budget-fall-fashion-cardigan It’s Fall and I wanted to buy a couple of shirts and maybe a cardigan that I could wear with jeans, for those days where wearing yoga pants just isn’t possible. So I was looking on Eddie Bauer (or somewhere) thinking I could find something comfortable with a soft fabric that if I’m recording, won’t make weird rustling noises when I move my arm. (The things you have to worry about when you’re a narrator. I can never wear corduroy again.)

I found a comfy looking cardigan and checked the reviews. “This cardigan is so stylish and comfortable!” One review said. That sounded promising. The next review promised that “You can wear this sweater everywhere and you’ll look fashionable.” Okay. Another plus. I want to look fashionable. I want to be comfortable!

There were dozens and dozens of glowing reviews mentioning comfort, style, and ease of wear. That last one seemed a little weird. Then I looked at the ages of all the reviewers. There wasn’t one reviewer under the age of 70.

I thought, huh. So these are my people. These are my fashion sisters. I have now slipped into the time of my life when the ease of wearing a cardigan is heralded.

I didn’t buy the sweater. I’m not ready yet.


Screen Shot 2014-09-21 at 8.50.31 AM



My son woke up with a cough and a slight fever. I sat with him on his bed while he drank juice that I snuck cough syrup into. It was two in the morning and I was struggling to stay awake. I got him a snack, rubbed his back, then gave him the iPad to watch an episode of Fool Us, a magic show with Penn & Teller. After awhile I said, “So, are you okay now? Can I go back to bed, or do you need me here?”

My son thought for a moment and then said, “You know, ma, it’s really comforting having you at my feet.”

Ah. Yes. I stayed.


Screen Shot 2014-09-21 at 8.51.49 AM


One of the new shirts I bought, is a fitted button-up plaid sort of thing. It makes me feel like a soccer mom who is about to go camping (even though my kids don’t like sports and we don’t camp). I wore it on Friday and everywhere I went I felt like people were staring at me. An older woman looked at me and gasped. Men smiled. One winked. Later, I looked at myself in the mirror. The shirt is fitted in just a way that my breasts look ENORMOUS. I mean, I am kinda busty, but this shirt makes me look like I could be the wet nurse to a village of babies. In fact, I sorta felt like babies were stalking me the way bunnies stalk this lady:

Could be worse, I guess. I’m wearing the shirt again next week.

Foibles. I call myself @Blunder_Woman on Twitter for a reason. But now…at 41…I’m no longer really embarrassed by my little snafus. It just doesn’t feel like a well-lived day if I haven’t embarrassed myself at least a little.

Mommy Screams A Lot AKA What Happened At The Fireworks

When you call yourself quirky, it’s really just a way of saying that you might have a few issues that are hopefully endearing. I know this because I call MYSELF quirky. One of my many issues is that I jump at big noises. There are lots of reasons for this. You could say a few traumatic things happened to me in childhood. OR maybe it was my brother hiding out in his treehouse with his BB gun, always on the lookout, possibly for me. Maybe it was the crazy girl down the block who wrapped up a ventriloquist dummy with rope and said that at night if I heard anything, it was probably because the dummy came alive and was coming for me. Or maybe it’s because I was in New York on 9/11 and that whole thing made me jumpy. Whatever. Pick your poison. magic-fats1

Usually, I handle all this really well. (At least I think I do; Kealoha just shrugs.) When there’s a thunderstorm, and if we’re asleep, I gasp awake, grab the covers and run down to the basement. Kealoha usually doesn’t even notice. He’s a very deep sleeper.

But. BUT. You can imagine that I might not be the best person to have with you during the 4th of July. Every time a firework goes off, I jump/scream, feel my heart thump against my rib cage, mutter an obscenity or two, and settle down just in time for another one to explode. When the crowd goes “Oooooh, Ahhhhhh, Oooooo” I go “Ugh! Eek! Muther fucker, really? REALLY? WHAT IS THE POINT OF EXPLODING THINGS? WHY IS THIS FUN? I FEEL LIKE A LITTLE MANNEQUIN IS SHOOTING AT ME WITH A BB GUN! ARRRRGGGGGHH!”

