Monday, June 30, 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 by?

It's amazing what the threat of public shaming will do. One hour, folks - that's all we had. And, by golly, we got it done. Our visitors even stayed to dinner. It was great to see them. And after they left, Larry and I spent the rest of the evening alternately high-fiving each other over our excellent teamwork and quietly enjoying our comfy, clean living room.

Of course, I've still got the kids' rooms to finish. And the basement. Anyone out there want to threaten a surprise visit? Please?

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

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 their new rooms today, and the younger 4 are all excited, because it's fun to sleep in a different place. Listening to them, you'd think we had relocated to halfway around the planet. Then we went to Target - which, incidentally, has a wonderful air conditioning system - and bought Rachel an early b'day present from Grandma and Grandpa - matching twin patchwork quilts with pretty sheets for her and Susie's beds. So their room is looking pleasingly girly, which makes me feel a lot better. Just don't look in the closet...for the love of God, save yourselves.

Theo will be crashing on the sofa until we manage to haul the humongous filing cabinet out of his new room. (I don't really understand what is in it, as it certainly isn't holding our regular household files - those are overflowing a milk crate in our den, right next to the computer desk.) And then I will still have the pleasure of getting rid of/stashing all the boxes of crap we dumped in the family room. It's enough to make a girl contemplate arson.

Somehow, in between shoveling out closets and desk drawers, I found time today to tidy up and reorganize around here, too. I've been coveting what I call the "live" blog roll I've spotted on other people's blogs. So now (ta-da!) I have one! Check it out. Between that and my "Shared Items" widget, I am feeling positively tech-savvy these days.

Who knows? I may even get up the nerve to mess with my template. Ever since Memarie Lane mentioned that every time she reads my blog, she gets a craving for a Creamsicle, it's been making me sick. I hate Creamsicles.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

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. They are working hard to keep our chocolate supply steady and secure, despite the ravages of weather and disease. While I waste my time nattering on and on about kids, and vomit, and (yes) mice, these forward-thinking execs at Mars are leaving no stone unturned in their search for the elusive cacao genome.

My favorite line in the article was this:

Cocoa futures fell nearly 1 percent yesterday.

Who knew? Who knew that anyone traded in cocoa futures? Not me. If I saw a cocoa future, I would probably eat it by mistake. Let us thank our lucky stars that the future of the world's chocolate has not been left in my entirely incapable hands.

************

And that's it, folks...have a great weekend! I'm busy re-arranging all the bedrooms, because - as it turns out - when we moved last year, I managed to put all the kids in the wrong places. It's a talent of mine.

So, Theo is moving downstairs to the guest bedroom that we finally managed to paint and repair; Susie is leaving my room (I hope) to move with Rachel into the bedroom where I had originally (erroneously) deposited David and Brian. I'm moving David and Brian to Theo's old room, because it has a bigger closet where David can hide all his duct-tape-craft-stick creations from his mean mommy. Anna will remain in the room she had heretofore been sharing with Rachel.

Will I experience an outpouring of gratitude from Anna when she comes home to discover that she has her very own room? Don't be silly. She will consider her new solitary splendor as merely her due, her royal birthright. I am hoping she secludes herself in it until she decides to like me again. Which will be, say, 4 years from now. If I'm lucky.






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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Economic Realities

What 700 Dollars Can Buy
  1. 70 lunch dates for Larry and me
  2. A fun week at the beach for our family in the off-season
  3. Over a year of YMCA membership for Larry (forget about me, I gave up exercise for the year)
  4. Many, many fun books
  5. One year of the accredited homeschool curriculum we use for the high schoolers
  6. Almost a month's worth of food for a family of 8
  7. 175 gallons of gas
  8. Let's not think about the yarn, okay? Let's just not go there. Ow.
  9. 8 community college credits, for a hard-working teenage boy
  10. 2 weeks of High Adventure Boy Scout camp for same

What 700 Dollars Will Be Spent On Instead
  1. 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...


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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

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 and the Beanstalk). The 4 cultivated (barely) boxes look pathetic, with their dying basil, the already dead zucchini plant, and a bunch of tomato seedlings which, while not dying, are not exactly thriving either. It all looks like a botanical practical joke. In fact, I feel like the class clown of the community gardens.

