Showing posts from June, 2008

Surprise Me

Today wasn't going well. Closet junk emptied all over the floor of the kids' rooms, waiting to be sorted and put away; crap all over the main floor because I was too busy messing up the top floor yesterday to keep our living spaces tidy; the basement family room cluttered up by the boxes I had pulled out of Theo's new bedroom; and all of Larry's and Anna's workcamp "extras" (coolers, air mattress, sleeping bags) strewn over the mess as a sort of garnish. In short, the mess was so big, so deep, and so tall, we could not clean it up; there was no way at all. [Extra credit to anyone who knows where that line comes from.]

Instead, we all slept late; Larry napped for 2 hours after church, exhausted from attempting to sleep on a schoolroom floor all week; the kids whined because it was too hot to play outside....I was just heading upstairs to take a nap myself when the phone rang. Friends we hadn't seen in two years were heading our way - could they stop…

Closets of Darkness

[I'm also posting at MidCenturyModernMoms today. About...middle age...]

Wow. I didn't realize what a project I had taken on. The closets in the kids' rooms were a nightmare. The toys, and the clothes, and the assorted flotsam and jetsam of stray pencils, toys from the dentist, birthday party loot bags, and trash - the horror, oh the horror! During our move last year, I didn't organize the kids' possessions properly; and things have been getting worse ever since. Apparently, the trauma of relocating kept me from even attempting to stay on top of the kid chaos for the past 12 months or so - even with my bag of Flylady tricks, I felt unequal to the task. So, while I kept my kitchen sink shiny and my bathrooms wiped down, everything else in the house has devolved into utter rack and ruin.

I feel like Rip Van Winkle, waking up one year later, looking around and saying, "Where the heck did this mess come from?" I did manage to get everyone switched to thei…

A Willy Wonka Nightmare

[Oh, how embarrassing. I forgot, completely forgot, that people would be coming over today from Derfwad Manor for a house tour. I didn't even get any snacks. Stop by tomorrow, and I can show you some fun photos of our upstairs in complete disarray as I try to relocate 6 children into different bedrooms. It will be fun, I promise. In the meantime, feel free to make yourselves at home and look around a bit. There's a little something for everyone here. And who knows? You might even find my chocolate stash.]

Regular readers know that I am a head-in-the-sand sort of person, preferring to focus on inconsequential, non-earth-shaking occurrences from my tiny, sheltered life in this blog of mine. But today, I spotted a news article that shook me out of my know-nothing complacency. Is it any wonder? Wouldn't the words "potential candy bar shortage" rock your world, too? I thought so.

Lucky for us, the CEO's at Mars candy company aren't equally complacent.…

Economic Realities

What 700 Dollars Can Buy
70 lunch dates for Larry and me
A fun week at the beach for our family in the off-seasonOver a year of YMCA membership for Larry (forget about me, I gave up exercise for the year)
Many, many fun booksOne year of the accredited homeschool curriculum we use for the high schoolers
Almost a month's worth of food for a family of 8175 gallons of gasLet's not think about the yarn, okay? Let's just not go there. Ow.
8 community college credits, for a hard-working teenage boy
2 weeks of High Adventure Boy Scout camp for same
What 700 Dollars Will Be Spent On Instead
Repairing the bumper I accidentally scraped (not even dented) on some stranger's hybrid Camry the other day in a parking lot.

We're just made of money...

Square-Futile Gardening

I haven't talked about our garden much lately. Mostly because I'm embarrassed. I just managed to kill a zucchini plant. You know how hard it is to do that?

Meanwhile, I've been hacking away at the weeds in the fourth garden box in order to plant some cucumber plant seedlings that David has nurtured on our back deck. Nurtured, just to hand them over to me so that I can kill them, too.

I know, it's a special talent of mine.

I read Square-Foot Gardening years ago; and I persist in the delusion that this method will work for me. All around me are plots which are now sporting rows of lush vegetation of the non-weed variety. Thick bushy tomato plants staked to poles, crowded beds of lettuce, stands of basil - it looks like the Garden of Eden before the Fall. In the midst of it all is my anal-looking Square-Foot demo garden, with 6 4-foot by 4-foot regulation garden boxes, 2 of which are filled with weeds that are growing with a frightening velocity toward the sky (think Jack…

Book Lust

I'm rolling in reading material right now. There'd been a dry stretch there for a while. Usually, I'm too frugal to buy myself a book. If I see titles I like at the bookstore, I'll go home and reserve them online at my library. Ever since the great bloodletting in January, however, I just haven't managed to make this cheap-reads system work. Either my account's been "blocked" and I can't reserve online, or I forget to go to the library in time to pick up the book (they only hold it a few days), or I can't remember the title by the time I get home from the bookstore.

