Monthly Archives: July 2011

How I Almost Became a Famous Blogger

July 29, 2011

This morning I woke up to excellent news. I had a new comment. Which I love. But not just any comment, it was a potentially profitable business comment. This is what it said:

Hi! Sorry I write you via comments. But I could not find contact e-mail or feedback form on your site.

My name is Martin Dumont and I represent PAKBB Agency. We are making an advertising campaign for Lacoste Company (it is a French company producing clothes, footwear, perfumery etc.) and we would like to place their banner at your site http://www.thegreenlemon.com. We are interested in banners of the following sizes: 160×600, 240×400, 300×250, 336×280, 468×60, 728×90. What can be your price for one banner (banner should appear at ALL pages of your site) of abovementioned sizes (please specify the place for the banner – top, bottom, left, right)? Please mention a normal link for banner, without javascript code and set prices in US dollars per month.

P.S. Please, delete this comment.

I had stars flashing in my eyes. What could be more exciting than someone named Martin Dumont asking to put Lacoste ads on my Green Lemon? And paying me for it! I had finally made it. I was going to become blog royalty.

I ran to show my husband, who knows about these things, and seemed at least willing to concede it looked real, and that it does take a lot to get through my heavy duty spam filter. “But don’t do anything till I get home from work,” he said. “It could still be a scam.”

So I indulged several fantasies over the next 10 minutes or so. One of me running on the beach in a tasteful polo dress with my husband and (heretofore nonexistent) babies in crisp polos with iconic alligator stitched to their breast pockets. Another of me wielding an apple juice at a cocktail party telling the story of “How I Accidentally Become a Very Famous and Full Time Blogger.”

And then I googled Martin Dumont.

Damn him.

And all spam.

Bad Fiction Contest

July 28, 2011

One day while working my way through one of my dad’s work storage rooms (aka, a room of things he can’t get rid of for sentimental/monetary value but may secretly wish  would be blown away like Dorothy’s house in Wizard of Oz) I came across a stack of papers that took me off task.

Okay, that’s not hard to do.

It was a print up of entries for a contest called  the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. Each entry was one horribly inflated, engorged, overworked sentence and I realized what it was: a bad fiction contest. Namely, a bad opening sentence contest. And the contest was inspired and named for the famous opening line to Edward George Bulwer-Lytton’s book Paul Clifford: “It was a dark and stormy night…”

Okay, I only knew that from Charlie Brown.

I was ecstatic. I love literature. I love good literature. And I love bad literature. And a contest like this was right up my ally. In fact, my husband has a tiny notebook that fits in his church jacket so I can write bad novel opening lines for him during church. (Sorry, we’re trying to grow up.)

A friend recently sent me an article about this year’s winner. Sue Fondrie of Oshkosh, Wisconsin won with this tiny display of literary atrocity:

Cheryl’s mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories.

I know. Such talent.

While mine pale in comparison I thought I’d share a few of my bad fiction starters:

#1. A cloud settled over the humid church, and the sound of old ladies flapping their fans masked a growing sense of danger; it was only a matter of time.

#2. As he emerged from the pool, water dripping off him like a broken strand of pearls, the woman thought, what have I done?

#3. The sweet puddle of melted ice cream had attracted dozen of ants and insects, much like Sara’s ability to attract despicable men.

Vote on your favorite in the comments please. Or, better yet, add your own.

You Have to Read: “A Girl Named Zippy” by Haven Kimmel

July 27, 2011

I have an announcement.

And who better to bring you this news than Microsoft Clip Image 427772 “Man in Suit Cheering Into Megaphone.”

You see what I mean.

But here it is: I’m going to be recommending books, and lots of them, right here on The Green Lemon.

My reasons for this are 1) I read an unbelievable amount of books, 2) I am always looking for people to force my book recommendations on, and 3) here you are.

I’m not promising a strict dedication to this new venture, say every Wednesday or twice a month, because if there’s one thing I know about myself it’s that the best way for me to not do something is to claim that I will do it religiously. Some of you may remember the promise I made a few months back to blog every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And the 3 month void of silence that immediately followed.

I’m starting with something random, but lovely nonetheless.

