Friday, November 30, 2012

#Lockout Problems

The question we get asked most often these NHL lockout days is, “So how are you doing with no hockey?”

And while I cannot legally comment on any specifics, I can reply with a resounding, “NOT WELL.”

I give you a text message conversation between my husband and I on a night when instead of working a game against the New York Islanders, he decided to “help” at home with the two middle children while I took our youngest to a birthday party.

Me: So what do you have planned tonight?

Him: Just ordering a movie and pizza.

Me: Cool.

10 minutes later

Him: What’s your social security number?

Me: What do you need that for?????

Him: I’m trying to order a Pay-Per-View movie and it’s not working.

Me: Why isn’t it working?

Him: I don’t know why it’s not $%&^#* working--you sound like the operator that just hung up on me twice.

Me: I appreciate your frustration sir, how can I help.

Him: If you tell me there are 9 customers in front me, I’m filing for divorce.

Four minutes later..

Me: Did it get fixed?

Him: Text Matty, I’m using my cell phone to straighten out the pizza order.

Me: I’ll just call the house phone.

Him: Don’t--I’m still on hold with the cable company.

Me: What’s wrong with the pizza order?

Him: I made the mistake of ordering cinnamon “sticks” and they only serve cinnamon “rounds.” 

Me: Why does that matter?

Him: It doesn’t unless you’re Archimedes. Which is what I’m trying to explain to them if you’d quit texting me.

20 minutes later

Him: Hey, remember that time last summer when we ordered a pizza and had it delivered to the community pool?

Me: Um, yeah??

Him: So does Papa John because that’s where they delivered our pizza.

Me: It’s November. The pool is closed.

Him: Well, some Tennessee penguins are enjoying some cinnamon rounds right now.

Me: Good thing it’s the rounds--I hear sticks are bad for penguins.

Him: I know where Papa John can stick his cinnamon right about now.

8 minutes later after a panicked text from my son.

Me: Is everything ok?

Him: Yes, dear, why do you ask?

Me: Well, your son just sent me a text saying you were swearing at the lady on the phone. He said you needed “parental control?”

Him: That’s exactly what I exercised when the cable company wouldn’t lift our parental controls and let us order a movie tonight. 

Me: I’m on my way home.

Him: No rush,  we are watching a movie on the computer.

Me: ?

Him: I told them to stick their cable box where the cinnamon don’t shine.

Me: Uh oh.

Him: We are getting a satellite dish on Monday.

Me: I hope they carry the NHL Network.

2 minutes later.

Him: @#$%^%

I repeat: NOT WELL. Please send hockey.

©Tracey Henry 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I leave you with another little ditty from my HOA

For me, this is my transition week between Fall and Christmas.

For my HOA, it is the transition time between autumn tree shedding maintenance and illiteracy.

"Subject: Proper Leave Removal 


Please let your landscape vendors know, that is a violation for them to blow leaves from your property to any common space.  Leaves from your property need to collected and removed. When leaves are blown into common areas, not only does it block up natural area drainage but also costs the HOA, since we have to have the crews make several additional trips to remove leaves in areas that have already been addressed.

I appreciate your cooperation.
Thank you
Community Management"

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Theme Park Tips--Holidays or otherwise

Our typical Thanksgiving is spent at home with me cooking way too much, squeezing more chairs around a crowded table in between home hockey games. This year (and all other lockout years) we had the opportunity to travel so we did. To Disney World.

The happiest place on earth is also a very crowded one during major holidays, but we were able to hit everything we wanted to, including the newly-expanded Fantasyland.

It can be done, my friends. And here are my quick tips on how to enjoy the Magic Kingdom with 100,000 other people.

1.) Use Fast Passes. EVERY RIDE THEY ARE OFFERED. Standby lines are for rookies.

2.) One of the longest lines we waited in all day was to get on the monorail before we even got to the park. Check the hours because they vary, but if it's a later close, think of shifting your day up by an hour or two. It cleared out around dinner time, and we could have avoided that first wait by leaving the hotel later.

3.) Do the park in a logical order. It astounds me that people crisscross hitting attractions out of order. This just adds needless time, especially if you're navigating large crowds that hate strollers. I once read that most people go to left when starting the park, but I don't think that's true if Space Mountain is to the right.

4.) Send your fastest runner ahead to collect Fast Passes. This saves you oodles of time.

5.) Did I mention Fast Passes? Because often if you are getting them for one ride, you may have the nice surprise of receiving more to another attraction. This happened for us while getting ours for Peter Pan--we got bonus passes for the new Dumbo ride.

