is the respiratory virus that gives you a cough that lasts for nearly a month, so I've got about three weeks to go. She also said I should take an antihistamine, which I thought sounded odd, but that recent consensus statement from the pulmonary specialists seems to say not only that over-the-counter cough suppressants are largely useless, but that taking an antihistamine and decongestant may help with an infection-related cough. You know what? I think it does help. So if you get hit with the whammy cough—cough starts first, then the cold symptoms follow—there is hope. Have a Benadryl and a decongestant. If you don't want to sign over your first-born child to score some pseudoephedrine (come on! quit sniffling! you're not sick, you just want to cook some meth! we can see it in your eyes!), try the phenylephrine. It works just fine for me.

Wow. Worst post ever! But hopefully useful if you're coughing.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

It's a good thing

...that Mr. Tangerine is at the office most of the day. This cough I've got, it's at its worst when I laugh. And Mr. Tangerine has a terrible habit of being funny. Here's the sequence:

He cracks wise.

I laugh.

My lungs go into paroxysms of coughing.

I almost throw up.

I haven't puked...yet. But I've come mighty close. Does anyone know how to make a man unfunny while a respiratory infection runs its course? Should I seek medical attention? Or should I just knock Mr. Tangerine out? Maybe try earplugs?

Monday, April 03, 2006

It's hard out there for a worm

Walking Ben to school in a downpour (or, in Ben's lingo, a pourdown) this morning, I discovered the sidewalk was adorned with stretching and squirming earthworms flushed out of the mud. How many might I have squished before I realized they were there? Poor worms. Once I saw them, I was careful to step around them, clearing my worm karma à la "My Name Is Earl." You see, when I was 4 or 5 years old, I once collected worms on a rainy day. I plucked the worms out of their puddly milieu and put them in the pocket of my raincoat. And what a raincoat it was! A clear vinyl shell showing the fabric liner with pretty pink flowers. I do not recall whether the pockets were clear and revealed their contents to the casual observer, or if my mother had to wait for the smell of dried-up worms to waft out of the jacket before she knew there was some cleaning to do.

Worm karma? Worma.