And, yet, I can't give up. I have young children who do not realize that the visions of copious amounts of produce that dance through their heads will never be realized. Who do not understand that, merely by suggesting we grow things in the garden this year, their mother has essentially lied to them. Because she knew that success would be a chimera, a tantalizing pot of gold at the end of a blood, sweat, and tears rainbow. These trusting innocents still believe, gosh darn it, despite all evidence to the contrary, that we will end up with market baskets full of edibles; and who am I to destroy their dream? No, as long as they believe, I must continue this charade of horticultural competence. I'm just praying for an act of God (earthquake, twister, whatever) to come along and destroy our work before the kids realize it was all for nought anyway.

But, I swear, if I read one more blog with people showing off photos of their gardening successes (Barb), I may have to quit the blogosphere until the first frost. Talk about salt in my wounds...

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Book Lust

[Readers will note that I have finally managed to install a StumbleUpon button on this blog. Readers would have to be blind not to note it, as it is way too large. It looks like I am shouting and that embarrasses me. Considering, however, that it took me an entire month to figure out how to install it, there is no way I am going to try fixing it. It's past midnight and I need to go to bed.]


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, another Jewish memoir - I'm detecting a pattern here.) Awaiting my perusal are Little Heathens and Traveling Mercies. And of course I had to pick up the copy of Knitting For Baby that I've been lusting after for months.

I'm a very happy woman. There's nothing like having a stack of yummy books waiting for you on your nightstand to make you want to slip into something a little more comfortable and slide between those covers. [oooh, good pun! completely unintended! I'm a genius!]

You'll note that most of these books are memoirs. I'm currently addicted to the genre. It's odd, you know - up to the day I had my first child, I had no interest in reading anything but fiction. I would read - for fun! - short stories by Isak Dinesen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and assorted other well-known authors. My favorite book was All The King's Men, by William Penn Warren. In other words, I wasn't always as shallow as I sound now.

But I've read almost nothing but non-fiction since the minute Theo was born. Childrearing, it seems, leaves me no patience for the willing suspension of disbelief. At first, I devoured all the parenting books I could get my hands on, because - believe it or not - until the baby was actually born, I did not understand that I was going to be raising a child. I was therefore woefully unprepared for my new situation.

[I know, one could argue that the parenting literature belongs in the fiction category, for all the good it does the hapless reader. But let's not go there right now.]

Once I finished every single parenting tome ever published, I moved on to other how-to's and self-help books: the marriage ones (which should all be subtitled "How To Manipulate Your Spouse Into Doing What You Want"), the home organization ones (didn't take), the homeschooling ones ("Teach Your Child Latin While You Do Dishes!" and other lies)....the list is endless.

Oh, I dabbled a bit in history and economics, too; in fact, the year we spent in Rhode Island, I waded through both Empire: The Rise and Demise of British World Power (written by Niall Ferguson, only the hottest British economist a gal could ever hope to meet) and a number of history books by Thomas Cahill . Impressive, yet...dry facts can be so boring, can't they? Life is just too short to waste on data. So the yenta in me has found my true biblio-love: reading real-life, first-person stories, preferably humorous ones. (I prefer not to waste my time reading someone who is whining on and on about his/her life - I get enough of that from my own children.)

So excuse me if my posts are short and far-between for a few weeks; I'll be blissfully wallowing in other people's lives and thoughts for a while. It's refreshing to forget about my own boring problems for a bit and laugh at someone else's. Not charitable maybe, but refreshing...



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Sunday, June 22, 2008

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! And in my hard-to-find 5 and 1/2 size, to boot! (pun most definitely intended) At first I only let myself try them on. Then I put them primly back on their shelf, saying, "No, it wouldn't make sense. I don't need them." Every few days, though, I would go back and visit them, admire their candy colors. Caress their cool canvas. Admire their happy combination of form and function. Let's face it, I was smitten. But, truth to tell, it was all taking an emotional toll: the sneaking around, the hurried trysts, the yearning....

