Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Okay, something pretty momentous happened in The More, The Messier household yesterday evening. For the first time in over 2 decades, I cooked a lentil dish that received - I kid you not - rave reviews. EVERYONE ate it. And today, for lunch? Unbidden, they ate the leftovers.

In other news, hell has indeed frozen over.

So there you go - anything can happen. This opens up worlds of possibility, doesn't it? Maybe this means that I WILL someday find my waist again. Maybe my children WILL, at some point in their lives, learn to turn off lights and shut doors. Perhaps, even, SOME DAY, Larry and I will manage to agree on area rugs for the newly renovated (hardwood floors!) basement family room.

Actually, that last one? No. No, we will not. Folks, after 26 years of marriage - 26 years of raising children, living together, learning to agree to disagree - we may have finally met our Waterloo.

You see, we need one of the rugs for what we call the fireplace room, which will have some blonde-wood bookcases against the walls, a reading chair or two, the white-brick fireplace, and a large central area left open -- for children to sit and play games on, etc. Hence, the requirement for some comfortable floor covering.

See? NEEDS RUG. Preferably a colorful one...
Now, I have envisioned our walk-out basement family room(s) as an airy, modern-looking space, designed for both TV watching and play. Brian (who actually cares about such things) has even weighed in on the style couch we will eventually (when we win the lottery) buy: a light-colored one with clean lines, modular and up-to-date (as opposed to the dark brown reclining behemoth I dragged home from a neighborhood yard sale a few years ago). We picked a striking color for the walls, to make the white brick hearth pop.

I had a plan, people. And all it would need for completion was a modern, low-pile area rug, with contemporary/geometric design and some color. I spent several hours online, finally spotting a number of reasonably priced possibilities on Wanting to achieve consensus, I put several of them on my wish list so Larry could weigh in on the decision.


And this, friends, is where it all fell apart. When I showed Larry what the kids and I had put on the list, he looked -- in a word -- disgusted. It wasn't just a "Oh, how about a different shade of color?" look. Rather, it was a look that almost screamed, "Who are you and how did you get into my house with your perverse home decorating ideas?" Seriously, he couldn't have appeared more put off had I showed him carpets screenprinted with naked Playboy bunnies.

So, yeah, this problem isn't going to be solved any time soon, I'm thinking...but, hey, I guess there's always hope. After all, he DID eat that lentil soup.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Fashion Alert 2017

Bad news on the fashion front, folks! I mean, not as bad as the (thankfully) short-lived bubble shorts phenomenon, but's bad. Look over there to the right (I mean, if you're reading this on desktop - I have no idea where the pictures show up if you're reading this on your phone) - see that shirt? See the problem?

If you don't, you probably aren't short and round. BANDED BOTTOMS, people. Shirts with banded bottom hems are coming back in style. Go on, ladies, emphasize that post-menopausal Buddha belly with a garment that makes it look even rounder!

Good Lord, what's next? The return of Oxford button-down shirts for women? I mean, I sure miss having to check to see if all those buttons stayed closed, don't you?

IMO, the fashion world hates short busty women. HATES.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Stepping It Up

My present from Anna
Have we talked about Mother's Day yet? No? Well, then, let's do that.

Happily, Larry has learned over the years that the Amazon wish list titled "Gifts for Karen" is a pretty good place to discover what I might actually want for a present. So this year he gave me a new Fitbit, because I lost my Fitbit Zip in Salt Lake City.

Which reminds me, I still haven't talked about our two days in Salt Lake City. I sort of skipped over it and meant to get back to it, but I worried that writing even one more post about that train trip might lose me the few dedicated readers I still have.

Anyway, I didn't notice the Fitbit was missing until I was on the train heading to California, so I have no idea where it went. I had planned to replace it with another Zip, but in a burst of whimsy I put the Fitbit Alta on the wish list instead and left it there, while I was trying to rationalize the extra expense.

So Larry saw it and bought it for Mother's Day. It is the prettiest little thing (which you probably can't tell from this lousy photo I took). It buzzes at me when I sit for too long. It does a little Fitbit cheer when I reach my step goal. It tells me my heart rate. AND it tracks my sleep.

I'm gonna start offering photography classes
Let me say right here that I thought this sleep-tracking function was the most frivolous thing ever. And I still think that. Yet, I love this particular feature beyond all reason. In fact, I've become obsessed. Did you know that 20% of your sleep should be deep, versus 25% REM? I'm nowhere near either of those targets, as I tend to spend most of the night in light sleep. No wonder my brain doesn't work right.

Of course, one reason for my sleep deficiencies might be a spouse who snores. I plan to put the Fitbit on Larry's wrist some night while he is asleep, to prove to him that he is waking himself up probably a hundred times a night and not realizing it. He refuses to believe me.

Technology is very useful in settling marital spats. Although I do feel bad, using the gift he gave me against him.

