Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Retro Bloggage - Originally Posted July 17, 2007

I was perusing old blog entries and realized that we had made a shift to blogger at a point in time AFTER actually starting the blog.  Therefore, there's this little stash of blog entries which do not show up in our blogger page.  Yet.

In the interest of restoring and reinstating these entries to their rightful place in history (and also because there *are* days that I'm lazy, busy, tired, etc.)  I thought I might pull one out every now and then.  I realize that this will probably only save me for about 20 lazy days (or two months in real time)  but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.


I have nine close friends.  We've pretty much known each other since high school, dreamed small, and stayed close.  With me, we're 10 guys.
10 makes for an interesting number, because it's easy to line us up with statistics.  If "4 out of 5 dentists recommend it", then 8 of us have a dentist who likes the gum.  If there's less than a 10% chance of dying from West Nile then it becomes a non-threat, since it means that we would need more people in our group in order to kill one off.  Sure, you statistics and logic people might not get on board with this train of thought, but it helps me sleep at night.
50% of all marriages end in divorce.  That means 5 of us will end up split up.  The third is happening now.  It hurts to see friends going through this.  And it's scary when real life gets this close.
But at the same time, there's a feeling of relief as the group inches towards meeting our quota without my inclusion. There's an odd part of me that believes that if only two more friends would split up, I'll be safe.  And I'm sure there's two other couples who are on shakier ground.  Communication, mutual respect and love stand for nothing.  I have faith in the longevity of my marriage because of the quota.
They say 1 in 10 people are gay.  I'm still waiting to see who claims that ticket.

Monday, December 15, 2008

No one told me...

...that dressing a toddler would be akin to wrestling a wild raccoon.

...that after years of learning to eat slowly, I would eat my dinner as fast as I possibly could.

...that after professing my hatred of boob-tube babysitting, I would rely on Barney in order to go to the bathroom in peace.

...that my once carefully decorated house would become a museum of primary-colored plastic.

I really could go on and on. Am I missing anything?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I'm the nice one.

Lee's stocking:

Jack and Sam will be getting the same tag. Mine's the 'nice' one.
There's a few in the Etsy shop if you'd like some for yourself...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It Looks Too Ferocious To Have Been Just A Raccoon...

Me: Hey, Carol. I think there was a bear in the boy's room.

Carol: What? What are you talking about?

Me: I think a bear got into the boys' room and was looking for something.

Carol: ?

Me: Well, apparently the bear must have gotten into the house, made his way into the boy's room and... he really needed a diaper.

Carol: What? Oh, that. Shut up.

Me: Well, at least the kids are safe.

(You should see the cereal boxes when she needs her Raisin Bran fix.)

On a totally side note, does anyone else with a Diaper Genie automatically think "poop sausage" every time they empty it?

Or is it just me?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Joel McHale Is A Comedic Genius

For those of you who don't know about it or don't get it or just don't care, there's a show on TV called "The Soup" that summarizes and ridicules clips off TV from the past week.  Now, I don't get to watch too much TV, so I love this show as my half hour "Reader's Digest" version of everything that happened on TV during the previous week.

Well.  I'd like to "Reader's Digest" the "Reader's Digest" version and pick the funniest thing from "The Soup" this past week.
I don't know what's so funny about this.  I don't know if it's the whole I-see-London-I-see-France-ness, (which would mean I have the intellectual humor level of a 6 year old)  or if it's the fact that the guy's flossing while he's trying to be all serious or if it's the guy in the audience laughing "ho, ho, ho, ho"  uncontrollably.  But frankly, I think this is the funniest thing since forever.

Just saying.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Whether you support Prop 8 or not...

... you just can't beat Jack Black as Jesus.

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Meet Hot Singles In Your Area

You know you're working late when the singles ads start running on TV.

You know you're working really late when the gay singles ads start running on TV.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Needless To Say, My Coffee Tasted Like Crap

This morning, I wondered if you could make milk from cream.  My reasoning goes something like this: as you take more and more cream away from milk, you're left with skim milk.  Which is essentially water.  There might be some crap still left in there, but if you ask any whole milk drinker, skim milk is just cloudy water.

So, I thought, if you took cream and reintroduced some cloudy water and beat the hell out of it, would it turn back to milk?  Hmmm...  interesting.  So cream and water could achieve milkhood.  And likewise milk should be exchangeable with cream and water.  

For those of you who think you can tell where this is going, I didn't put water and cream on my Cheerios.  (though I have tried putting melted ice cream on my Cheerios in the past)  No, today was about trying to make cream from water and milk.  No cream for the coffee, so I made the coffee extra strong (decreased water in the coffee)  and added milk (increased water in the cream)  so that it should have all balanced out.