6.) Focus on your must-see rides, but don't overlook others that may have a shorter line. Carousel of Progress might seem lame, but it sure is a cool spot to land while you wait for Buzz Lightyear. I'm looking at you, Swiss Family Robinson Tree House, Hall of Presidents and Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor.

7.) There was not a single reservation available the entirety of Thanksgiving Day inside the park (or at surrounding hotels for that matter) so if you have to settle for counter service, eat at off-times. before 11:30 or after 2:30 for lunch, early or late dinners.

8.) We are not parade people and if you aren't either, still make a note of when they are to avoid Main Street like...Main Street during a parade.

9.) Speaking of Fast Passes, they will give you an hour window in which to return. Try not to hit it at the exact return time, go about 20 minutes after the start time.

10.) Individual events like Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas parties are great if they are offered during your stay. While it seems that a 7:00 pm start time may not be enough time, tickets are less expensive than a full-day admission and you get more bang for your buck with less crowds and wait times.

Get your ears on this Christmas.
The new attractions in FantasyLand had just opened to the public earlier that week, and while we didn't get to go to the new Be Our Guest Restaurant which sounds like a Don't Miss, we enjoyed the new Ariel ride and the new Under the Big Top attractions that used to be Toon Town. Definitely worth the hype and it still has a lot to go including a new roller coaster for us big kids.

So don't be put off by the crowds this holiday season, it's about making memories. While I'm cynical about a lot of things, Disney is still one of the places my whole family enjoys together, and for that I am thankful.

And for Fast Passes.

Monday, November 19, 2012


As I asserted on Twitter last Tuesday, I think most of society's problems can be solved with a well-executed flash mob.

This proves that theory. This Smash Mob was one of the coolest things I've ever been a part of in my many years on this planet.

Friday, November 16, 2012


While many of you gear up for Thanksgiving, we here in the Diva household are preparing for Fakesgiving festivities.

Fakesgiving is my favorite holiday. Born from those many, many, many Thanksgivings that didn’t exactly go the way I had planned, Fakesgiving was a perfect pre-cursor, do-over or post-apocalyptic event which is now often more highly anticipated than the real thing.

Let me explain.

Let’s just hypothetically say that your childhood traditional Thanksgiving dinners were often assembled along plastic tablecloth-lined banquet tables in a second cousin’s thrice-removed basement in which marshmallows (in either the salad, sweet potatoes, stuffing and gravy) were the main entree. In exchange for sitting quietly in tights and too-small Mary Jane’s, your mother would cook a second Thanksgiving meal later that evening so that leftovers would be more than an empty Jello mold and your Dad could have a goddamned turkey sandwich for Crissakes, why, that would be reason for Fakesgiving.

Or let’s just say--for argument’s sake--that one year your crazy aunt took a Japanese cooking class at the Y and made everyone sit on pillows on the floor while she served hand-rolled sushi and tofurkey stir fry. Again, a second, more traditional meal would be prepared the day after so your Dad could have a goddamned turkey sandwich for Crissakes.

Or how about that year when your Dad scored Lion’s tickets and your Mom thought maybe you should eat before the game so you wouldn’t need to eat that crappy stadium food, so at 8:00 Thursday morning you ate cranberry waffles and turkey bacon? After the inevitable loss sitting in traffic, your Mom would pretend that your car was a float in the Macy’s Day parade in the parking lot of the Silverdome, and promise a feast with all the trimmings that weekend so your Dad could have his goddamned turkey sandwich for Crissakes.

Or, again, let’s just pretend that maybe later in your life you found yourself at the table of your possible future in-laws for the first time, and realized, in horror, that creamed onions, turnips, and the giblets were their Thanksgiving staples and as you wondered if this relationship had any chance whatsoever with these huge cultural differences glaring between you like the sheen from an unmolded can of cranberry sauce, you appeased yourself with a second, more familiar dinner later that week so maybe you could ponder your future over a goddamned turkey sandwich for Crissakes. 

Or who can forget the year that you and your husband decided to do something different that year, and booked a family trip at Disney? You may have realized soon after arriving that you were not the first person to think of this particular activity, and not a single restaurant on property had availability until Groundhog’s Day. With an exhausted and whiny toddler you finally pushed the stroller up to Sonny’s Star Cafe at 10:40 at night for a cheeseburger since even the turkey leg stand in Frontierland ran out before noon, you then spun tales of lumpless gravy and pumpkin pie as soon as you got home and yes, your husband can get a goddamned turkey sandwich for Crissakes that doesn’t cost $24 and shaped in mouse ears.

