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It’s late and I’m off to bed but before I stagger upstairs, here are my top ten idle thoughts about the 83rd Oscar ceremonies:

  1. Anne Hathaway only needed James Franco so she had time to change her outfits. She was adorable and handled the pressure beautifully. He wasn’t and he didn’t. (Her sparkly eyelashes were neat, too.)
  2. The “God of Love” guy’s speech was the best of the bunch: “I should have gotten a haircut.” “…to my Mom who did craft services…” “All the nominated shorts are available on iTunes.” First runner-up to the professed “late bloomer” who won for Best Original Screenplay for “The King’s Speech.”
  3. I can’t be the only one who thought there were some pretty difficult segues from the nostalgic bits. I’m all for honoring the past, but MUST we watch a clip of Charlie Chaplin every year?
  4. Best dressed: Tie between Jennifer Hudson and Amy Adams. Oh, and Reese, I’d love to borrow that. Call me.
  5. Worst dressed: Mandy Moore. She looked like she wrapped a comforter around a corset after washing them together with a blue sharpie.
  6. Billy Crystal ought to try a new haircut. How long ago did he make “When Harry Met Sally?
  7. Oprah Winfrey has huge bazoonkas.
  8. What do you think Gwyneth Paltrow’s first thought was when she heard her song was nominated for an Oscar? My best guess is that it was: “Oh, fuck.”
  9. Celine Dion doesn’t seem to age. Or maybe she looked like that when she was young and now she’s caught up with her looks.
  10. Colin Firth deserved to win Best Actor; what an amazing performance. The King’s Speech was an incredible movie – touching, thoughtful and inspiring. Go see it.

Finally, let me leave you with this: I know he assisted with an infamous wardrobe malfunction but barring that, I wonder how Justin Timberlake would do hosting an awards show. I mean, he can sing, dance and he’s always hilarious as the surprise guest on Saturday Night Live. Think of it this way – no one could be worse than Letterman.

 

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Piggy is our family’s mascot and Small’s near constant companion. She has become so threadbare that I fear it will not be long before Small literally loves her to pieces. I have patched her, re-stuffed her, and darned her to the best of my abilities. When I am outside of Small’s hearing, I refer to her as “Frankenpig.” I’m quite sure Piggy doesn’t mind; she cares only for her kid.

A couple of weeks ago, Medium went to Disney World. Without us. She didn’t go alone (obviously) but she wasn’t with any of her immediate family members. She accompanied our friends and their seven-year-old son, A, who are friends-like-family or “framily” to us. (See how I can make up words just like the media? Brangelina, what?) According to her own and eye-witness reports, Medium had a ball and hardly missed us. It’s possible that she didn’t miss us at all but I’m unwilling to consider that because I missed her terribly and couldn’t wait for her to come home.

We live about four hours from Boston, and she flew in and out of Logan International Airport. The day before she was scheduled to return, my husband and I drove to Beantown with the boys and painted the town Piggy-pink. We hit Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, the Boston Museum of Science, Harvard Square and the Hilton Boston Financial District. We rode the “T” multiple times, much to Small’s delight, and listened to a lecture on rockets given by MIT students. We also terrorized the staff at the Harvard Coop Bookstore but there’s no photographic evidence and some things are better left unsaid.

I put together a short movie of our trip as much to document our family’s experience as to record Small’s first love. Music is “Fall Creek” by Bill Hammond downloaded via freesologuitar.com. Enjoy!

Piggy’s Adventures in Beantown from OINKtales on Vimeo.

We’re less than a week away from THE award show of the season, the 83rd Academy Awards. As a movie buff, I make an effort to watch every year. I get a kick out of the unscripted moments (Adrien Brody smooching on Halle Berry after winning best actor for The Pianist) and the acceptance speeches that come from the heart (last year, Kathryn Bigelow was poised and inspiring accepting her best director win). And of course, I enjoy watching all the beautiful people and criticizing their attire.

In the spirit of the award season, I’m honored and pleased to announce that OINKtales was named by Alison over at The Other Winnie Cooper as being an Awesome Blog and Darla of She’s a Maineiac as being a Stylish Blogger. Thank you both! OINKtales is grateful to accept your awards and wants to reward your kindness by reciprocating. You are both awesome and stylish bloggers too!

And while I am truly flattered to receive these awards, my cynical side is clamoring for satisfaction. I have to make the following observation: Blog awards are the new chain letters. Do you remember being a kid and getting that hand-written note from your cousin that promised if you mailed a sheet of stickers to some unknown person on a list and then copied the note exactly and forwarded it to twelve of your friends and family, you’d end up getting reams of stickers? Did you ever get any? Do you want to guess whether I did?

In college, I did do a lingerie chain (new, not used!) and it was moderately successful (I got a whopping three pairs of undies this way) and within the last couple of years, I bought into the Facebook chain where you announce random facts about yourself (being petrified by the idea that vampires might actually exist is my #25). But overall, I have broken more chains than I have extended them, for which I understand that I have been penalized a lifetime of bad luck.

Be that as it may, I’ve decided not to break this chain. Mostly because I respect both Alison and Darla immensely and who am I kidding? No matter how you look at it, these awards are compliments. (Would you be surprised if I told you that I have a hard time accepting compliments?)

So here we go: The requirements for accepting these awards are to link back to the awarders, list seven things about yourself, and then pass the award on to other worthy bloggers. I’m supposed to list fifteen but I don’t follow directions well.

Seven Things You Don’t Know About Me:

I don’t like to talk about myself. So ironic, since I can blog about intimate things in my life (tampons of preference, hello?) but when I am in a group – and sometimes even one-on-one – I tend to downplay my accomplishments and make light of things that are important to me. Any couch psychologists out there?

