Showing posts from July, 2008

Back Slowly Away From The Gladware, Ma'am, With Your Hands Up

Welcome to a new feature - the Wednesday Fridge Follies! Each Wednesday I clean out my refrigerator (and I use clean in the loosest sense of the term here) and take a picture of everything I end up throwing away. This exercise in public humiliation should make me take a good hard look at the amount of waste in our household and cause me to reevaluate our food storage habits, resulting in a smaller carbon footprint for our family and more food for others to eat.

Or, it could just be an exercise in public humiliation, right? So, let's get on with it:

What's in SuburbanCorrespondent's fridge? (with apologies to Holly's fruitbowl)

Not too bad this week, actually. Here we have numerous gladware containers, no fewer than 2 of them containing past-their-prime baby carrots. When I open a bag of baby carrots, I don't want the unused ones to dry up in an opened bag in the fridge. So, smart housewife that I am, I store the remaining carrots in a gladware container full of …

Lullaby, And Good Night...

I don't have a napping kid anymore; Susie is 3 already and if I let her sleep midday, she's up until 10 in the evening. But I've spent over 16 years lying down after lunch with one baby or another, and I've come to require that little siesta for myself. In fact, I get really cranky without it and throw tantrums. I even have a special blankie that I bought at IKEA (a purple throw) that I need to use at nap time. I don't know what I'll do if I ever have to pursue full-time employment - can people nap at work?

If there is one thing that raising kids has done for me, it has given me an abiding appreciation for sleep. Aaaah! Isn't that a pretty word? Sleeeeeep. I just loooove the feel of a cool pillowcase against my cheek. Is this weird? Tell me if it's weird. Then I'll know not to mention my addiction to anyone in real life. It will be our little secret. And I'll train the kids to say, "Mommy's upstairs ironing" when neighbo…

Bloggy Book Club Week #3

I can't believe none of you caught it, but there was a fourth bottle of salsa on the refrigerator door last week. I just noticed it yesterday. This whole exercise in cold storage investigation is starting to remind me of those picture games in Highlights magazines. You know, the ones where they ask, "Can you find 15 [whatever] in this picture?"

4 bottles of opened salsa. Sometimes, I amaze even myself.

Well, it's taken over 16 years; but I finally had to take a kid to be fitted for eyeglasses today. I'd begrudge Theo the expense, but he never did require braces; so I'm still getting off fairly inexpensively with him, I believe. Also, he only required 10 minutes to pick out a set of frames. A teen girl (any teen girl) would have required at least 3 hours of agonizing deliberation before settling on a pair of frames that she would later claim she "looks ugly" in.

Larry has persuaded me to try a family camping trip (tent, no camper for us) for a fe…

Weekly Wrap-Up

You can catch me over at MidCenturyModernMoms today, discussing how I managed to get my teen daughter to pay for a little vacation for me...

And over here, I am just about to hold an exciting drawing to see who will win a copy of Fifty Acres and a Poodle. I've got all the names on pieces of paper and all the pieces of paper are in a plastic baggie (freezer-safe) and now I just have to reach in (no peeking!) and pull one out. Ready?

Here, I'll shake the bag a little first. Okay, here we go...

(Oh, this is so exciting, I almost can't bear to look.)

Kari! Kari is another homeschooling mom who has only recently started showing up around here (or else has only recently de-lurked). Her blog is a must-see if you've ever wanted to know how to convert a school bus into an RV. (And, darn it, Kari, it's your fault I can't get the Partridge Family theme song out of my head this evening.) Anyway, they've just painted the bus (not in Partridge Family colors, to my imm…

This Deserves A Great Title, But I Can't Think Of One

Today, we have a new entry in our series (well, maybe the first entry, actually) called, "How Superficial Can People Get?" Just check out this article in the NY Times from Thursday. It details the lengths brides-to-be will go to in order to ensure their weddings are picture-perfect. Gone is the tradition of making sure that all the bridesmaids are ugly so that they don't outshine the bride. Today's bride requires a set of bridesmaids that, if not exactly matching, at least looks uniformly young and fetching. To be a member of the wedding party these days, one may be required to undergo all sorts of expensive cosmetic treatments including, in some cases, plastic surgery. The blushing bride may even, in the interest of sowing permanent family disharmony, suggest to her mother-in-law that Botox might be a good idea before the big day. (Hey, Jenn, that makes you look pretty good as a daughter-in-law, now doesn't it?)