But it didn't.  Sometimes logic makes no sense at all.  

Can I share a double mile-stone with you?  Yesterday the kid ripped his first hole in the knee of his jeans.  Pretty cool, huh?  And then, as I was getting them ready for the laundry, I found a rock in his pocket.

Oh.  We're heading down a dangerous road.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

And the winner is.....

After using the painfully logical Random Number Generator, the winner is Mannie Vincent and her story about her granny panties! Yay!

Lee and I had many a laugh reading through the comments and making fun of everyone's awesome presents (because seriously, some of them were awesome). *And* we want to thank everyone that took time out of their day to throw their name into the hat.

So, congrats to Mannie Vincent and the distant relative that didn't want her to "go around wearing working girl underwear". Thanks to her, that phrase has made its way into our daily conversation.

Lee and I are off on a family vacation this weekend with the kiddos (Lord help us), and I'd like to leave you with a picture from a wedding that we just recently attended:

Maybe he's just trying to give Nona a piggy-back ride?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Two Dollars Would Be About Twenty Bucks Now With Inflation. That Ain't Bad.

My dad was big on diaries and goals and plans. Looking back, he was doing a lot of the new crap that schools do now, except he was doing it in the 70's. And back then, we hadn't yet invented the manly title of "journal", so the thing I wrote in was called a *diary*, plain and simple.
Excerpt: Dec. 26, 1978 (I was 6)

Daddy, I will try my best to not fight with my sister. And I will try my best to not shout. And to not get mad so fast. And be a good boy because, last year I had a lot of toys from santa. (sic) But this year I only got two dollers. (sic)

This entry has led me to three conclusions that I would like to share with fellow parents:
1) Kids, even first graders, could spell waaay better in the 70's.
2) Guilt trips work great on little kids.
3) Even little, fighting, shouting, anger-management needing, money-grubbing kids can turn out to be semi-respectable adults. Don't sweat it.

By the way, have you entered our contest? C'mon. You must've gotten a worse present than "two dollers" that you could tell us about.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

There's a contest up in here, y'all.

Let's have a contest!

This year, we want you to tell us the worst gift you’ve ever received for the holidays.

Comments will be open until 11:59pm Wednesday, November 25th .

We’ll draw a winner out the comments using a fancy random number picker on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day (US).

What do you get? How about ONE OF EVERYTHING!!! We’ll send you the ENTIRE COLLECTION of HateMail and JunkMail greeting cards, as well as a 2009 HateMail 365 Calendar! This has an estimated retail value of $204.00! That’s a lot of dough, as well as a lot of special occasions COVERED. You’ll appear as though you’ve really got your shiz together when you pull out the appropriate sentiment at the perfect time.

Just go with your bad self.

So, get on with it! Tell us your most awful gift and be sure to check back on Thanskgiving day to see if your holidays just got a little sweeter.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Yum! The taste of almost-victory!

It was a TIE! I absolutely love the other card and to be honest, I was sure that they were going to win.
A big, giant thank-you to everyone who took a few minutes out of their hectic lives and voted for us. We really appreciate the support...
With that said, we're going to be having a pretty nutty giveaway on Tuesday, November 18th.
You'll understand why I'm saying 'nutty' when you see what's in store.
***Contest moved to November 20th, thanks to Super Colic Baby From Hell.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

If, for some reason, you haven't voted on Etsy...

...please, do it for the babies

clearly, they're hungry


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Another Opportunity For You To Vote For Change

Go VOTE for us in Etsy's Best Holiday Cards 2008 contest:

('Restraining Order Be Damned')

And after you vote, buy the card.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Because everyone needs a little JunkMail

50% off your ENTIRE order!
Offer only valid until 11:59pm, November 10, 2008
coupon code: CJFW501110

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Going through *the change*

I've decided that I can't be a slave to html any longer.

You'll notice that the 'shop' page is a little different these days. I'm just too tired to keep making fancy updates in Dreamweaver, only to find out that I did something wrong with one of my stinkin' tables. Which won't delete. Ever. Dammit.

So, I hope you like the new setup. I like the layout and the fact that I can make it look fairly similar to the rest of the site. I can also make changes and updates to products in a snap --- which makes my weary self very, very happy.

I'll be adding products throughout the week and playing around with new packages of cards, as well as adding the calendar. If there's anything that you love or hate, feel free to drop me a line.

P.S., we met our goal for the Facebook fan page (yay) and everyone that was on the page as of November 1st will get a free card of their choosing (double-yay). If you're a fan, be on the lookout for a notice from either Lee or myself during the next week or so.