Reader, I bought them. Me, the woman who has never purchased - nay, even desired - a pair of shoes that she didn't absolutely need. I walked out of the store with them, feeling guilty yet unrepentant. They were mine, all mine! And they have fulfilled their promise. Every time I slip my old, tired feet into their caress, I feel years younger; each time I catch a glimpse of their cheerful colors, my mood brightens.

A mid-life crisis, maybe? A breaking of the bonds of middle-aged caution and frugality? Or maybe this purchase signals a hankering for a simpler, more innocent time, like that of my 4th birthday, when my grandparents gave me a pair of multi-colored striped Keds that I loved with all the fervor of a preschooler. All I know is that a new aesthetic sense seems to have been awakened in me, and I can better understand why Susie's entire little body quivers like an excited puppy's when I bring her into Payless Shoes. The colors! The styles! The possibilities!

It's a rebirth, I tell you. And all from a pair of shoes. I get it now. I really get it.

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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.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

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 (because...well...today'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 manure pile. (A cute one, though, I must say.) Larry and I bickered over who should change her (did I mention that today is my birthday? Oh, I did? Well, then...). You would think that, after 6 kids, we wouldn't bicker over things like that anymore; but old habits die hard. He felt the incident was my fault, because I had said we didn't need a diaper on her, so I should be the one to clean her up (even though it is my birthday today)(but, I've mentioned that). So I pouted. He ignored me, for a while. But I won.

Larry won the other argument though. We could hear bird calls everywhere as we picked, and at one point Larry said, "Listen to that one! It sounded just like something electronic." Which made me launch into my "No, electronic rings and trills are modeled after bird calls, not the other way 'round. That's the problem these days - we're so disconnected from nature that we forget where all these sounds originally came from, even when we experience them directly, blah, blah, blah" speech, all the way down the row and into the next row, where we discovered a box hooked up to some speakers, with the words "BirdGard" emblazoned on it.

Come to think of it, we hadn't seen a single bird the whole time. Apparently, the electronic hawk calls being broadcast keep the birds from eating the berries. So...I had to eat crow on that one. (Ha, ha, ha - I couldn't help it!)

It's my birthday, I can pun if I want to...

When we got home from our farm labors, I went straight upstairs and took a 2-hour nap. It was heavenly. I swear, there is nothing I like better than a mid-afternoon siesta. I think I've been programmed to expect a midday break from the daily craziness by 16 years of napping babies. Ever since Susie gave up her nap, I've been pining for my quiet time.

I made blueberry buckle when I got up. It was delicious. We put 3 candles in it and called it a birthday cake. There were more candles, but the girls got a little overeager and stuck them in the cake before it cooled down sufficiently. They melted. Yum.


Anna gave me my birthday present early by having a nice little tantrum yesterday evening; we let her go have a bunch of fun all day, and she was angry that that experience wouldn't be repeated today. We had the nerve to suggest that it was, in fact, our desire for her to have fun at work camp all next week that necessitated her staying home today to help us prepare for her and her father's absence. (Larry was dragooned into being a driver and work crew supervisor for the week.) In Anna's words, "Him? I don't even want him to go!"

Be involved, the experts say. Show the kids you care. I am starting to think that the "experts" never actually had any teenagers of their own.

Theo's present to me was taking it like a man (truly) when we decided that he couldn't go to work camp after all because he would miss too much of his Arabic class. His reaction was impressive - no histrionics, no door slamming, just a resigned acceptance of losing the only fun thing we had planned for him all summer. Heck, I was more upset than he was. I cried. (In my defense, it was an emotional time of the month for me.) (And...it was practically my birthday...)

The little kids cried, too - they had been anticipating a dairyfest of epic proportions for the week he was to be away (Theo's dairy allergy is severe enough to preclude our cooking any cheese in the house while he is in residence). They had planned homemade pizza, quesadillas, whipped cream, and baked ziti. Given that I probably would have gained 10 pounds over the week from this menu, I'm sort of glad those plans fell through.