And in case you are thinking that this is m…

In Which I Hyperlink Way Too Much

I think, tonight, I would like to talk about anything butrefrigerators. And Germans. Not that there is anything wrong with either of them. I just need a change.

First, a reminder that if you would like a chance to win a copy of Fifty Acres and a Poodle by Jeanne Marie Laskas, please leave a comment on this post by Saturday evening. I may even mail out all these books I've promised to people, one of these days. I'd hate to be accused of blog fraud. That would dash my last hope of Amazon ever giving me a Kindle.

David convinced me to visit our garden plot this evening. It was a disheartening sight. We bushwhacked our way in there and found one dead zucchini plant (our last), flowering basil, flowering cilantro, 5 tomato plants doing surprisingly well, and some struggling cukes.

The box full of strawberry plants is thriving, though I don't know how. I also don't know what to do with all the runners they are putting out (I type coyly, knowing that at least 16 people …

Cultural Exchange

In case you need some catching up, yesterday this site was crawling with German au pairs. It was an invasion, folks - think Paris in 1940. Except friendlier, of course. Lifestartsnow was kind enough to come back to the comments section and explain yesterday's influx of Krauts. (Ha, ha! Kidding! Just some American humor there! We're as funny as our refrigerators!)
on the au pair website i wrote that your fridge is a prime specimen for an all-american fridge. many future au pairs expect some ken and barbie life with picture perfect everything. well, any american fridge i saw looked like yours so my guess is that THIS IS AMERICA! right there, between the jars of salsa and the pickles and that strange empty space in the upper right corner of the door.
Well! I was honored! Yesterday I got to represent America! Me and my little blog!

And then I ambled by Lifestartsnow this evening and read a somewhat more complete explanation for the link:

...this is so american, really! everyone wh…

Salsa, Salsa, Everywhere; And Not A Chip To Eat...

[I am being besieged by people coming over from this website for German aupairs. I can't read what it says about me, but I'm guessing it is laughing at what we Americans have in our refrigerators. Anyone know German who can translate for me?]

You know, I think I will have a little trouble explaining to Larry why over 40 people are demanding to see pictures of the inside of our refrigerator. [Actually, come to think of it, I'm having a little trouble explaining this phenomenon to myself. The blogosphere is indeed a weird place.] So I'm going to try to post these now, before he comes home and catches me. Here you see the full picture. Try not to take it all in at once - it's a little overwhelming.

Next let's get a close-up of the dreaded bins of moldering vegetables. I think the specials this week are cilantro, carrots, and (in the back) an onion or two. Note the gunk behind the bins. I have no idea how that gets there. And, if you look closely, you can s…

I Saw The Best Minds Of My Generation Destroyed By Madness

I don't think people understand how even the simplest maintenance tasks can be daunting for those of us less gifted, shall we say, in the arts of housewifery. One of my friends refused to come to the pool with us today, because, as she said, "I have to clean out my refrigerator. It's so full, I can't fit anything else in there."

[I assume all of you use this criteria for refrigerator cleaning, also? If not, move right along, nothing for you to see here. Go visit your cute little Martha Stewart chat groups, all right?]

"Can't this wait until later?" I asked. "I hate going to the pool by myself."

"No, this is a major job. I have to do it, and I have to do it now." This last was uttered with the grim determination of a fireman heading into a burning building.

"Okay," I said, "I've been there. How about you wait until tomorrow and I'll come over for moral support?" [Yes, I am a good friend. The best, i…

Bloggy Book Club Week #2

[To All Of You SITS-tas popping over to check out my "saucy" blog, welcome! You may be interested in starting with the posts listed in the sidebar over there to the left. The Parenting For Dummies posts are aimed at those of us who are moms, and the Most Popular Posts category provides more general amusement. Everything is G-rated, as long as you don't mind the lingerie talk in "Size Matters."]

