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Posts Tagged ‘Debbie Baldwin’

Pest Control by The Mom Vivant / Debbie Baldwin of Ladue News

Pest Control by The Mom Vivant / Debbie Baldwin of Ladue News

By Debbie Baldwin

I have been a pet owner for many years—sometimes successfully; other times, not so much. I have had a towheaded 3-year-old come to me with a goldfish in his hand, and ask with utter sincerity why Gil doesn’t seem to like playing in the yard. I have had a guinea pig give birth not once, not twice, but three times on my watch. We had an albino gecko. Why, you ask? I wonder the same thing every day. I think it may have taken its own life, but the official cause of death is ‘accidental.’ Apparently, it accidentally stopped eating and drinking. I have had a puppy sit on my lap while I scratched her head and rubbed her back as she—unbeknownst to me—devoured a bird. But now, I fear my patience may have run its course. It appears our puppy—our adorable, precious, impossible-not-to-love puppy—has discovered a nest. Or a herd. Or a pack—of voles.

The first time it happened, I was home alone. Oh, it was innocent enough. Everyone was out of town, and I was fastidiously clearing a plate—or pouring myself a glass of wine—I don’t recall, exactly, and there it was: a small, somewhat chewed up creature dead on my dining room floor. I did what any rational-thinking, Ivy League-educated woman would do—gagged, cried and called my husband in Florida, and asked him to fly home and take care of it. He assured me that an entire role of paper towels covering the corpse and a gentle lift would solve the problem. Actually I think his exact words were, Pick it up and throw it out, but potato, po-tah-to. In any event, our sweet, innocent puggle’s small indiscretion was over and done with. Over…done with…

It must have been three or four days later when I heard it: the telltale whimper of a beagle hybrid with a bone…or a ball…or something she needs to either chew or bury…or chew then bury. As she appeared in the kitchen—rodent head out one side of her mouth, tail out the other—I realized why Xanax was invented, and then as l’amuse bouche disappeared down her throat…well, the mind reels.

You can’t punish a dog for catching mice. It’s all very scorpion and toad. My girlfriend tried to comfort me by telling me she had a cat that used to do the same thing, but at least, had the courtesy to leave the animal at the kitchen door, like a gift. My gifts seem to be delivered, shall we say, in a more intimate fashion. That’s a good euphemism for grotesque, right? I guess in the end, dogs are like kids—you have to put up with a lot of disgusting stuff, but you just can’t help but love them.



Prom and Circumstance by The Mom Vivant / Debbie Baldwin of Ladue News

Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2013 12:00 pm

By Debbie Baldwin

Depending on your age, this time of year can mean many different things. It can mean time to plant your garden or hose off the patio furniture. It can mean time to swimsuit shop or time to make your summer travel plans. However, if you are a high school junior or senior, this time of year means one thing and one thing only: prom. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Some of us spent prom night at home watching horror movies, eating Mint Milanos, and dreaming about how much Tom would regret not asking me after I make my first billion creating a social networking website…theoretically speaking. Nevertheless, most kids that age, whether in groups or on dates, go to their high school prom. It is the ‘date’ aspect that I now find interesting.

When I was in high school and it was prom season, I got a phone call, asking, “Hey, do you want to go to prom?” And I would answer, “Sounds good.” That was that. Hardly the stuff of great romances, but I had a date to prom. Apparently, now things have changed.

To say that inviting a girl to prom these days requires a grand gesture may be the understatement of the 21st century. I’m not quite sure when it began–and I’m sure most of the teenage boys in America want to beat the living daylights out of whomever started it–but now an invitation to prom makes a marriage proposal at a sporting event look like small potatoes. I have heard stories of ‘police officers’ pulling girls over and issuing a ticket, only to have the girl look at it and see ‘prom?’ written on the slip of paper. Boys are spelling girls’ names out in candles along the path to their front door and skywriting their invitation in the clouds above their houses. There is one story that involves a duckling and several dozen roses that I’m still not sure I fully grasp.

Well, I feel sorry for the boys–how high can they set the bar? What next? The boy in gladiator garb riding a chariot pulled by a team of horses riding across the front lawn? A Mission Impossible ceiling drop in the middle of the night? I don’t know. It’s all very fun and creative (and completely premised on an affirmative response, might I add), but in a strange way it kind of makes me miss the phone call.


The Mom Vivant / The Birds by Debbie Baldwin of Ladue News

The Mom Vivant / The Birds by Debbie Baldwin of Ladue News

By Debbie Baldwin

So last week my family and I were spending an uncharacteristically quiet evening at home. Homework was finished, and Cranky Whiny and Punch inexplicably were not bickering (I wondered idly if they had run out of ideas). Anyway, we were lolling around the family room, watching some vaguely inappropriate crime show when Pebbles, our puggle, hopped onto my lap and settled in. Wow, how Norman Rockwell! I guess every family deserves one night like this…and then I heard the noise.