Well! Time's a-wastin', and I need to take advantage of any free moment I can get today. I think I'll go to the bookstore and just sit there. Quietly. You see, if I stay home, I have to keep reminding people that it's my birthday; because they expect me to do the things that I have to do on ordinary days. Maybe I should just give them a list:


Things I Don't Do On My Birthday

  1. Settle fights
  2. Serve meals
  3. Button buttons
  4. Kill centipedes (all right, I never do that)
  5. Listen to tantrums
  6. Share the bathroom
  7. Eat sensibly
  8. Get off the computer before I darn well want to

I leave you with this, as a little present, though I don't feel like crying. Still, it's a birthday song. Again, look at those back-up singers. Look at how clothed everyone is. I think Anna fears that that is how I want her to dress.



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Thursday, June 19, 2008

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 been blazing through her assignments like a house afire. Atta girl! Don't give up! Never say die!

You would think she would be grateful for my encouragement, right? Ah, but no! You have forgotten what it is to dwell in that strange space known as the mind of a teen girl. (And, believe me, that forgetting? It is a good thing.) Anna is angry at me because I can't help her with her school work fast enough (in fact, I managed to doze off on the couch in the middle of helping Anna with her geometry today, while Susie climbed all over me - it felt sort of good, like a cheap-o massage), and she is in a rush, gosh darn it, which certainly isn't her fault (oddly enough, nothing is); and what was I thinking scheduling a dental appointment (several weeks ago) for this Thursday anyway?

I don't know what I expected. Some grateful tears, maybe? A "Thank you, Mommy, for not giving up on me..." We all have our fantasies, don't we? Granted, mine are perhaps a tad more unrealistic than other people's. But that's because reality is for people who don't have to deal with a self-absorbed teenager.

Anna is also annoyed that I am planning to show up (with younger siblings in tow) at the farewell dinner for the workcampers on Saturday. Families were invited, of course. And, its happening to be my birthday, the timing couldn't be better. No cooking or clean-up to worry about - now that's a party! I think I'll have us all wear funny birthday hats and bring some of those silly noisemakers you hand out at kids' parties. Anna will like that.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

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 fetch another customer service person to override the wrong price and enter the new one. And they even gave me one pack of tea towels free!

Now wouldn't it have been nice if, after inconveniencing no less than three (count them, three) store employees, I actually had the money to pay for my purchase? But it was at this point I discovered that I had left my credit card at home by the computer. And there were only 34 lonely cents in my purse.

So I had to ask the nice cashier if she could void the purchase. And hang onto my stuff until I could come back with my card. I considered just taking the one free pack of tea towels and calling it a night, but I thought that would be too tacky. I have to hand it to that woman - she didn't start whacking me over the head with her scanning gun. Because I know that's what I would have done if I had been in her place.

Feel better, Sue? I thought so...

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

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 holiday shopping abilities have proven to be markedly deficient.

What bothers me is that my birthday is coming up on Saturday; and with this gift-giving debacle fresh in Larry's mind, I'm not expecting much. Maybe I should just eat his candy now and be done with it.

It's funny, you know, as a parent, that something that seems like an excellent idea in April can really come back to bite you in June. Something, say, like informing your teen daughter that she needs to finish her freshman year schoolwork before the last week of June, or she won't be attending the high school work camp with her youth group as she had planned. You know, the work camp that is like a week-long slumber party, with fun activities in the evening and a mid-week visit to a fantastic water park....

Light a fire under her, I thought. Give her some incentive!

So, now? I am faced with the prospect of a very unhappy young woman sitting home all next week with her least favorite person in the world (um, that would be me) and her ferociously hated siblings while her father and older brother go off to have a fun time with all the other kids. I was getting chest pains last night just thinking about it. Woo hoo! Happy Birthday to me! Anyone need a mother with 4 kids in tow to visit next week?

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

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. See you there - I'll be the one with the knitting (but fully clothed).

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

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...

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Friday, June 13, 2008

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 loyalty. But, no, they don't. Every few years I will walk confidently into the lingerie department of JCPenney's or Kohl's and find, to my utter horror, that my style no longer exists. It's gone. Poof! Just like that.

Or, even worse, I find that my style number is still there; but things are, sadly, not the same. The shape of the cups have changed, say, or there isn't enough coverage in the chest area. Not to name names, LILYETTE MINIMIZER, but a while back I bought 3 of your stupid brassieres in the style that I had been buying for years; and none of them fit. MAY YOU ROT IN HELL!