The upshot of which is, most of my reading material this year has been blogs and newspapers. My brain feels thin.

So for my birthday, I treated myself to a bunch of books. I've just finished Devil in the Details. This was breathtakingly funny, at least to anyone who grew up Jewish and a little weird (ahem). Now I'm enjoying Leave the Building Quickly. (Hmmm, anot…

And Then I Clicked My Heels Three Times...

Last week, I fell in love with a pair of shoes.

Now, I am most emphatically not a shoe person. I mean, I wear shoes all the time; but I don't care what they are, so long as they are comfortable. I have a pair of white flats, basic black pumps, sneakers for the exercising I never seem to get around to anymore; also, LLBean winter boots, and a pair or two of sandals (including some Birkenstock knock-offs, because I am holding out hope that Birkenstocks with socks come back in fashion again someday). I have never once in my life lusted after a pair of footwear, never sighed over an expensive, strappy little number with 3-inch heels, never understood other women's closets overflowing with impulse buys from Zappo's.

Which makes it all the more puzzling why I should have suddenly morphed into the sort of woman who lingers in the shoe aisles of Target and ogles footwear. But see to the right? Aren't they just so cute? Look at the colors! And the fetching wedge heel! An…

Can't Beat Yesterday's Title

Well, Larry and Anna left sometime before dawn this morning; my birthday is over; and we have an end-of-homeschooling year picnic to get to (and make a dish for) today. So you can read my maunderings over at MidCenturyModernMoms; or maybe you just need a little break from all this blogging stuff, too. Go ahead. Enjoy yourselves. I'm going to spend most of the next 6 hours trying to dig out from under the detritus that accumulates when I goof off for a couple of days. Let me tell you, it's scary. Laundry, toys, dishes - they are all colluding to make me hide under the bed for the rest of the day.

But it's dirty under there, so I won't. I swear, no one knows how to work a Swiffer around here except me.

It's My Party...I'll Blog If I Want To

I know. You've missed me (I hope). But I had to start celebrating my birthday yesterday, one day early. Because today will be filled with preparations for Larry and Anna going away for the week to work camp, and I refuse to be shorted. So...

We went blueberry picking yesterday! I harangued Larry into taking a day off work (because today's my birthday), and then I decided we should all go blueberry picking and he had to agree ('s my birthday); and a mere 50 dollars later, we walked out of there with 12 and a half pounds of the yummy fruit (plus what we had managed to stash in our bellies, which was quite a lot).

The excursion would have been blessedly uneventful, but (and you knew there was a but, didn't you?) Susie decided to poop. So she did. Which was sort of smelly, but we figured that it was the compost or whatever that the blueberry growers use to make their plants grow; so we ignored it, until Susie informed us that she was a walking m…

How Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth...

A migraine day today, and I didn't realize it soon enough to take my wonderful drugs; I feared being up all night if I took the megadose of caffeine in the late afternoon. In retrospect, that was stupid reasoning; but migraines make my brain foggy. So I didn't get much done today except to sit around and wonder whether we have to worry about Tootsie Farklepants taking over the world. She added her hilarious 2 cents to the bra discussion and then sent (sent? nay, she ordered) her many loyal readers over here to check out my advice as well. Back atcha, baby!

I don't know what that last sentence meant. It sounded right, though.

I was conscious enough, despite the migraine-fogginess, to be aware of intercepting death glares at regular intervals today. You see, I made the mistake of being kind and loving on Sunday evening and reassuring Anna that she could indeed get her schoolwork done (albeit badly) in time to go to work camp next week. She took me at my word and has be…

The Idiot's Guide to Life

Sue requested that we regale her with tales of idiotic things we have done (as if my tale of mistaken identity weren't enough). She wants reassurance that she isn't the only one going through life half-assed and backwards. So here you go, Sue...