P.P.S., there's a FANTASTIC giveaway happening this month, so keep checking the blog for details soon.

But Then What *Are* Those Little Bits Floating In The Water?

Babies (and toddlers) don't know it's the weekend.  They have no idea that you're supposed to sleep in on Saturdays and Sundays. (and occasionally on Fridays and Mondays if it happens to be Easter or Thanksgiving or some other such day)  They get up when they get up.  Usually for us that means around 6:15 am.

I remember being a kid and running into my mum and dad's room and waking them up.  "Can you get me a glass of water?" my dad asked.  So gladly, my sister and I went traipsing off to the kitchen and returned with a glass.  "No," he said, " you have to let the tap run a bit longer than that.  See those little bits?  It's because the water sat in the pipes overnight.  You have get all that 'pipe water' out and wait until the fresh water comes."  So my sister and I went off and let the water run for a few minutes more and returned with another glass.  "Not quite yet," he said.  "Try a few minutes more."

To this day, I actually believed that there was such a thing as old "pipe water" that you had to flush out before getting to the good "drinking water".   I try to wash some dishes first thing in the morning to use up that no-good water.  I always let the water run a bit before taking a glass.  But it was only this morning, as I tried to convince the boy that I *did* want to play with him (at 5:15 in the morning) but that in order to play we needed his special red car, that I realized I had been duped oh-those-many-years ago.  As my boy ran off in search of his red car, I hoped that it would buy me at least another few minutes.  Then it struck me that my quest for "fresh water" was little more than my dad's equivalent of a snooze button for us.

It's quite a revelation.  I have probably wasted tens of thousands of gallons of fresh water in my lifetime because my dad wanted five more minutes of sleep.  And I wonder what things I may have said (or will say) which will have such an effect on the way the boys live their lives.   I wonder if Carol teaching him to yell  "Go, Go Suckah!" in the van is going to lead to something unpredictable in the future.  I wonder if the fact that every time I say "fresh", the boy responds with "funky fresh", will have some weird connotation later on in life.

I wonder.

Oh.  Why did the boy come in at 5:15 today instead of his usual 6:15?  Apparently, babies and toddlers don't know about Daylight Savings Time either.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Talent abound

My neighbor, Michele, is a photographer. And she's not just any photographer, she's a genius. Her ability to catch a moment is incredible. I called her up this morning and asked her if she wanted to go for a walk with the boys and I. A totally spur-of-the-moment-guess-I-should-get-out-of-my-pajama-pants-at-eleven-o-clock-in-the-morning kind of thing.
Like any good photog, when she met me outside, she had her trusty camera in tow. I didn't think much of it until she sent me these:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Frugal Ain't The Half Of It.

I'm the ultimate in cheap.  Back in my old life, it was primarily driven by my need to "stick it to the man".  

I remember the first time I encountered the concept of "arbitrage".  Find something that's selling for less than it's worth.  Buy it.  Sell it for what it's worth.  The prospect made me drool.  I wasn't about adding value, creating benefit or being productive.  I just wanted to manipulate the system for my own gain.

And thus began my empire of "free after rebate" items.  I wasn't happy unless I was buying an item on sale, applying a coupon and then sending in a rebate.  I still remember that guy who bought a crapload of Healthy Choice puddings and got enough flyer miles to fly his family to Europe.  That guy's my hero.

I troll the deal sites.  My favorites?  bensbargains.net   and  fatwallet.com    (just for bragging, I scored a Canon SD1100 last night for 120 bucks.  I know that means nothing to you, but you have to trust me.  It's pretty stinkin' awesome.)

But I have a deal for you that's even better.  Hop on our Facebook page and sign on as a fan.  When Carol hits 50, she'll send everyone a coupon for a free card.  

No rebates or pudding required.  Sweet.  

She's HERE!

Here's a link to our calendar on Etsy. I'm slaving away on the website to get it added, but that might not happen before the day is over. So, I wanted to give everyone a chance to get their mitts on one before they sell out.

Friday, October 24, 2008

HateMail 365 ::: Sneak Peek

I have a March birthday, so I thought I'd show it off first. I'm still tempted to circle the '13' on all of the calendars - just to remind everyone to send me presents on my birthday.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

HateMail 365

Wanna know a secret? The HateMail 365 desk calendars are HERE!!!
They'll be ready for purchase on Monday, October 27th.
I'm only doing a limited release initially, so make sure you snap one up before they sell out.

What better way to keep a little HateMail in your life 365 days of the year....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

So. It's Not A Hobby Anymore?