Ha! Bet you didn't think I could finish another book in just a week and still keep up with my blogging addiction, did you? You folks don't know who you are dealing with. Of course, not being able to sleep for the past week provided me with some extra reading time. Seems that every time I manage to doze off, I can snooze for only 15 minutes before I rouse myself with a hacking cough. And when I'm not coughing, Susie is. Fun times!

Bah! Who needs sleep? Not me! Instead of sleeping, I read Fifty Acres And A Poodle by Jeanne Marie Laskas. It is a funny a…

Weekly Wrap-Up

Okay, the winner of this past week's Bloggy Book Club Giveaway is....

whose blog is named...

Farm Suite

That didn't sound right. I've got to work on this. Anyway, be sure to stop by her blog and congratulate her and beg for the opportunity to be the next to read Why I'm Like This by Cynthia Kaplan. Because remember, people, those are the rules - if you win the book, you read it, review it, and hold a drawing to choose the next person to read it.

And, no, I have no idea how to enforce that. Aside from public shaming, of course...


As if all this excitement weren't enough, I am posting today over at MidCenturyModernMoms about why moms of teens can be such depressing bloggers and how Xtreme Parenting: Teen Edition can fix all that. See you there!


Oh, and I guess it's time for another book giveaway? Naaah - I'll do that on Mondays from now on. Stay tuned tomorrow for another chance to participate in the Blogg…

HyperParenting - Exhibit A

Today, I present to you one e-book you'll never find me downloading.

[You didn't click, did you? You never do.]

That's okay, I'll tell you. It's an e-book for parents who struggle "with the difficult decision of picking the right preschool for their child."

That's right, folks! This book is chockfull (sp?) of checklists, worksheets, and planners that promise to enable you to find the right child-family-preschool fit. Also included: handy tips for navigating that tricky admissions process!

Whew! That's a far cry from our method of preschool selection. Essentially, Larry and I have only 2 criteria: location (Less than 3 miles from our house? Check!) and affordability (can we still feed everybody? Barely. Check!).

While it has never fit well into our family's budget (particularly the type with waiting lists and acceptance letters), there have been 2 times in our 16 years of parenting that Larry and I felt that some preschool might not be a bad id…

Beach Joys

Whew! Okay, missed a day. You see, being sick and all, I decided we didn't have anything better to do than go ahead with our plans to make a day trip to the beach, 3 hours away. I felt like hell and probably would have rescheduled; but Larry had hemmed and hawed about being able to take a day off next week instead, so I said, "Fine. We'll stick to this week. Who cares if it kills me?" Because no one can be passive-aggressive like a Jewish wife/mother...

Anna opted, once again, to stay home and hang with her best friend's family for the day. We wasted no energy cajoling her to join us, as her staying home meant we wouldn't have to take 2 cars and thereby saved us about 60 dollars in gas money. Sometimes an alienated teen can be a useful thing to have. Also, her staying home meant that she wasn't sitting with us all day, dementor-like, sucking away any enjoyment we might be deriving from watching the younger ones frolic in the sand and surf.

Not that…

Hard Times

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal ran one of those "little things you can do to save money in these hard times" articles. Apparently, the people who are supposed to be running the economy - the movers and the shakers, if you will, the Wall Street Journal readers, the businessmen - do not know the most basic math; because, if they did, they wouldn't need these economic helpful hints.

I mean, gosh, did you realize it is cheaper to rent a video from Blockbuster than to go out to the movies? Congratulations! Apparently you are smarter than the average WSJ reader.

Oh, and number 3 on the list says to make your coffee at home instead of buying it at Starbuck's.Yup, it's actually cheaper that way. Who woulda thunk it? Not, apparently, the upper-middle-class executive types who read the Wall Street Journal and who have a hand in running some of America's biggest corporations.

And, yo! all you welfare queens, if you would just stop getting that weekly manicure, you,…


Forgive my crankiness yesterday - I was coming down with something, is my excuse. So today? Even more cranky. I do hate being sick. Anyone else have this problem that, when you're sick, everything - as in, say, your entirelife - seems horrible and hopeless? It's like looking at the world through vomit-colored glasses.