I went to pick up Theo at his job last night (he's a cashier at a local supermarket)(the same supermarket, in fact, where I am infamous for line-cutting); and while I was waiting for him to finish his shift, I noticed that the store had some very pretty cotton tea towels (red) drastically reduced ($1.94 for 2!). Ever the bargain hunter, I picked up 3 packs of 2 and headed for the self-scan registers. But the towels were scanning in for 2 dollars higher than advertised. Never one to be a shrinking violet, I summoned the cashier, who called a customer service rep over. I dragged this unfortunate gentleman to the other end of the store (all the while tying up the register) to show him the real price. He agreed, and then he had to…

Mistakes Have Been Made

I think the kids got into my blog. Date-time stamps awry, juvenile brassiere humor, tell-all tales of my inability to recognize my own children....yeah, I think I'll blame the kids, all right.

Guess what? Father's Day happened a couple of days ago. I'm telling you that in case you live under a rock and missed the outpouring of love and affection for fathers and husbands that was going on all over the blogosphere. And what did I post about on Sunday? Naked knitting....I'm so embarrassed...

But we did celebrate here. The gift I ordered for Larry didn't show up in time (and I can't even say what it is, since he might read my blog for once and find out); so there I was in Target at 9 PM Saturday with the rest of the gift-giving losers trying to find a card and some reasonable facsimile of a Father's Day present. I ended up buying him a bag of Hershey's kisses (cherry-filled) and a cellphone charger for the car.

This isn't the first time that my holi…

Sunday Ramblings

Larry was duly alarmed upon reading yesterday's post. Serves him right for not hiring a nanny. Maybe she wouldn't ignore his children the way I am doing right now. Then again, she might be young and nubile. Okay, new rule - any nanny hired has to be older than me. And not as good-looking. I really don't need the competition.

Today (well, Saturday) happened to be Worldwide Knit in Public Day. Apparently, we knitters are supposed to take to the streets in massive numbers and knit in full view of non-knitters. Personally, I don't think it will make much of an impact, as we usually bring our knitting with us when we go out anyway. Now, if the organizers had called it Worldwide Knit Naked in Public Day, that may have garnered a bit more attention, don't you think?

I don't know why no one consults me on these things.

That's all I've got, folks. I'm also at MidCentury Modern Moms today, as soon as I figure out what the heck I'm going to write. …

Mistaken Identity

Today I went to the pool. With the kids, of course. I was standing in the deep end of the splash pool with my next-door neighbor, both of us keeping an eye on our swim-goggled children. I noticed her speaking to a kid I didn't recognize, so I said, "Oh, did you bring someone else?"

"What?" she said.

"Did you bring one of your boys' friends?" I said, gesturing toward the strange kid.

She looked toward where I was pointing, then looked at me and said, "What?"

"Never mind," I said. "I thought you knew that kid, because you were talking to him. He's not with you?"

"No," she said. "He's yours."

You know, I thought he looked familiar...

Size Matters

You need to know (well, maybe not, but I'm going to say it anyway) that I am a weird size, with very narrow shoulders, but a lot up front. In fact, if I followed all those complicated measure-yourself-for-the-correct-bra instructions, I'd end up shopping for a 28G. Which doesn't exist. Therefore, it takes me just a few minutes short of forever to find the right bra. It has to minimize, it can't produce unsightly bulges, and - most important - it cannot be pointy. Dear Lord, why are all these pointy bras out there anyway? That look hasn't been in since the original Star Trek.

Naturally, once I find the right bra, I am devoted to it forever. I believe in commitment, the until-death-do-us-part kind (oh, who am I kidding, I want to be buried in it, actually). I have my style number memorized, all right? It's vital information, right up there with my social security number and blood type.

Alas, if only brassiere manufacturers displayed this same sort of loy…

Blog Post Titles - Out of Stock

Lately my husband and I have a Tuesday lunch date. I meet him at a grocery store near his work and buy 2 sub sandwiches and we sit and eat and chat. (Anna or Theo babysits.) I know, too cute for words. But really, it's a way better idea than what we had been doing: trying to go out for an evening date after everyone was bathed and fed and tucked in. By that point we were so tired we would just sit and stare at each other and try not to yawn. Forget conversation, it was all I could do to keep my eyes open.