Before we had the second kid, my sister came over for a visit.  She warned us that having two kids was going to be way more work than we thought.  People seem to think that having two kids will be twice as much work at *most*.  But if you factor in economies of scale, logically we would assume you might be able to get away with like 178% of the work, if you were good.

Not true, she warned.  Two kids is like three or four times as much work.  Because now you're doing twice as much work, but you're trying to do it all at the same time.

Now, if you had come to me three years ago and imparted this piece of wisdom, my reaction would be "yeah, yeah" and I would tuck it away with all the other cliched pieces of advice that I've received in my life.  But then I had the kid.  And all of the cliched things came true.  ( Why, yes.  I *do* love the little bugger so much it hurts, and even though he is soooo much work, he *is* totally worth it.  I'm just taking it day by day, trying to see the forest for the trees.  After all, I believe the children are the future and that we should teach them well and let them lead the way.  Show them all the beauty they possess inside.  Y'know?)  

So now I listen.  And she was right.  6 diapers a day is a chore, but 12 diapers a day is a lifestyle.  Chasing a two year old is infinitely more difficult with 15 wobbly-necked pounds strapped to your chest in a Bjorn.  And we won't even get into the time spent "guarding" the little one from the big one.

But there was also something else my sister said that day that resonated.  She mentioned that with one kid, you could still pull off a semblance of being young and fun, whereas with two kids, you were firmly ensconced in parenthood.  And it seems true.  To the point where when you see multi-infant/toddler parents, you feel that little bond.  They understand.  They won't judge you if you're wearing two different shoes or you don't know what day it is or you missed the Obama/McCain thing because Backyardigans was on.

They know.  

After all, we decided long ago, never to walk in anyone's shadows.  That the greatest love was happening to me.  And you can't take away my dignity.

Geez, I could use some sleep.

It's gettin' viral up in here...

The past week has been interesting. Tiny baby has had some kind of cold-ish/flu-ish bug that has kept his temperature at a toasty 99.0 to 102.3 and kept his poo at an unmentionably disgusting consistency. As you can clearly see, this infection has affected the whole family,

even me:

That nasty flu bug will just stick wherever the hell he wants to.


I'll have some store updates, new designs to unveil and more info about the National Stationery Show coming this week, too. Also, stay tuned for our GIVEAWAY.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Black Hole Thumb

I can't keep things with leaves alive. It's taken a VERY long time for me to admit this fact. I have dreams of having all kinds of beautiful, oxygen-enhancing greenery throughout my home.


When I realized that I was incapable of watering a plant, I decided to look around the house and see just how many fakey-fake plants were occupying space...

Virtually every room has its own little faux foliage collection. Lee reminds me intermittently of the dust collecting on all of them, but they still bring me a bit of joy.

And alas, the only living plant in my house:

Isn't she sad? I've had her for so many years.... She used to be gorgeous and full of flowers and large, waxy leaves. Now, she's just tired.

Too early to give the two-year-old some household chores? I think we'll start with watering plants.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It's in......

...my National Stationery Show application, that is. As soon as I find out the booth assignment, I'll be sure to let everyone know so you can come visit me and bring me lots of presents.

Another piece of exciting news is that we've just signed on with another distributor! I was hoping to add a few more salespeople to my current lineup and this seems to have fit my goal quite nicely.

And for those of you looking for a sample of what's in the pipeline:

I should be able to get the bulk of these items on the site by the end of the week, but historically, that usually means that you'll be lucky if you see it somewhere in 3 months.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

In case you haven't noticed...

.... I've decided to give the website a much-needed update. If you experience any difficulties or issues while I hack the site to bits, please let me know.

Oh, and if you hear soft sobbing in the distance, that would be me.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Everything These Days Is Either "Too Big" or "Go, Go, Sucker!"...

My mum is one of those ladies who goes to church every morning. 

Now she's not one of those church ladies who wears black all the time and mutters with a rosary in her hand.  But she can't rightly start her day without churching it up a little.

Last week I had the opportunity to attend one of her morning masses with her and oddly enough it reminded me of how old I'm getting.  This might seem weird, since I was probably very safely under half of the average age in the building.

But allow me to walk you through the thought process:

The morning mass is very low budget.  There's no instruments and no choir.  So the only source of music is the voices of the twenty-some retired people in the mass.  As they sing, I'm reminded of people twanging saws and shaking gravel in tin cans.  I think of what a great run some of those people must have had with cigarettes.  Then I think of how twanging saws was such a phenomena back in the 80's and how it's totally died now.  They were all over; sitting in chairs with one end of the saw between their knees, hammering on the steel with their hammers and playing tunes.  Showing up on "That's Incredible!" because, well, that's incredible after all.  Then I think of That's Incredible!, how we used to sit on the carpet and watch guys shove 36 cigarettes in their pie-holes while simultaneously making a bee-beard and spinning plates.  Maybe a little chainsaw juggling for good measure.  And we would sit there slack-jawed and amazed and try to jam pencils in our mouths, because obviously at the age of 10 we counted ourselves blessed to get our hands on one smoke, let alone 36.  And I thought of that sense of amazement, which gradually lessened as time went by, until it comes to the day where we watch Blaine hang upside down and the first thought that comes to mind is, "What a loser.  Go get a real job, pretty boy."