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 5.18.11 PM

Ahem. Anyway. So.

The kids wanted Kealoha and I to take them to fireworks.

KEALOHA: It’ll be fun!

ME: Uhhhhh….

We went to the fireworks.

All evening as dusk slowly descended, I felt a boa constrictor wrapping around my chest. I should’ve brought wine. I should’ve taken an anti-anxiety pill. But I thought I’d be fine. If I could find some French fries, I could float away on the bliss of vinegar and oil and salt and deep-fried happiness. But the food trucks were not selling fries! No! They were only selling giant polish sausages, and I can’t eat that in public without feeling dirty.

Night fell. I was pretty sure I could see Sauron’s Eye flickering in the distance.


Then the explosions started, and thus I began: “Arh! Eek! FUhhhh….dge!”

Here is the rest of the scene:

MOXIE: Mommy screams a lot! I’m going to call that firework the Mommy Screams A Lot firework!

ME: Ach! Ohmygod. My heart! My HEART!

KEALOHA: That one looks like a fireball. I’m going to call that one Fireball!

KEALOHA, MOXIE, AND FRANZ: Ooooh, Ahhhh, Ooooo!

ME: Eek! Ow! NnoooOOoOO!

MOXIE: There’s Mommy Screams A Lot! That one’s my favorite! It makes Mommy jump.

FRANZ: That one looks like a pork chop!

KEALOHA: Pork chop? Huh. I think that one is my favorite.

ME: How. Long. Does. This. LAST?


At the finale, I’m pretty sure I passed out. When I came to, we gathered our stuff and walked with everyone else into the overcrowded parking ramp. By the time we got out an hour later, I’d calmed down remarkably. The kids want to go again next year.

I told them “We’ll see”.

Parenting Win?

It’s Spring Break and we’re on a staycation. Kealoha has to work and the kids’ biodad is off in Sedona with his wife. Their step-siblings are off on a cruise with their dad and their friends have been whisked away by very wealthy parents to Disney World, California, Italy, and I’m pretty sure someone is flying in a private jet to an island somewhere. (This is what happens when your kids go to East Grand Rapids.) I told my kids if they want an island, build one out of Legos and take a bath. I’ve been trying to do fun things with the kids to pass the time. First, I gave them a ball of cheese and said that they could watch the mold grow on it. It would be hours of entertainment! HOURS! My daughter glared at me, popped the cheese ball in her mouth and made that idea disappear.

Cheese balls! Hours of entertainment!

Plan two. We took them to the Van Andel Museum to see the dinosaur and Lego exhibits. We leaned back in the planetarium and learned about constellations from a very sweet and energetic college-aged student.

Yesterday, I decided to take them to a hotel for the night. I figured if they fell asleep in the car, I’d tell them we were really in Florida. Alas, they didn’t fall asleep during the ten-minute drive, so I lost out on that. We got to the hotel, they put on their suits and spent the next four hours in the pool while I read The Maze Runner.

Kids seem to lack any sort of fear with other people. They see another kid, they walk up to them and start playing. They don’t even bother with names. They just move right on to insta-play. One of the kids swam over to me. Here is what she said while wearing goggles and bobbing in the water:

“That’s my sister over there. She’s being a real you-know-what and all pretending she doesn’t know me.”

“She’s talking to those boys?” I asked.


“Well, that’s why. When they’re gone, you’ll be friends again.”

“I’m twelve and she’s seventeen.”

“That’s a big age difference. It’ll get better as you get older. You’ll probably like each other when you’re in your twenties.” (The girl seemed to need some comfort. I was trying.)

The girl continued: “We’re five years apart. My mom didn’t even know I was going to happen until she went to get her tubes tied and the doctor said that he wouldn’t do it because there was a baby in there and it was too late so she had to have me.”