Oh, dear, just excuse that little outburst, will you? It's just that this is such an emotional topic for me. Do you know how demoralizing it is to stand practically naked in front of a dressing room mirror, trying on bra after bra after bra in assorted sizes, all the while being treated to an uncensored view of a body that is, to put it kindly, not what it once was? A body, in fact, that you saw on your best friend's mother when you all shared a hotel room when you and your friend were 12, and you thought that her mother looked okay for an old lady?

I've just got to take a few deep breaths here. Give me a sec.

Okay, I'm back. All this to say that I feel well-qualified to give bra shopping advice for us hard-to-fit types. In other words, all you chicks with your cute little A and B cups who can just grab any brassiere off the rack at Target without trying it on with 3 different shirts to check its containment potential can just run along now. There's nothing for you here.

Are they gone? Good. I hates them with their sexy little shelf-bra camisoles. Life is so unfair.


Advice For Women With Something Extra

1. Do not go bra shopping with the children. Not only will they not allow you nearly enough time to go through the entire collection of minimizers available, but they will also make frequent and loud comments about what they are seeing in your dressing room. Believe me, you only have to hear, "That makes you look like Grandma!" once to understand the wisdom of this rule.

2. You get what you pay for. At one point I rebelled and said, "Why can't I spend 10 bucks or less on one of these fun-looking sport bras at Target? My children deserve to go to college same as the progeny of those small-breasted tarts." I wore my cheap-o bras for 2 full months; because this happened in the days before digital cameras, and 2 months was how long it took me to get my rolls of film developed into pictures that showed just how awful I can look without the proper support. The day I got those photos back? A very bad day indeed. But eventually I crawled out from under my bed and went to the store, where I plunked down everything I had for the deluxe containment model; and I've never looked back.

3. If you have a D or larger cup, anything less than 3 rows of hooks in the back is the manufacturer's idea of a joke. A joke, meaning that you look pretty darn funny with your boobs dragging down to your navel as the back of your bra creeps up toward your neck. Gravity, folks - it's not just a good idea, it's the law.

4. You need to put aside your fantasies when you step into that lingerie department. Do you see all those dainty lacy bras and teddies and camisoles? Just avert your eyes - they are not for you. You will always have to wear something that looks as if more engineering went into it than into the Eiffel Tower. It sucks. Get used to it. (I sound bitter, don't I? Damn right, I'm bitter.)

5. Don't assume that nursing will be easier just because you are so well-endowed. First of all, none of the pretty nursing bras come with enough rows of hooks (see #3). Second, when the baby's head is smaller than your boob, the nursing logistics get a little tricky. Where am I going with this? I don't know.

6. Do not even get me started on bathing suits. I just thank the good Lord that I can order 2 different sizes for top and bottom from Lands End. (And, hey, marketing folks at Lands End, if you want to send me a free swimsuit for that little promo, you know where to find me...)

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

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, so I ran into this other store and walked up to the deli sandwich counter. There were 2 women being waited on and I was next. Cool! I wouldn't be late to meet my hubby. The deli worker gave me my sandwiches, and when I turned around to leave I noted that there was a line gazillion people long behind me. Whew! I thought. Good thing I got here right before the lunch rush began. I guess I'm not the only cheap-o in town.

Yes, I did think that. And, when I met my husband, I boasted how lucky I was to beat the crowds.

Okay. So, this past Tuesday, I made sure to get to the store by 11:30 again. As I approached the deli counter I realized I hadn't beat the rush this time. Oh, well. So I got in line. And while I was standing there I realized the awful truth. Last week? When I walked straight up to the counter? There was a line then, too. But I didn't notice it. And I guess everyone was too surprised by my apparent chutzpah to say anything to me like, "Hey! Wait your turn, you pushy broad!"

What kills me is that, really, the same trick should work again. But, now that I know I'm cheating, I don't have the guts to try it.