And the lack of amazement makes me feel old.

But then later that day, the kid looks at decent sized rock in a parking lot and says, "Wow.  Too big."  And it brings just a little touch of it back.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We Won't Even Talk About The Dishes...

Carol's wearing a black cardigan and jeans.  It's 85 out, and we're about to go for a walk.
"Hey, um, you might be a bit warm in all that."
"Yeah, well, these are the only clean clothes I have, and *they're* not even clean."

And in that one sentence is captured the idiosyncrasy which has become our lives.  Even our clean clothes aren't clean.

Carol has been buuuuusy. The dual prongs of the latest collection (including Christmas!) being delivered and our upcoming attendance at the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival have kept her hopping. Not to mention that whole "parenting" thing.

But the late nights are paying off.  We're almost all packed up for the Festival ( www.niagaragrapeandwinefestival.com - come see us!) and the Christmas cards are all listed (http://www.junkmailgreetings.com/cardholidaypackage.htm).  

Check 'em out.  They're purty.  And clean.  Even if we're not.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Peep this

Here's your taste of our new products slated for release mid-September:

Crazy mutha...

Shauna Sands' idea of a day at the beach with the fam:


I mean, really?

I guess you do what ya gotta do when your last film credit was as 'jacuzzi woman' in a movie called Succubus: Hell Bent.

Friday, August 22, 2008

can I get an 'amen'....

Go here and see the complete card lineup offered by JunkMail Greetings. I finally finished the 'shop' page and updated all of our new titles. I did it. It ain't pretty. It ain't all that organized. But it's done, y'all.

And the free shipping is still rockin' the heezy.

By the end of September, we'll be adding our Christmas lineup. Lee and I narrowed down our selection and the designs are looking amazing. I can assure you, you won't be disappointed when you see the final products....

There will also be an addition to the JunkMail family: [defined]. [defined] is the softer side of JMG and will be added to the 'shop' page in mid-September.

And I Thought It Was Called A *Pacifier*...

Yeah, we're traipsing back down a road already travelled.

And you hear advice from all sides.  "Oh, you're bringing the kid to bed with you?  You've got to put a stop to that."  And then I look in the magazines and catalogues showing all kinds of "co-sleeping" paraphernalia and I figure I can't be the only one.  There can't be an entire industry revolving around the hope that I'm going to slip up again.

It might seem short-sighted, but honestly, at 3 am, I'm really not very forward-thinking.  All I really know is that if he's left alone he'll probably groan and whimper and make me get up at least five or six times, over half an hour, before he  finally falls asleep.  In bed, he cuddles up and I can usually get him down in five minutes.

So, last night the kid is sleeping with us ( The point of the whole previous diatribe is to let you know that I'm aware that you're frowning now, but I don't care.)   but he's not actually asleep yet.  I hear the familiar clink of the soother falling and then the snorting as he starts to root around for it.  In the dark, I feel around for it, then feel around for a face, then feel around for a mouth, then try to give back the soother. 

There's a bit of resistance. 

And then Carol says, "If you try to jam that thing in my face again, I'm going to punch you in the head."

She's not much of a morning person, but she's *really* not much of a 3-in-the-morning person.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Promises, promises...

Life's been pretty hectic in the Lee household as of late. The little one is a beautiful ball of colicky goodness, the big one insists on traipsing into our bedroom at about 5:15 every morning armed with a *giant* body pillow and feather duvet demanding, "TV! TV!"

Such delightfully good times.


With that said, yes, the website is a bit behind in updates. I have so many new cards to list. Like this one:

....and these:

And a bunch more, but I haven't the time or patience (with Blogger) to upload them all. I promise they'll be up in a few days.

In other news, my new studio is getting a new floor (yay) and we picked up more storage shelves to house the now obscene amount of product and supplies taking up my old space. I'll be sad to see my old space go because it's got a beautiful view overlooking our lake (you may hate me now...), but the new one has a BILLION times more space and potential --- even if it is a bit dungeon-y.

Your task for the day: go read up on my old-hometown mayor's highjinks. Sad and funny at the same time.