I blinked a couple of times. Wiped the sweat from my brow. “Uhh…well…I guess that makes you pretty lucky then. To have, uhm, made…it…here.”

Luckily the kids started fighting then and I could go intervene.

That night, Kealoha joined us for dinner and we went for Mexican food. On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a comic book store, where my son Franz immediately fell in love with a stuffed sperm. He thought it was hilarious. “I can have my very own pet sperm!” he cried, squeezing Spermy close to his heart.

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 9.05.02 AM

Kealoha said: “Kid, you’ve already got plenty of pet sperm.”

Actually, I’m not sure he said that, but I sorta wish he did.

We compromised and Franz chose a friendly stuffed red blood cell.

Kealoha had to go home (work and all) and I shuffled with the kids back to the hotel for another two-hour swim. At night we snuggled in to watch TV. All we could find was Family Guy. I remember watching that and finding it really funny, so I gave them the thumbs up.

It ended up being an episode where the dad wins a golf excursion with OJ Simpson. I couldn’t stop the episode because, well, it was awfully funny, the kids were laughing, and I was just too tired to worry about if this was an appropriate thing to watch. There was a line where they called a woman a stupid beaver and I gasped. Then the camera panned to show an actual beaver who was very offended being called stupid. We all laughed and then high-fived.


Today it’s Meijer Gardens, walking outside, and me telling the kids to use their imagination or they’ll send me to the crazy house. I’m not quite sure if this staycation is a Parenting WIN but maybe it’s a Parenting GOOD-ENOUGH.

I’m okay with that.

My Favorite Awkward Christmas Present (AKA I'm A Muppet!)

My sister is terrific. Bawdy, loud, emotional, supportive, and one of the best giver of gifts EVER. She buys me pretty things that I didn't even know I wanted. This year for Christmas, she gave me the strangest set up pajamas. They're super soft, yes, but they hint at a future of me wearing a comfortable pajama set to go shopping at Walmart. I think this is what's going to happen next. Already, I live in yoga pants. How far away is the next leap towards just not getting dressed EVER? I bet you in another five years, I'm going to LIVE in pajama sets, and probably forgo wearing a bra too. It's going to be a dark day when that happens.

I was a little horrified by these pajamas. I put them on...and felt...well, about twenty pounds heavier and like I could be the next Muppet star. See below.


Oh, god. They're so awkward! And....I hate to say it....they're so comfortable I might just wear them ALL THE TIME. I've been waiting for a winter storm and one is coming tonight! I can't wait to wear these pajamas! They're calling to me now, the damned sirens. "Tanya...put your legs in the pajamas. You'll be so warm and comforted. Put us on! We love you! We will keep you safe and warm and you won't stop rubbing yourself. TAKE USSSSSS!"

It's hard to resist Pajama Sirens. Honestly. I don't think even Odysseus could do it.

So. I guess my future is now. 2012 begins with me, as a Muppet. A very comfortable Muppet.

One other bonus with these...I may feel enormous while wearing them, but when I take them off it's like stepping right from the BEFORE photo into the AFTER photo. And that's a good feeling.

Monday. Day of Horrors! (I might be exaggerating)

(Please read the following in Rod Serlings voice)

Imagine if you will, an ordinary Monday morning. It’s fall and cold out. Tanya is a single mom and she doesn’t have her kids this morning. It begins as any other day, quietly, with coffee. But Tanya’s day is about to slip from the ordinary to the massively fucked up. And it begins with her car and a drive….into The Twilight Zone.

(Drop the Rod Serling voice, unless you like reading like him.)

At 8AM I was super excited. I was ready to get to class and be early and correct papers and show the world how Responsible and Together and Dependable I was. I put the key in the ignition and turn it. RRRrrrrruuurruu. Seriously? I tried again. It sounded like a gnome had crawled in there and was having a coughing fit. And then it died! The car died, not the gnome. I sat in my car for a good minute or so and thought “I don’t know what to do.” I had class in a couple of hours and in three hours had to pick up my kids. If my car was broken, how would I get to school? How would I get the kids? Then my mind spiraled: I don’t have enough money to fix the car. If I don’t have enough money, I won’t have a car and I won’t be able to get to school to work and earn money and they’ll fire me and then I’ll have NO money EVER and not be able to take care of my kids and then their dad will get full custody and I AM THE WORST MOTHER EVER.