As you can see, there are many reasons why Fakesgiving should be an important date on everyone’s calendar. It’s the day you, as the host and guest, get to decide mashed or scalloped, dressing or stuffing, canned or homemade, and best of all, who to invite without guilt or obligation.

So Happy Fakesgiving, friends. I am as grateful for you as my Dad is for that goddamned turkey sandwich for Crissakes.

This is also being cross-posted at as I attempt to breathe some life back into the column. Please feel free to sign up for newsletters over there so you won't miss a thing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I've never been thankful for a glue gun

The extent of my Thanksgiving crafting abilities has been limited to a rather racy bunch of burlesque pine cone turkeys and some dried bean studded napkin rings that resulted in a broken vacuum cleaner and two cracked fillings. Fortunately, I have found some other ideas that don't look so dangerous or PG-13.

Here are a  few from my friends at the National Wildlife Foundation. I particularly like the pumpkin vase and leaf display.

And the folks at know me too well know and sent me some more themed-meal addiction fodder with these Thanksgiving treats.

I'll make sure Jessie washes her hands before we trace it.

Check out more here, including that Tiny Thanksgiving Dinner of which is not even fair to tempt me with.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Cookie chump Mom

I consider myself an expert on very few things in this world. Mummy meatloaf, Twitter, $12 bottles of wine and maybe cookies.

On Saturday morning I found out just what a novice I am in the latter despite my recent intensive training on the subject.

You see, I have been coerced against my will volunteered to be the "Cookie Mom" for our Girl Scout Troop. I thought this would be a relatively simple endeavor--how difficult can it be to order a few cases of Thin Mints for 15 third graders? They kind of sell themselves, right?


I have now completed 28 hours of required training which--among other helpful life skills--include the sustainability of palm oil, the nutrition facts of a Samoa and how to bedazzle a card table to set up in front of Home Depot. My schooling was a combination of 39 online videos followed by SAT essay questions, a Saturday morning in-person session beginning at 7:30 am and ending 2 days later, and an on-going tutorial with a website that seems to crash my browser and my spirit.

But I am now certified to compile your Tagalong orders beginning December 24th which I can assert with expert certainty goes nicely with a $12 bottle of Hey Mambo.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

I should have started my candidacy earlier than 10 this morning

And since you already know my presidential pick, I will tell you that for the first time in my voting career I also wrote-in two candidates in my local races for the House and U.S. Senate. Me and, uh, me.

Sadly, both races were basically unopposed and I just think that's criminal. The political process needs good people running and not just settling for the loudest (and richest). So hopefully tomorrow I'll be announcing my Senatorial win and shopping for suits and a smart carry-on bag.

But for now, I wait. It's the middle of the afternoon and I've got applesauce simmering on the stove and rolls rising on the counter. Tonight's theme is comfort food as we watch the returns, eat ice cream from the carton and wine from the bottle. No one knows what the outcome will be, so tomorrow half of us will be elated, half disappointed and most all sleepy and slightly hungover.

At least we will all be comforted together knowing that the political ads and campaign solicitation emails will cease for about a week until we gear up for 2016.

Monday, November 05, 2012

More HOA Fun or I live in the weirdest place ever

Actual letter today from our HOA.

In an effort to save money and to be more echofriendly, we stocked the ponds with tilapia.  These fish multiply quickly and eat most all the vegetation in the ponds.  This keeps us from having to add pesticides and other chemicals in the water.
Tilapia is a warm water fish and when the water gets to cold the fish will die off.  You may have noticed fish floating in the ponds.  When the fish die, it attracts the turkey buzzards that come around to eat the dead fish.  This should only last for a few days.
These large black birds are causing a lot of attention and I wanted to make sure the community knew there is no reason to be alarmed.
Thank you-
Community Management

My pretend response:

Community Management;

Does being "echofriendly" mean that we will be constructing a stone ravine or cave in which our voices will finally be able to reverberate or will we be hiring people to repeat everything we say three fading times when on designated walking paths? Because it's about time we addressed echo issues in our community.

Thank you for the explanation regarding the large black birds. I was worried that some residents were ignoring the leash laws or it was a sign of the Apocalypse or something. Good to know that it is just a circle of life thing brought on by budget concerns.