I think kids are disgusting. But they’re like pets. When they’re yours, you love them even when they’re disgusting.

Every day, I consider going back to my old job. Or trying to. It’s not like they’re saving one for me (wouldn’t that be nice?).

Every day, I daydream about winning the lottery. Although I’d take less than a million, it’d be hard to accomplish the basics with less than that. Lest you think I am greedy, consider that I have three children to put through college and probably, grad school.

I am an escapist reader and my favorite genre is young adult fiction a la The Hunger Games, The Golden Compass, and anything with Potter in the title.

I have two belly buttons. At least, it looks like I do. This is what comes of keeping one’s belly button ring in when one was hugely pregnant. Not. Pretty.

And though this last bit I suspect you already know, I’m including it anyway, if only to end this list: My family means everything to me.

Now, to my list of awesome/stylish blogs. I personally know some of these people, some I met (or am just stalking) in the blogosphere. I recommend you check them all out:

Other Awesome/Stylish Blogs:

OINKdaddy. My better, happier half’s observations on our life.

Push the Envelope. Watch it Bend. A brand-new running/fitness blog authored by my uber-fit brother-in-law (an OINK to follow on this one).

She Rides, I Pay. For funny, horsey folks.

My Topography. Beautiful. Lyrical. Words and pictures.

Saying YES 2 boys and Life. Humorous, homesteading, homeschooling mom.

The Ramblings. Prolific blogger whose hilarious descriptions strike a chord with many.

Scary Mommy. Blogging maven who has never heard of me but who is laugh out loud funny and who has her own scary mommy society (it has an eight-week waiting list!).

Theta Mom. Another blogger who has never heard of me but who, like Scary Mommy, started her own blogging community and is highly supportive of other bloggers.

And of course, the aforementioned She’s a Maineiac, a new blogging friend who writes about the loopy world of a desperate Maine housewife, and The Other Winnie Cooper, one of my BFF’s who considered participating in the underwear chain and who is now the larger-than-life voice of a 12 pound shih-tzu.

Happy linking everyone! Now, to find my Roberto Cavalli knock-off for the red carpet…

To paraphrase an 80s glam rock band: I didn’t know what I had until I didn’t. For over two months now, I have been on a quest for a name-brand product that has seemingly disappeared from the market. I have relied on this product my entire adult life never fearing that it would go the way of Elaine Benes’ sponges. But after a search that has extended across two New England states, reality has set in.

What is this mystery product that is in such demand, you ask? Well, it’s kind of like Elaine’s sponges except it’s used for an altogether different reason. The monthly kind of reason. If you are a woman reading this post, you know exactly what I mean. If you are a man and you are still reading this post, then Kudos! I bet you’ve stared down hordes of pimply faced teenagers at your local grocery store on your wife/girlfriend/daughter’s behalf.

You may think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. And I’m far from being the only one lamenting the loss of her preferred cotton plug. CNNMoney.com reports that the dearth of O.B. tampons has created a black market for them. I’m not kidding. As they said, it’s “for reals.” Johnson & Johnson, O.B.’s maker and distributor has given no explanation for the shortage. Their website simply promises that O.B. tampons are increasingly in-stock at more stores nationwide. Only not in the six stores I checked over the weekend.

I reached my breaking point after dodging traffic on foot at a busy Boston intersection just so I could dart into a CVS pharmacy while my family circled the block in our borrowed car. Shortly thereafter, O.B.’s information center received the following missive:

Dear O.B. –

For over twenty years, you have been not just by my side but in my insides once a month for three or more days (definitely more since I’ve had kids). We ought to be better communicators given the intimate nature of our relationship. I’m not ready to break up with you but I have to say I’ve been really irritated by your unexpected absence. Where have you gone? What’s happened to you? When I stopped finding you on the shelves of my grocery and drug stores, I went online and read you were having “manufacturing difficulties.” Seeing how you’ve absorbed my troubles so handily over the years, I was willing to cut you some slack. I emptied all my purses and handbags of my just-in-case-I’m-surprised stashes and made do. But it’s been two months and I have had enough. I’ve been to CVS, Kinney Drugs, Price Chopper and Hannafords in two states and found just empty shelves staring back at me. Your competitors have nothing on you; it’s just not the same. Please tell me when you will be coming back. I can’t stand this much longer. I need you.

In desperation and loyalty,
Mary

Who would have thought that a tampon could inspire passion?

At the end of December, the fates conspired against us and our furnace and our washing machine broke close to simultaneously. We live in Vermont, where it gets so cold (it is currently -25 degrees Fahrenheit) that some schools will close upon hearing the weather forecast (not ours, thank goodness!). Accordingly, our first priority was to ensure that our house had heat and hot water. I contrived to make the washer limp along until I reached the end of my patience with it. I was sure I’d make it a few months. The new one arrived today, in all its energy-efficient, front-loading glory. 

Next to the coffee maker, the washing machine is the most important appliance in our house. If I had to, I would hand-wash our dishes. But there’s no way in hell I’d hand-wash our clothes. After my husband came home, I encouraged the five of us to crowd around it like the proverbial golden calf. They oohed and ahhed for about five seconds before the boys lost interest and drifted away.

“You may not EVER get inside this machine,” I said to Medium, who had stayed behind to watch me fold laundry.

“Why not?” asked Medium.

“Because if the door closed, you wouldn’t have enough air and you would die.”

“Oh,” she said.

“And your brothers shouldn’t ever get inside it, either.” I added, thinking I was emphasizing my point.

“Why?” she asked.

Sometimes I wonder just how much my children care for one another.

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