Hmmm. Anxiety much?

I went inside. Started shaking, picked up the phone, cancelled class. Emailed people until I figured out what to do. Called a tow truck, got it jumped, took it to the shop and found out that it was the battery. That and the tow would cost $200. It could’ve been worse. I waited in the lobby of Fox Honda while golf played on the TV and Aerosmith sang about dudes looking like ladies. Then I got my car.

I picked up the kids. All was well. I was not the worst mother ever. I decided to celebrate by taking the kids to Meijer Gardens. I had a plumber coming to look at the faucet upstairs first though. The upstairs faucet had been leaking (more like streaming) for a couple of months. Biff had fixed it once, but it just insisted on being broken, and I needed to step up and take care of it. The toilet had been making funny noises too so I flushed it just to make sure, and then the funny noises stopped. As did all the water. WTF? Broken car, broken faucet, broken toilet.

The plumber showed up, a handsome man in his later thirties. (I know this because he told me he was in his later thirties.) After a while, I figured out he was hitting on me. After a longer while, I figured out he was flirting with me for his brother who is also a single parent. It was an awkward conversation to say the least. “So you have two kids?”


“I always wanted kids. I thought one but two would be okay. So…you’re a single mom?”


“My mom was a single mom too. Hard, but man, I totally respect her. You doing okay?”

“Yeah, I just can’t fix stuff that needs fixing. It’s frustrating.”

“You can call me anytime. I’m around here all the time…”


After the Friendly Plumber left, I recorded another $176 in my checkbook.

The kids wanted ‘active time’ so we took off for Meijer Garden. My membership was expired. $22 for an hour (we got there at 4; they closed at 5). We began a race through the exhibits looking at art. Louis really liked this creepy glass-headed kid sculpture. Simone was scared of it. Simone said the art was “Weird” and she wanted me to “vote thumbs down on everything”. She was just tired. Come to think of it, a lot of the art was pretty bad and if I could vote, I might’ve voted thumbs down.

Then we came to a fountain. The kids wanted to make wishes. I gave them a nickel. Simone dropped her nickel in. “I wish for an elephant and a dolphin and some Squeekies.”

Louis chucked his nickel in. “I wish for all the Star Wars action figures and Season three of the Clone Wars.”

I silently tossed my nickel in. I made a tiny wish that I could give my kids a life that made them happy.

Louis said, “Mom, you should’ve wished for a husband.”

Some days, I would’ve explained that there are all kinds of families and you don’t need a husband and blah blah blah…but yesterday, I just laughed.

We went home. We had a picnic in the basement and watched Chowder. I tucked Simone in with her Elnono and Dolphiny and Rosabella the Platypus. We sang the Itsy Bitsy Spider. I tucked Louis in and sang the “Mr Sandman” song with new lyrics that ask for Mr. Sandman to “bring Louis a dream” filled with Star Wars action figures. By eight o’clock, the kids were deep asleep and I was watching Dexter with a friend of mine.

The day started out in the Twilight Zone, but ended up somewhere just in the land of happy. Proof that maybe wishes can come true.

Networking Would Be Easier With Actual Net

It occurred to me that networking would be easier with an actual net, and I had visions of me as Spiderman (Not Spiderwoman mind you. My boobs would be distracting in a suit that tight.) I has visions of me as Spiderman shooting webs from my wrists actually forcing people to talk to me and take my business card.

Dating, Vikings, and Russ's Restaurant

I asked for some suggestions on what to blog about. One was dating...a particular sore spot because while I am a virile woman with hips and attitude, I'm a little frustrated. That sounds wrong. I've just had a string of really bad, awkward things happen in the dating area. But that's a separate post. So, here I wax on and off about dating, and it starts with a story.