Susie's still sick, also. But mostly at night. Because we wouldn't want to get a decent night's sleep, right?

I feel fat, too. That's not helping my mood. And have I mentioned the ants? They're back.

Maybe I'll do all short paragraphs today. In honor of BlogHer. Which I am sure would be really fun if I actually went to it.

And I do like mamabird. I'm glad she can take a joke. But I still wish she had given me her plane ticket.

Except I would have been too sick to go anyway. So there.

Alas, the humor well is dry today. Nothing funny. Nothing even halfway amusing. So why am I here?

I mean, in general?

See? Being sick depresses m…


Um, not to sound jealous or anything, but...could y'all just shut up about the great time you are going to have at a certain bloggers' conference in a certain fun city? Enough, already.

And, while you're at it, please don't spend time bemoaning leaving the kids behind while you attend (mamabird, I'm talking to you!). Just mail your plane ticket to me if you're that torn up about neglecting your motherly duties. I neglect my motherly duties all the time, anyway. I might as well have some real fun while I'm at it.


[Oh, and if you are interested in participating in this week's book giveaway - Why I'm Like This, by Cynthia Kaplan - please go to yesterday's post and let me know in the comments. Thanks.]

[Cranky? Moi? Hell, yeah.]


I'm starting my very own blogging book club. It will be simple, really. I'll read a book, then I will comment on it and give it away. The person who gets it must promise to do the same. (I have no idea how I will enforce that, of course.) I need some incentive to read something decent, because - really - my brain is rotting away from the inside out. I can feel it. I mean, if I see a blog post with paragraphs more than 5 sentences long and/or no pictures, I skip it 'cause it looks too hard. That is a very bad sign, indeed.

Hence, the fun of a giveaway. Granted, I still haven't mailed the first book I gave away; but I promise I will develop a better system. Maybe.

And if I were Marie of Memarie Lane, I would know how to make some sort of cute button advertising this club. Of course, if I were Marie, I would also know how to make my blog look not like a Creamsicle. Dream on...

So! I would like to start this giveaway with The Devil in the Details (Jennifer Traig)…

Back Off, Man - I'm A Scientist

Remember this post? Apparently someone over in the Mars, Inc., public relations department took it seriously. I just received this e-mail:

I know from reading your post from June 27th, "A Willy Wonka Nightmare," that you are interested in Mars, Incorporated, IBM and the USDA-ARS's plan to sequence the cocoa genome. If you still have questions about the project, I hope you will consider attending a conference call taking place this Wednesday afternoon, July 16th, with Dr. Howard-Yana Shapiro, Ph.D., global director of plant science for Mars, Incorporated. Dr. Shapiro will be taking questions from bloggers interested in Mars' work with the cocoa genome.
Please let me know if you are interested in attending. Call details will be circulated to those interested as soon as they are available.

So, if any of you have questions you would like me to ask this scientist, please tell me. And if someone could enlighten me as to how a conference call works, that would be great. …

A Danger To Society

Have I told you that I am a truly excellent driver? Have I mentioned that I have had no driving mishaps in, oh, 27 years (aside from one speeding ticket - I was going a whopping 44 mph at the time). Because I've just realized that some of you might be getting the wrong idea about me - let's face it, first I'm stopped by an MP for reckless driving; then, I sideswipe someone in a parking lot. And, then, well...there's what happened today.

You see, today I managed to put a hole the size of a golf ball in the sidewall of my tire. I know, it's pretty difficult to do, especially when you are only driving about 5 mph; but it may have something to do with the curb I ran into. I mean, who knew that storm drains were so sharp on the corners? Luckily, I was in the middle of pulling into my parking space at home, because the tire went flat in about 2.4 seconds. Whoosh! The kids thought it was really cool. So did Larry, when he came home from a long day at work and dis…

In Which I Try Not To Be Jealous

Dear Sue,

Remember in high school, when a friend says you should have a party and invite all the kids who won't give you the time of day and then maybe they'll realize how cool you are and be your friend? So you do it, and "they" all show up and act really obnoxious and eat all the food and then they leave and they don't talk to you the next day in school? And you feel lousy, and your mother keeps making it worse by trying to act all nice and asking who everyone was and all?