You see, I had made lamb chops for dinner that night, and after consulting everything from Wikipedia to Google, I came to the controversial conclusion that dogs should not be given lamb bones. That apparently is not an opinion dogs themselves share. So there I sat, dog on lap, clearly aware that she was munching on a bone that she shouldn’t be. I also was aware of the fact that I should probably take this bone away from her. The puppy, however, does not share this sentiment. I weigh my options, and a content dog and quiet family win out. I scratched the puppy behind her ears, and smiled as the kids tried to figure out who the killer on the TV show was—it was almost serene. And that’s when things took a turn for the worse.

My husband came home from the office and shattered our familial bliss with one simple horrifying comment: What are all these feathers doing all over the floor? I still. Pebbles—almost sensing the firestorm—hops off my lap and scuttles under the couch. The realization dawns: I have nestled this dog gently on my lap while she quietly lay there and ate a bird.

My long and sordid history—a.k.a. phobia—with birds goes back decades. I think it started when, as a child, I found a colorful bird feather in our yard. My mother smacked it out of my hand, cautioning me that bird feathers are filthy and spread disease.

When I lived in New York City, I was getting ready to go for a run around Central Park one day when a bookishly handsome man wearing a Harvard Medical School sweatshirt started stretching next to me. I was just about to give him the smile/hair toss combo when a pigeon—shall we say—relieved himself on my head. Although in retrospect the pigeon was probably saving me from myself—that guy was way out of my league.

Then, there was the goose incident. Walking into work one spring day at a renowned local performance improvement company, I apparently wandered too close to a nest of hatchlings. I won’t sugar-coat it. I was attacked. The mother goose—quite unlike the sweet lady from the nursery rhymes—chased me across a lawn and into a parking lot biting me soundly on my backside until I beat a hasty retreat to my Honda Accord.

I won’t get into the bird nest in the chimney story—I’m still in therapy. I also did get a very nasty look from a peacock while touring Monticello while in graduate school. He didn’t try anything, but he was thinking about it.

So there I stood in my living room, my dog cowering, my children convulsing with laughter and my husband quickly gathering up the carnage. I rolled my eyes and realized something: I do not like birds; and apparently, they are not too crazy about me, either.

So, it wasn’t Debbie’s best night!

Oscar Wrap Up

By Debbie Baldwin


Well let me start off by saying that had I written my traditional list of Oscar predictions—for which I have a remarkably accurate record—I would have failed miserably this year. This had to have been one of the most unusual, scattered, unpredictable, Academy Awards I have ever seen. That being said I am prepared to eat a little crow and perhaps do a little Monday morning quarterbacking.


Best Picture: Argo

Revenge is a dish that is best served cold. Ben Affleck won both the Golden Globe and the Directors Guild award for best director and was unceremoniously—no pun intended—snubbed by Oscar. Well, the Academy members showed the powers that be just what they thought of the affront. Were I a voting member of the academy Argo would have received my vote. 


Best Actor: Daniel Day Lewis (Lincoln)

This was a lock. I mean there was an outside chance that Hugh Jackman could cause an upset, but not likely. Daniel Day Lewis is not only a brilliant actor, he’s the type of guy you root for; you want him to win. He was my pick… and that is where my streak ends.


Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)

OK, I liked the Silver Linings Playbook, but come on. It’s a really good romantic comedy, but is it Oscar worthy? Jennifer Lawrence was terrific, but honestly if I’m comparing her to Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty or Naomi Watts in The Impossible, I just don’t get it. My pick here was Jessica Chastain. 


Best Director: Ang Lee (Life of Pi)

Something hit me during the Oscar acceptance speeches. When the visual effects/ cinematography team from Life of Pi received their awards the group’s designated spokesman commented that it was odd to be winning an award in that category because all the visual effects were fake. They didn’t film it in the ocean, the tiger was computer generated, and the water was a giant tank on the studio lot. And I realized that’s what bothers me about the film—yes there is a dream-like, fairytale component but in the back of my head it just seemed fake. Spielberg had my vote here.


Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained)

It’s possible I have some residual hostility pent up from his mediocre performance hosting Saturday Night Live. Frankly any supporting member of the Argo cast or the Lincoln cast would have been preferable.


Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway: Les Miserables

This was the only other guaranteed win. She gave an incredible performance and she shaved her head. Give the woman a statue. Just don’t ever let her host again.


So another Oscar season comes and goes. There’s a hint of Spring in the air. I guess it’s time to sit back and get ready to enjoy some car chases and alien invasions.