*************************************

The birthday? That went well. I made a cake and David insisted on decorating it himself. I knew there was a reason I like him so much. He decorated it with an icing rocket, and positioned red and yellow candles at the tail end to look like flames. Sort of. We gave him some presents - m&m's from Brian, and gummy bears from Rachel, and a Hershey bar from Susie (my kids have a thing about candy, I guess). A couple of SuperSoaker water guns from Theo and Anna (under duress), and a thing that makes shaved ice for snowcones when you turn the handle (well, you have to put ice in it first).

We're sort of boring here, I guess. Also, cheap.

We took David out for pizza for dinner; Larry called to say that he was running late, so the kids and I should just meet him at the restaurant at 6:45. Oh, yeah, riiight... Being that I am emotionally scarred by what happened last time he promised to meet us for pizza, I made sure to arrive more than 15 minutes late. And Larry arrived 15 minutes after that. So I didn't let him have any of my soda. Hey, I'm not a doormat. These boots are made for walking, you know...

And now that I've looked up this video, I just have to share it with you. Check out those backup dancers.




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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

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...

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

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?

Sheesh - talk about having too many choices and too much money to spend on them.


And, then, in the "how much can we show off that children haven't changed our lives?" category, we have this handy-dandy article on how to take your infant backpacking. Real backcountry backpacking. Because that's what I like to do: strap an infant on my chest, put a 30-pound pack on my back, and head for the woods.

You know, the only reason I would be heading for the woods would be to get away from the crying baby, not to take him with me.

Look at the picture that accompanies this article (I can't upload it - aaargh!) and tell me: just what is this woman trying to prove? Maybe it's a first-baby thing - you know, you're anxious to prove that babies haven't changed your life one bit; you're still a normal person even though you change poopy diapers and catch spit-up food in your hands.

Me, I've got nothing to prove. And my inordinate fondness for indoor plumbing would prevent my ever even entertaining the idea of doing this. What? Life isn't challenging enough with a baby at home, you need to take him on the trail? Good grief.

That's all tonight, folks. I'd like to get to bed before midnight for once. And we've got 9 tons of stone dust to move tomorrow. We try to save this sort of work for when the temperature is above 90 degrees - that way we can sweat out all our toxins while we shovel.

Multi-tasking is the way to go.

[I can't fix the orange mess up there. I tried.]

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Monday, June 09, 2008

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 job himself. Maybe these women just weren't good at fractions; but three full time jobs divided evenly between 2 people equal 1 and a half jobs each. Which is a lot of work for anyone, and particularly if there happen to be children in the household.

[Of course, there were those whose solution was to warn women not to have kids; or not to have too many of them. But I will save my rant on that subject for another time.]

So, if both spouses want to work outside the home, great! (I know, you all were just waiting for my permission.) Just make sure that there is someone else doing the needed work at home, so that your lives don't fall apart. It's no fun working all week, just to spend weekends catching up on laundry and grocery shopping and housecleaning. It's not fair to ourselves, it's not fair to our kids. And our insistence on trying to do things this way makes it clear that most of us do not believe that women who take care of their homes and their children full time already have a job.

But we do. And the pay sucks.

[Edited to add: Some people seem to be interpreting this as another blast in the Mommy wars. It isn't. I'm a uniter, not a divider. We all work. Some of us get paid. Some don't. Some of us find our jobs fulfilling (paid or not), while some of us don't. We all struggle to find time for ourselves. We have more in common than not. So cut it out.]

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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Hot!

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 translates into 9 tons of stone dust and 1 ton of cobblestones. All needing to be trucked in by wheelbarrow from the parking lot out front.

At least I won't be tempted to tease him about his lack of a regular exercise routine for a while.

Of course, right after Larry began excavating, we were inundated by weather wet enough to make me consider googling "blueprints ark". The precipitation turned our half-dug yard into a muddy swimming pool which is apparently irresistible to various children belonging to me and to my neighbor. She wasn't too happy the day she had to wade into our mud pit to drag her 5-year-old twin boys out by their arms. I expect to see a For Sale sign in front of their house any day now.

You know, it just occurred to me that no one seems to last very long next door to us.

In an attempt to escape the heat and humidity (and the angry neighbors whose property values we are doing our best to destroy), I took my best friend to the mall yesterday to help her pick out maternity clothes. (We brought our teen daughters with us, for which favor they owe us undying love and adulation.) They wandered around while my friend and I spent an inordinate amount of time in Motherhood, attempting to find maternity clothing suitable for a woman who is not under 25 and stick-figure thin.