No? Oh. Well, then, never mind that. But, look. I'm a little upset. Here you've got your millions of readers heading on over here and tramping all over the place - I mean, can't they even take their shoes off first? -and they're reading all the goodies and not even bothering to leave any comments, and then...then!...they outclick over to the voting page, where they are all voting for you.

I feel used.

But, hey, none of that matters. You see, my readers, the ones who come her…

Missing Child

I'm winning, but if Sue gets her internet access back before the 11th, I'm in trouble. She'll order her hordes of faithful readers over there to vote for her, and my lead will melt away faster than a snowball in heck. Because Sue, you know, does have that sort of evil power over her blog-reading minions. So don't stop voting! 3 more days!

Anna's been sick. Double outer-ear infection. Doctor gave her drops last night, but then she took a turn for the worse. Woke me up at 5:30 AM. Called me sobbing at the pool this afternoon, in utter pain, feverish, etc. Larry left work early to take her to urgent care. Got numbing drops, more meds, etc. And as soon as that pain (which I do realize is excruciating) stopped, whaddaya think...?

"Aren't you driving me to ensemble practice tonight?"

"Um, 2 hours ago, you were writhing in pain. You have a fever. You are, in fact, very sick. We're not."

Here, my friends, is where words fail e…

Taking Care Of Business...

Maraiya commented yesterday only to ask if I have thrown up yet. Sorry to disappoint all you vomit voyeurs out there, but it seems Brian's puking episode on the 4th stemmed from simple overconsumption of holiday goodies. Nothing contagious, thank goodness.

I don't think I'll be eating cherry pie any time soon, however. Yuck.

Oh, and today Holly, over at June Cleaver Nirvana, gave me an award for making vomit "the new black." Boy, I wish I had thought of that line. I don't really understand the award itself - it's called Arte y Pico, which I think is some sort of salsa. I can't wait to try it.

It seems that there is yet another stumbling block to my being anointed the Imperfect Blogger of the Month. Here I was keeping an eye on Sue , while all the while MadMad has pulled even with me in the voting; and she hasn't been abasing herself by begging her readers for votes, even. I had assumed that her post, although laugh-inducing (as is everything…

'Til Death Do Us Part

I found the following assertion (well, warning, really) in this column, which interviewed a priest on marriage advice.

People are the same after marriage as before, only more so.

Pretty astute for someone who has never been married, no? He meant it in the sense that you can't change someone by marrying them (i.e., someone who drinks too much before marriage will drink too much after marriage too). But it occurs to me that this statement is also true in the sense that whatever attracts you to a person in the first place, has the potential to drive you crazy after a while. The boyfriend who is so steady and dependable? Becomes boring. The guy with the great sense of humor? Turns out he can never be serious. One of the things that attracted me to Larry was that he was so nice to everyone he met. Now it often irritates me that he gives everyone the benefit of the doubt. Dammit, can't he be just a little critical?

I'm sure this works the same way for guys, too. The bubbly …

Living History

This little tidbit is for all you homeschoolers out there, who I am sure have visited just as many living history museums as our family has. Have I mentioned that we went to Plimouth Plantation at least 3 times during the year we spent in New England, and Sturbridge Village twice? I won't even bother to recount the joyful time we had last year, when we dragged Anna with us to visit Jamestown. Suffice it to say, listening to 50-year-old history nuts dressed in leather jerkins and funny hats tell us how to clean a hunting rifle was not her idea of a fun day. And the 3 and a half hours in the van with her younger siblings? It made the Amistad look like a joy ride. (Thankfully, I was in the other van with Theo.)

My point being, Larry and I are living history nuts; and the children have been made to suffer accordingly.

Oh, and that Imperfect Parent voting thing? I guess people can vote each and every day through the 11th. And, gee, I've never won anything before. All those …

May The Funniest Post Win...

I have been nominated as the "Imperfect Blogger of the Week" for the last week of June. Imagine that - just because I couldn't recognize my own child at the pool. I was sort of excited, at first, because every month they have readers vote for the most Imperfect Blogger of the Week and I figured that no one could beat a story like mine. That is, until I saw that this post of Sue's had also been nominated in June.