So, Larry and I have been meeting at lunch. Last week, being true to my frugal self, I ran into a different store (closer to my house) to pick up subs, because every Tuesday they have a special: any sub sandwich - $2.50. Not only could I manage to meet my husband while we are still awake enough to chat, but we also could have lunch for under 7 dollars (we split a soda and a bag of chips) (I know, some of you are definitely gagging from the cuteness by now).

Where was I? Oh,…

No One Home

I'm not here today. Nope. Spending waaaay too much time on the computer lately, and today happens to be David's 11th birthday. I should pay some attention to him, and bake a cake, and maybe even wrap those presents, right? So go on over to MadMad's blog and read about her underwear. It turns out that she and I wear the exact same kind. Is that amazing, or what? No wonder we are bloggy friends.

I'll try to save you some cake...

In The News

You may think we Americans don't have problems, compared to the rest of the world, but I can prove you wrong. Just check out this article in the Washington Post. Look at how we are suffering.

You didn't click, did you? Okay, I'll tell you - it's titled "Cheat Sheets?"

Fuzzy Industry Standards Leave Consumers Lost In the Thread Counts"It's just gotten ridiculous," said one local shopper, Susan Van Hemel of Fairfax. "It's become so hard to figure out what to buy. And sheets now are so expensive, you can make a costly mistake."

Honey, I can help you. Go to Target. Pick up a queen-size set of sheets for 30 bucks. It's that easy. Really. If the extra money you would have spent is burning a hole in your pocket, send it to me. Or maybe send it to an organization that is helping cyclone victims in Myanmar, or earthquake victims in China.

And if your new sheets don't seem comfy enough, get more tired before you go to bed, okay?

In Which I Get Militant

Okay, blame the Minnesota Matron for this one. She started it with her amusing post about, um, explaining to her husband the need for a housekeeper once she starts working fulltime this fall.

Excuse me, did I say "starts" working? I meant, once she gets a new full time job which just happens to be outside her home. Because, you see, she has already got full time employment - she just doesn't get paid for it. And I, with my advanced mathematical skills, have already figured out that if you have one full time job, and then you get another full time job, you then have two full time jobs. (Yes, I know, I'm brilliant.)

Unfortunately, most people seem not to have realized this (about the jobs, I mean, not my brilliance). Oh, maybe the early feminists did, since they were always insisting that once a woman went to work, her spouse would have to pick up half the work at home. But what these good women did not recognize is that the spouse generally already had a full time…


I'm posting a discussion question about teens and dress over at MidCenturyModernMoms today. Anyone with anything useful to say on the subject is urged to comment over there. Not that this topic is a thorn in my side, or anything...

Okay, this is my favorite editorial cartoon of the week. It sums up Hillary's non-concession speech better than I ever could. I haven't gotten to listen to the real concession speech yet. But I know how it ends.

It's in the 90's here for the next few days, with humidity over 90% and frequent dangerous thunderstorms threatening life and limb. We all know what that means, don't we? It means it is time for Larry to undertake extremely exhausting outdoor work, work that should not be attempted in this type of weather by mere middle-aged mortals, susceptible as we are to heatstroke and back injury.

So Larry is digging up our 400 square-foot backyard in order to construct a flagstone patio complete with cobblestone edging. That transl…

Don't Cry For Me...

Did anyone else listen to Hillary's not-a-concession speech the other night in New York? And, if you did, was this song running through your head, also? Or am I just weird?

Just wondering. You know, I'm gonna miss that woman...

[Oh, and I could tell from my sitemeter that most of you didn't get around to clicking on that link I gave you yesterday. Not that that bothers me or anything. But if you want something amusing to read, go there. I'm coming down from my caffeine high and I'm too tired to think of anything even remotely entertaining right now.]

[I love sitemeter.]

Caffeine Madness

Back on Sunday or Monday, I thought to myself, "Gee, it would be a good idea if I turn on the air conditioning now, before the weather gets hot, to make sure it works..." Wouldn't it have been great if I had actually done that? Maybe then I wouldn't have been standing in Target this evening, trying to decide which fans to purchase for our brick oven of a house.

[At least no one has chicken pox this time around...(you would have to click on that link to understand what I'm saying). It really is true that those who don't remember history are doomed to repeat it.]