The other thing that happened on Mother's Day was Anna's graduation party. We were so busy getting ready for the party and then entertaining guests that, as the day wore on, the fact that it was Mother's Day sort of slipped my mind. So when David called in the late afternoon, I reacted as I always do: "What's wrong?" I demanded.

People, he NEVER calls.

When he didn't answer right away, I followed up with an almost frantic "Is everything all right?" Myriad possibilities were dashing through my head, because I'm good at catastrophizing like that.

"Well," my engineering offspring deadpanned, "I thought it was customary on Mother's Day to phone one's mother."

Hey, at least he knows I wasn't waiting around by the phone all day, right?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Time To Bug Out

Ah, it's that time of year when we struggle not to turn on the AC until June. Well, I struggle, anyway. The kids and Larry would gladly make this place a refrigerator from May 1 until October, because they don't understand the value of suffering. Or money.

And really, the heat's not bad, yet - but the humidity is rising. My science-y offspring tell me humidity has something to do with water vapor in the air, but you and I know the truth: it is all the devils in hell coming up here to suck the life force from our bodies.

And this spring? These life-sucking devils seem to have brought some friends.


Now, I already knew that our region experiences Brood X, which is this massive influx of cicadas every 17 years. The last event was 2004, and - as luck would have it - our family was living elsewhere that spring. We were tucked away safely north of this plague, in Rhode Island, while Larry went to the Naval War College. Every morning that spring, I woke up and thanked the powers that be that this was the year we were not living in what was apparently Cicada Central.

I called my friend back home at one point (because people still called more than texted back then) to ask if it were as bad as the Internet was making it look. "Hang on," she said. "Let me walk inside. I can't hear you above all the buzzing."

So, yeah, it was bad. At that point I made a vow NOT to be in our area during the spring of 2021, when this phenomenon would re-occur. I am not interested in masses of creepy bugs. I don't care how fascinating it is. They make me want to throw up.

Where am I going with this? Well, I was outside a few nights ago, talking to a neighbor in front of her house, and she pointed to the ground. "Look," she said. "There's another one."

"What is it?" I asked, in disgust, as this wet, slug-like creature oozed out of the dirt and started wobbling around on definitely not slug-like legs.

"Cicadas," she said. "They're coming up everywhere. It's driving the dog crazy."

That's right - here we are in 2017 and it appears a whole bunch of cicadas did not get the memo - you know, the one telling them to stay underground another 4 years, while I make travel plans? No one knows just how bad this influx will be or why exactly it is happening - not even all the science-y people who think that humidity is water vapor. All I know is that more and more cicadas and cicada shells are showing up everywhere, and it resembles nothing so much as an alien invasion from a planet populated with giant bugs.

If this gets any worse, I am so out of here. Anyone have a guest room? For two - Susie says she is coming with me.

Monday, May 15, 2017

"Seasonal" Means Nothing In Our House

So, the weekend was sort of busy, what with working at the yoga center and Mother's Day and ANNA GRADUATING FROM COLLEGE.

Anna gave me these. See? NICE.
Remember Anna? 10 years ago, she was the teen girl so many of you loved reading about, filled as she was with contempt and loathing for her parents and siblings and the plebeian life into which she had mistakenly been born. Actually, she might still be filled with contempt and loathing, but - being an adult - she hides it better. And, hey, that's good enough for me.

Anyway, Anna (and other teen girls like her) was the one we all gleefully concocted the "Getting a Clue" curriculum for, lo those many years ago. She seems to have passed with flying colors, having lived on her own and worked and gone to school for the past several years; and for that Larry and I will always be thankful. Also, she's turned out to be a pretty nice person, so that's always a plus.

So we had a little party for her. Of course, "a little party" meant that we spent all day Saturday and then Sunday morning going through our pre-party ritual of cleaning up the house enough to make it presentable for outsiders. Theo was here, too (I TOLD you the weekend was busy); he is about to detach from the military, after 4 years in, so any spare time Larry and I had? Was spent dispensing unwanted advice for his future.

BIG CHANGES. Gosh, these kids all used to be so little.

Where was I? Oh, yes, cleaning up. So, some time in the middle of our housecleaning frenzy, Larry said, "Can we do something about this snowman?" And I thought, "WHAT?"

I mean, come on, hadn't I finally rid our home of all winter holiday flotsam and jetsam? Hadn't I, after many tries, finally tracked down the last bit of Christmas/Chanukah decorations? Haven't I been humiliated enough?

Outside temp reads 64. He should be melting.
I looked where Larry was pointing, and there it was: Susie's paper snowman, which she asked me to leave up until the end of winter, and, well, it's May now. He was prominently mounted on the wall next to the thermostat, where (in theory) I should have noticed him, as I check the outside temperature every single day. But, no, I had no idea that snowman was there.

And, yes, he is still hanging up there on our wall. Susie likes him.


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