So, I was going to beg everyone to go over and vote for me (hurry!), because I think there might be a real prize available; but now I'm just going to have to tell y'all to head on over there and vote your funny bone. That's the only honest thing I can do when I am up against the blogger who makes me laugh every single time she posts. And she's had a rough 6 months. And she's in the middle of moving again. Plus, hers was pretty funny. Damn.

I hope everyone had a glorious (and wormless) Fourth!

[Edited to add: I was about to click "…

Here We Go 'Round The Mulberry Bush...

Dawn posted about her husband and kids finding mulberries on the trees near their campsite, which reminded me of my own mulberry story (don't you have one, too?). It's a story of birthdays, and self-sufficiency, and disillusionment, all rolled into one.

You see, mulberries are ripe here at the same time as David's birthday; so, many years ago, when he was a baby, Theo and Anna and I picked some and saved them for a couple of days so we could use them to color the frosting for David's cake. I was crowing with pride over my resourcefulness as we mashed the hand-picked wild berries (free! not artificial! Just like the pioneers!) into our all-natural confectioner's-sugar frosting - yes, I was practically overcome with the ingenuity of it all, until I noticed several minuscule worms (worms!) (teeny-tiny worms!) crawling in the bowl.

This discovery would not have been quite so traumatic had I not had a spoonful of said frosting in my mouth at the time.

Alas! This occurre…

If At First You Don't Succeed...

This, my friends, is what I did this evening. I finished my sock. I mean, I finished off my sock. This is what remains of Attempt #3 to knit myself some cute cotton/wool socks out of honest-to-goodness Sockotta sock yarn (avid readers of this blog - if there are any - will note that the yarn color is eerily similar to that of the shoes that changed my life). Lord knows, I am not a knitting perfectionist like a certain famous knitter whose blog I read; so I cannot for the life of me figure out why I keep ripping this poor sock back and re-doing it (the second time, I actually had it Kitchener-ed, and I still ripped it back). But here we go, for the fourth (and hopefully last) time.

Okay, got that off my chest - whew!

In other news, Anna is annoyed at me. I bought her a file box and some folders and she said, "Oh, I don't need that!"

And I said, "Yes, you do - look at all these loose papers lying on the floor of your room and filling your closet."

And she said,…

Score One For Darwin

Larry and I decided to take an evening walk around our neighborhood, eating some popsicles that I stole from the kids. Actually, I came up with the plan, because I am a fun person who hasn't forgotten how to enjoy the little things in life; and Larry good-naturedly went along with it. A slight drizzle started as we stepped out the door; by the time we were down the block, the drizzle had turned into a downpour, complete with thunder and distant flashes of lightning, causing us to hie homeward with our dissolving popsicles. Halfway back, I noticed a dry spot on the sidewalk under a big oak tree. "Hey!" I said. "Let's just stand under here and eat our popsicles and watch the rain!" (See? I'm fun. Romantic, even...)

"Here?" Larry said. "Next to this very large tree in a lightning storm?"

"Yeah, why not? It's dry here."

A slight pause. Then, from Larry, "You know, I'm beginning to see how natural selection wor…

Summertime Help

The whining and bickering and complaints of "I'm bored" that are now filling homes around the nation is akin to a summertime plague, like polio - only no one has developed a vaccine for it. Forget expensive day camps and pricey excursions to the movies. Instead, I offer you the following suggestions to survive the season:

Cheap Summer Activities For Kids
Inexpensive toys - my 3 youngest spent over an hour yesterday watching foam capsules in a bowl of water expand into animal shapes. I found it in the dollar aisle in Target. (Granted, my kids can be easily amused - but even I was surprised by this one.)Water gun fights - you can buy decent SuperSoakers for 5 dollars each at Target or KMart, which toys will provide your kids with at least an hour of outdoor fun per use (just make sure tolock the door behind them so they can't sneak back inside too soon). Then they spend another half hour fighting over who puts the hose away.  Bonus!Blanket tents and pillow fights -…