Is there any way to let clothing manufacturers know that there are expectant mothers who would like to have shirts that do not accentuate the rolls of fat down our sides? Is that too much to ask? This horrible trend of looking sexy and svelte during pregnancy started when I was pregnant with Susie over 3 years ago, and it shows no signs of abating. I remember weeping because I couldn't find a simple pair of elastic waist shorts with a belly panel (at that point, the maternity fashionistas had decided that I would be more comfortable in shorts that did not cover my belly at all) and an attractive, flowing shirt that would cover up (rather than show off) my middle-aged pregnant body.

So. We finally staggered out of there with 3 acceptable outfits (I do love spending other people's money), a bathing suit (another note to manufacturers: pregnant women need support in the bust area, fellas), and a couple of nursing bras (one more thing? If a woman is wearing a D or larger cup, anything less than 3 rows of hooks in the back of her bra is just a joke. Got that?). I had walked in there a teeny bit jealous of my pregnant friend; I left thanking my lucky stars that I didn't have to go through the humiliation of trying on every single piece of clothing in the store to find something that looked appropriate.

Since the clothing ordeal wasn't enough for me, I came home and decided it was a great day (hot! sunny! weekend!) for the kids and I to take a 5-gallon cooler of lemonade to our local bike trail and charge 50 cents a cup for some refreshment. Did I mention it was hot? And sunny? So hot and sunny, in fact, that there was hardly any business. The kids whiled away the time drinking up their potential profit, while I tried to knit on a sock (bamboo needles and humidity don't mix well) and worried about how many cups of lemonade Susie could hold before she would need the potty. I'm surprised one of the few people biking by didn't call the police and accuse me of child endangerment. It was that hot.

But the kids stuck it out, because they are too young and innocent to realize when their mother is being abusive. And they netted about 17 dollars, which made them feel like Rockefellers. So I guess risking death-by-broiling was worth it.

Have I mentioned it's hot?

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

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.]

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Friday, June 06, 2008

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 fan - cheapest, yes, but it also has the widest gaps for little fingers to fit through; and it doesn't oscillate, which necessitates siblings' shoving each other away from it so each can have a "turn" getting cool.
  • Double window fan - efficient, fits well in window, but not useful during the day when it pulls enough humidity inside to make the ceilings drip.
  • Oscillating turbo floor fan (round) - Efficient, small, but it still looks like someone could get their fingers chopped off (although there would be a silver lining to that situation: the ER is probably air-conditioned)
  • Double oscillating floor fan - Hey! 2 kids can chop their fingers off at the same time! Great idea!
  • "Retro" fan - Looks cool, but form may be triumphing over function...
I ended up buying one double window fan (for non-humid nights) and one tower fan (space-saving design! motorized oscillation! remote control! tiny holes!). It took me a very long time to pick them out. But that didn't matter, because I was full of energy and wide awake, thanks to my drug-pushing friends.

You see, I was at a friend's house for a homeschool party this afternoon when I felt a migraine coming on. She offered me some aspirin-caffeine drug and recommended I take two. Please bear in mind that the most caffeine I have ever had at one time is a can of coke (35 milligrams - I looked it up). Turns out I ingested over 130 milligrams of caffeine in one fell swoop. That would be an extremely strong cup of coffee.

So I've discovered why everyone has way more energy than I do - you all drink coffee. And I don't. Larry looked extremely confused when he came home from work and was greeted by a wife who simply could not stop talking. Usually, I'm barely functional by the time he gets home. I'm just dragging through the dinner hour, calculating the minutes until bedtime. If he tries to start a conversation with me, I cry.

Not tonight, though. I regaled him with several amusing tales of what I had heard on NPR that afternoon, reported what everyone had said at the party, cheerfully babbled on and on about what a mess the backyard is, all the while zipping around the kitchen, filling water cups, giggling at nothing in particular, and generally acting like a 20-years-younger version of myself.

You know, you coffee-drinkers may be on to something.