I look forward to the annual Fish Fry at the Clubhouse being scheduled sooner rather than later. Perhaps the proceeds can be used for a spellcheck upgrade on the community servers or hiring a marine biologist to consult on a breed of fish that can survive a temperature dip lower than 60 degrees.

Hugs, Hugs, Hugs,

The most wonderful time of the year

My favorite holiday of the year just passed this weekend.
It’s better than any Halloween treat. More exciting than Fourth of July fireworks. It’s got the New Year’s Eve magic without the New Year’s Day hangover. It’s like Christmas without all of the shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating and obligatory parties. It is the perfect gift of a day for an exhausted and overwhelmed mother like me.

It’s Daylight Savings Day.

Although it has no official anthem, I find myself humming “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” weeks before its arrival. I decorate by fluffing my pillows and wearing footed pajamas. My children and I reverse roles. They send me to bed on Saturday night with a wink and a warning that the clocks won’t turn back if I’m awake to watch it. I squeeze my eyes shut and pretend to sleep as I listen for tell-tale signs like hooves on the roof or incessant winding.
If I were to personify Daylight Savings Day, I would mascot it with a benevolent Mother Nature character. She is warm and nurturing, and every autumn, she turns our clocks back while she tucks us in snugly. She tandems with Mr. Sandman and together, they grant the wish most uttered amongst worn-out folks like myself: “Just one more hour of sleep…PLEASE!” as we hurl the alarm clocks and baby monitors across the room.
The Daylight Savings Fairy must be the patron saint of parents or something. Because Daylight Savings doesn’t occur at 11 a.m. when you could get an extra hour of time at work or on the treadmill. It doesn’t commence at 3 in the afternoon for an extra hour of carline. And it most definitely doesn’t start during the airing of “High School Musical” 1 or 2. No, we are given our additional hour at drowsy 2 am, when you are either sleeping, or doing something that would require an added hour to post bail. Blessedly, all dry cleaners, Toys R Us stores and restaurants with crayons and paper placements are closed.
And if I didn’t know any better, I’d swear that the holiday was to commemorate two ancient Greek gods, the lovely nymph, Fallbackius and her horrible ogre of a sister Springforwardusa. The latter is the most evil creature in history, torturing parents with cruel sleep deprivation. Her feast day has all the celebratory spirit as April 15th. I hate Springforwardusa. I will never speak of her again.
And please do not rain on my Easter parade and give me some perfectly reasonable explanation that Daylight Savings wasn’t even practiced until World War I, and even then it wasn’t really uniform until the mid ‘70’s when Congress passed a law blah blah blah. Don’t start yammering to me about energy issues. Because it’s the same as my Chicken Picatta; I’d rather not know where it comes from, just that it goes nicely on a bed a fettuccine. Or in this case, on a bed of high thread count Egyptian cotton.
This holiday requires no phone calls, no mailing of cards or good wishes. It’s the one day of the year that living on borrowed time is a good thing. The more silent, the better. So on Sunday, please just count a sheep for me or two. I’ll sign your name to the card to Fallbackius next to her plate of Unisom cookies and warm milk.
And when I awake on Sunday morning to that beautiful, innocent joy of knowing that it is really 7:00 a.m. instead of 8:00 and rolling back over wrapping up tightly in my blanket, I’ll not know for a blessed moment if it is just another day in November or Christmas morning.
But for my worn out maternal body that lately has been falling asleep during AC/DC concerts and ringside space shuttle launches, it’ll be a day of Thanksgiving.

(©2007 Tracey Henry. Originally a Suburban Diva post way back then, but still holds true today.)

Friday, November 02, 2012


Last night I live-tweeted the CMA's which is really fun and relevant as the show was broadcast live, but the morning after this particular medium falls just short of coherent.

But if you did watch, and appreciate 140-character observations, here's a recap. 

 And to sum it all up at the end of a long, but entertaining night:

Taylor to Blake: "I'm going to let you finish, but you should have never ever ever ever ever won that. Like ever."

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Country Music Awards

There's been a lot of seriousness in the recent days behind us, and there's sure to be coming up in the immediate days ahead of us, so how about a few hours of nonsense in between?

I'll be live-tweeting the CMA's (Country Music Awards) from Nashville tonight as I attend the event, red-carpet and maybe an after-party, so tune in and follow me @Subdiva on Twitter tonight for a running commentary of all things bedazzled here in Music City tonight. It will be great fun, I promise.

Recap tomorrow here if I'm not arrested for stalking. Or libel.