And don't think that this fan decision was an easy one. Oh, no, this is America we live in, folks; we've got enough freedom of choice to make an over-caffeinated housewife want to stick her head in the path of some whirring fan blades by the time she's done checking out all the air-moving options available to the citizens of this great land of ours. Let's see:

Standard traditional box…

Memory Lane

Theo and I ended up watching Tootsie last night. I found it on Netflix's Instant Watch choices. I've always loved Dustin Hoffman; but I was born 20 years too late to be the love of his life. So in this movie, he's just the right age for me. Good lord, he is something, isn't he? I mean, just look at him! If I had secret boyfriends the way mrs. g does, Dustin would be first on my list. What's not to like?

And the movie is still funny, even 26 years later. So go! Rent it! Download it! What are you waiting for?

I think we'll see Dinernext. No, wait, Dustin Hoffman isn't in it. How about The Graduate?

Today I had the fun of finishing up my root canal. I'm feeling okay, thanks; but I think I'll help myself to that codeine anyway. I deserve something for those three shots of Novocaine I had to endure. By the time the endodontist was done, my eye felt numb. And then I came home and the kids and I all hung out in the basement. Because our area (…

Shameless Begging And Other Blogging Hazards

Scribbit is having its monthly Write-Away contest, and the subject is "Going Places." If you are interested in participating, head on over to this post with the entry instructions. Scribbit happens to be one of those bloggers that Sue is insanely jealous of, with companies fairly knocking down her door and falling all over themselves in an effort to give her free products to review. Gourmet popcorn, immersion blenders, you name it - Scribbit finds them on her doorstep. Most recently, she reviewed her freeSony e-reader and gave it a thumbs-up.

Do you hear that, Amazon? How about sending a Kindle this way? I'll write a glowing report that will leave that Sony e-reader in the dust, so to speak. And I promise, the word "vomit" will appear nowhere in the review.

I wouldn't mind some of that gourmet popcorn, either.

Not to alarm anyone, but I have incurred a blogging injury. I sat down at the computer before doing my yoga this morning and managed to pull a m…

Battle Fatigue

I crashed early again last night (6:30 PM). The joke is, I had worked my butt off all through dinner (washing pots, straightening up) just so I could make it to yoga class at 7:30. So then I ran upstairs to change into my exercise clothes, lay down on the bed for "just a sec," and...well...that was all she wrote.

There's nothing like waking up in the morning and realizing that everything you needed to do the evening before to make your day easier....isn't done.

And I know that if I would exercise more, I would be less tired. But if I'm too tired to exercise (apparently), I believe I'm already locked into some sort of vicious downward spiral.

I was dreaming about Trefoils last night. Sigh.

I'm rambling this morning, folks; my brain doesn't seem to have woken up yet, and I can't remember a darn thing from yesterday. Oh, except talking to the new neighbor. You see, the nice young gentleman we sold our old house to (who promised he wasn't plann…

Tempting Fate and Predator Encounters

Today Larry took the kids to the summer festival one town over, just like we do every year. Except when we don't. Looks like we missed - oops! - 2 whole years, even though it is only 10 minutes away. 10 minutes!

Larry decided it would be most efficient to take the kids there right after the pancake breakfast at church. Because we parents of large families are all about convenience and efficiency.

"Um, you're going to let them go on rides with their stomachs full of scrambled eggs?" I said.

"Hey, it's not every Pancake Sunday they can throw up only 10 minutes from home," Larry answered. " Last time, we traveled a whole hour, remember?"

[Note to new-ish readers: you must click on that link - it's worth it]

"So, you're going to take them straight from the Pancake Breakfast to rides that spin them in circles..."

"Yes! Exactly! They can ride those bears that twirl around..."

"The Barfing Bears?"



Gone Visiting

I would like to announce that I am approximately halfway to figuring out how to use the "speed dial" function on my cellphone. Go, me! Thank you for all the supportive comments on yesterday's dinosaur post. And thanks also to all the people who refrained from commenting that I must be an idiot not to be able to figure these things out. Your mothers obviously did a very good job teaching you to be polite.

The folks at Mid-CenturyModernMoms have invited me to post there on Sundays. I believe "midcentury" refers to our age - it's a group blog for moms with older kids. So, if you're tired of reading about how cute my little Susie is, you can just wander over there and see what's up with mothers who write about things other than the preschool years.

I'll leave the door unlocked around here if anyone wants to come over and look around while I'm out. Just turn off the lights when you leave!