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

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 Diner next. 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 (which is most definitely not in tornado country) was under a tornado watch and there were wild thunderstorms and trees whipping around in the wind and all sorts of fun things. We couldn't convince Brian to come out of the basement bathroom, even when the worst had passed. He figured it was an interior room with no windows and he wanted to optimize his chances of survival. And when we finally emerged from hiding, we found the tops of trees snapped off all along our road for about half a mile.

So maybe Brian was right.

What was interesting was what everyone chose to bring with them into the basement. As in, if you can only save one thing, what would it be? Anna brought her flute; Benjamin his comic book (to read while sitting in the bathroom); I wanted to bring the computer, but I knew I couldn't disconnect it in time. I would have taken the flash drive (is that the right term?) that holds all my backed-up documents, if I had had any idea where it was. The whole scene reminded me of the Mary Tyler Moore episode when her apartment building is on fire and she grabs the big letter "M" hanging on the wall as she runs out the door.

What? You don't remember that? Mary Tyler Moore was a popular sitcom that people my age used to watch; it was groundbreaking, in fact, as it featured a career woman who wasn't married and didn't even have a regular boyfriend. People would stay home on Saturday nights just to watch this show, along with All In The Family and Bob Newhart. You see, kiddies, we didn't have messing around with our cellphones as a way to waste time, way back in the technological dark ages of the 70's. We had to watch TV, instead.

No one carried a cellphone in Tootsie, by the way; and people were using typewriters. That is, when they weren't talking on telephones with big, bulky cords. Jessica Lange's character had an apartment decorated in shades of blue and mauve. Remember that? Even McDonald's in the 80's were those colors.

I'm rambling. You want your money refunded, or what?




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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

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 free Sony 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 muscle in my neck simply by turning my head. My morning yoga routine takes a mere 5 minutes, so don't be too impressed at my regular exercise habits. But, if today is any indication, it does seem that those 5 minutes are all that stand between me and partial paralysis.

Are there personal trainers that specialize in keeping mommy bloggers limber enough for cruising the blogosphere? I think that's what I need. Especially if he is good-looking and does neck massages...

I'm staying up late tonight; if I go to bed, morning will come faster and then it will be time for my endodontist appointment. I wish I had a good movie to watch...

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

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 planning on turning it into a rental property) turned it into a rental property. Thanks, buddy! Anyway, his new tenants just moved in - a nice family with 2 little girls. They look a little frightened when they see me and my nice-sized brood, especially now that they've learned that we used to live in the very same house that they are occupying. I think they've decided to avoid drinking the tap water.

Anyway, things that might not be good to say to a brand-new neighbor could include:

  • We birthed 2 babies in the master bedroom!
  • Leave some mousetraps under the kitchen sink. Trust me.
  • I never could figure out what that weird smell in the washer was...
  • How do you like the toilet in the main bathroom? Did you know it can flush 8 golfballs?

I guess the look on the new mom's face when I approach can only be described as "apprehensive," at this point. And she hasn't even read my blog...

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Monday, June 02, 2008

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?"

"Yes!"

"And the merry-go-puke?"

"Right! And don't forget - the Tilt-a-Hurl!"

We just crack ourselves up.

I am happy to report, however, that everyone returned from the fair with their breakfasts intact. Larry bought them snow cones and lollipops, too. Anyone wonder why he is the favorite parent? Rachel was disappointed that she wasn't allowed on the bumper cars, but we thought it best not to let her test her driving capabilities.

Oh - and then, after that, while walking to a nearby shopping center for a lunch date, Larry and I saw an honest-to-goodness coyote. First Larry insisted it was a dog, then he suggested a fox; I think he just didn't want to admit I was right, because I yelled "Coyote!" before he did. He can be sorta competitive that way.

You know how they say to make yourself look large and threatening if you run into one of these creatures? Well, you can't do that when you are under 5 feet tall. So I cowered behind Larry and exhorted him to "Look taller!" while the creature stared at us and wouldn't move. It finally decided that Larry wasn't going to abandon his lower-on-the-food-chain wife and slunk away, in a very coyote-like fashion.

But it looked really hungry...



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Sunday, June 01, 2008

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!

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