My book club chose this book last summer. I downloaded it on my iPod and listened to it while taking long, exuberant walks around the neighborhood. This wasn’t my cleverest idea because 1) It made me laugh so hard and so often that I looked like a lunatic, and 2) laughing made my walks less exuberant and less of a rationale for why I could eat an extra Knock Em Naked Brownie.

A Girl Called Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana, is a memoir, told through Haven Kimmel’s 3rd grade self, and each chapter is a mini novella about her growing up years. It’s the story of a uniquely magical childhood. I know, normally we’re not interested in that sort of thing. Give us danger, give us grief, give us horror, but whatever you do, don’t give us magical.

But Zippy surprised me, because in each of these little stories she tells about her tiny town, horrible hair and sometimes downright unlovable parents you somehow get that little ache in the back of your throat that reminds you of how good life really can be. And it is so funny. There have been about 7 books that have made me laugh like this.

Take Zippy’s view on Jesus:

“Everyone around me was flat-out in love with him, and who wouldn’t be? He was good with animals, he loved his mother, and he wasn’t afraid of blind people.”

Amen, sister.

Equally as good is Haven Kimmel’s follow up book She Got Up Off the Couch and Other Heroic Acts from Mooreland, Indiana.

This is the story of Zippy’s mother, who one day after years of hiding from her depression on the couch with a cardboard box of novels and 100 extra pounds, decides to make a change. And off she goes.

Please read these. Or even better, listen to them. If you walk by my house cackling like a lunatic I will at least give you the benefit of the doubt.

What I Don’t Get About Snow Cones

July 26, 2011

There are going to be a lot of haters here, but I must confess a deep ambivalence.

As early as May cleverly shaped snow cone shacks (also called “shax” or “huts”) start their migration to grocery and video store parking lots. And that part makes me happy because that means SUMMER and there’s nothing I love more. But with them come the teeny-boppers. Lots of them. They are in tiny shorts texting on their tiny phones and flirting with their tiny boyfriends (who make me feel very old because when I look at them I think LITTLE BOYS and when they see me in grocery stores they call me “ma’am”–what is this, the Old West?). But most importantly they are eating snow cones. So many of them, in fact, that if all these snow shack owners had just found their main ingredients in our mountains we wouldn’t have problems with all that snow pack melting and flooding the valley.

And here’s what I don’t get about all this: why the hype over snow cones? They are crunched up ice with sugary corn syrup and Blue 7 and Red 2 poured all over them. They freeze my teeth and one of their flavors is “Tiger’s Blood.” And they always, always drip out of their tiny cone shape down my arm and onto my new favorite tee shirt.

And that is what I don’t get about snow cones.

Baby Shower Games: Adorable or Hazing?

July 20, 2011

I know a thing or two about hazing.

In college I was in a Greek sorority, which in some schools would mean I spent fall evenings having my imperfections ritualistically circled by Sharpie-toting coeds or being duck taped to stop signs.  But in my sorority, there was no hazing allowed. None. There were a few questionable activities, like the time I got locked on the roof in a bathing suit, and a few other times when I practiced Carmen Electra aerobics in a pair of baby-sized shorts that were considered the sorority’s worst mistake, but these activities were entirely of my own free will and therefore my own fault.

Once I graduated from college and Greek life I thought I was in the clear. Never again would I have to fear possible humiliation due to ridiculous and/or psychologically damaging “games.” And then my friends started having babies.

First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes…baby showers.

(ominous music )

I get it, I really do. You’re trying to be creative. You’re trying to entertain. You’re trying to bring together a group of people who don’t have much in common except that adorable baby bump you’re all admiring. So you turn to games. And turn away from common sense and decency.

Here are some (very popular) offenders that I have either personally experienced or heard of:

1. Chocolatey Poopy Diapers

WHO THOUGHT OF THIS? This is almost unbearable. You take several varieties of chocolate and melt them into separate diapers. Then have your guests take turns tasting the poopy diapers to guess which kind of chocolate is which. Yes, you read that correctly. You taste poopy diapers.

2. Chugging Baby Bottles

This one reeks of never having left college. You pass out baby bottles and fill everyone’s (besides Mother to Be’s) with some kind of alcoholic beverage. Then comes the long, slow chugging contest through the impossibly small baby bottle nipple. This sort of reminds me of that scene in The Prince and Me where there is a tractor race in real time. Hint: It’s slow, and very boring.

3. Measure the Belly (aka, Make an Already Self Conscious Woman Feel Horrible)

Guests are asked to cut a piece of string to the length that would fit around Mother to Be’s waist.  Then she stands up and tries on the strings and everyone laughs at how fat she is. Or something like that.

4. Cotton Pickin’

What the? I’ve never seen this one in action, but its being passed around suburban America like bed bugs in NYC. Step 1: Cotton balls are strewn around the floor.  Step 2: Guests are asked to slather their noses with Vaseline then crawl around the floor and pick up said cotton balls with their noses and put them in a jar. I am not a drinker but I think I would need one of those giant Long Island Ice Teas you see staggering around Las Vegas to feel okay about this one.

5. Blindfolded Baby Food

Two lucky guests are chosen from the group. Guest A is blindfolded and given a jar of baby food and a spoon. Guest B blindfolded and bibbed. You get the picture.

6. Ice Ice Baby.

Guests are each given an ice cube with a tiny frozen baby in its center. Everyone sits with their frozen baby in their hands until the ice is completely melted and someone yells “My water broke!” That guest is given a prize. And a recommendation for a good therapist.

7. Baby Stroller Olympics.

Set up an obstacle course and push a baby doll around it as fast as possible without knocking baby out of the stroller. This is excellent training for handling busy city streets and should give Mother to Be nightmares for weeks.

8. All “Co-Ed” Shower games.

The list is abundant here. Apparently “co-ed” means racy or just plain sick. How about pairing up male and females, and having the females sit their males on their laps and feed them bottles. Or have females dress up males as babies. Or blindfold both parties and have them find clothespins strategically hidden on each others’ bodies. Ugh.

Have any of you played these games?

Ladies, let’s stop the madness. Baby Showers can be simple, classy and just plain lovely. Serve lots of good girly food (colorful green salads, fruit on skewers, chicken salad on croissants, tiny éclairs and lemonade). Talk like adults to the other adults in the room.  Rave about how beautiful Mother to Be looks and cluck sympathetically when she holds up her terribly swollen feet. And DO NOT tell pregnancy horror stories. I mean it. I have not had a baby yet but I’m positive that these stories are bad for morale.

And before I get crossed off every baby shower invite list for the next decade, I’m going to go ahead and admit that I’ve used a  few games at my own showers. My favorite being the following ice breaker poem that got everyone talking in a nice, natural way. (Have Mother to Be read the poem and pass around an empty, wrapped present. Give the party’s centerpiece as the prize. NOTE: I wasn’t able to locate the original author of this little gem, but here is the website where I found it.)

Good luck. And I would LOVE to hear tales from the battlefield, what good or bad games have you played at a shower?

BABY SHOWER POEM

I’m just a little box
looking to belong
so pass me to the girlfriend
whose hair is the most long.

You cannot keep me
that I know for sure
I want to go to the hands
with a pretty pink manicure.

You have beautiful hands,
but don’t hold me too tight
pass me once to your left
then three times to your right.

I like all this action
I like all the moves
Now pass me to the girlfriend
who has the biggest boobs!

I know this game is a lot of fun
But eventually it must stop
But first pass me on to the girlfriend
who’s wearing the tightest top!!

I’m not yours to keep
even though of me you’re fond
I want to be in the arms
of  whoever is a natural blonde.

Hold me only for a short time
yes, that is what I mean
because now I want to be passed
to the girlfriend wearing the most green
(note – if no one is wearing green… go with the shower color)

This game’s a real blast,
we’re really having a ball
now pass me to a girlfriend
who is certainly the most tall.

When (MOMMY TO BE) and (DADDY TO BE) have their baby
they join the parent group
so pass me to the mom
who has the biggest troop!

The game must come to an end
I am so sorry to say
but first pass me to the person
whose birthday is closest to the due date (BABY DUE DATE)!

Hold me for a moment
then pass me to your right
then 3 times to the left
and 4 more to the right

Now I have nothing in me
so there’s no need to open
when you leave today
the present is your token!