Showing posts from August, 2008

If Only Money Grew On Trees...

Yesterday, I started to tell Larry I was going to spend half an hour neatening our bedroom and ironing (in other words, keep the kids away!), but I only managed to get out the words, "I'd like to spend..." when he interrupted with a beleaguered "Money?"

Gee, financially stressed much, or what?

So I made it worse by going to IKEA today with a friend. Nothing like piling on, right? I snapped up a Tullsta armchair (without the slipcover) in the "as is" section for half price. It was meant for Anna's room; but as she's not in my good graces right now, I put it in my room instead. Will my love affair for the affordable Ektorp line never cease?

Hello, IKEA? Are you listening? Toss me some freebies, will ya? Thanks.

I recently instructed Theo to do schoolwork on the computer as much as possible whenever Larry is home, in an effort to make him aware of our need for another computer. Apparently my evil machinations worked. Larry spent all day yesterd…

Old As The Hills

I had the kids watch Obama's acceptance speech last night (I do love how Michelle dresses, don't you?) and afterwards Theo was asking me some questions about the election. After I had explained some of Obama's positions on the issues and why people wanted to vote for him, Theo asked, "Well, why do people want to vote for McCain, then?"

Being an even-minded (read, undecided) voter, I listed some of McCain's strong points, ending with "He's an older man, which makes a lot of people feel that his judgment on important issues can be trusted."

"Yeah," said Theo, "but Obama's really old, too - he's in his 40's already!"

At which point I ended the discussion and dragged my ancient self up to bed.

[I have a post up at MidCenturyModernMoms, explaining why "Back To School" may not be greeted with much enthusiasm by my teen daughter and giving an important link to a new Nebraska law that seems to understand how we pa…

Knit Me A River

Wow! I should have quizzes more often. I got almost as many comments about the mummified bananas as I had on the bra post. (There's a joke in there somewhere, but I'm not going to go for it.)

Yes, the unidentified object was (were?) 2 bananas, looking as though they had been bought sometime in the Pleistocene Era. I can't understand how they reached the petrified stage they were in without their oozing all over my counter first. Usually, it's the oozing that tips me off.

So, thanks to everyone who played! And a special thanks to "A," the first commenter, whose comment made me go over to YouTube looking for a rendition of "Yes, We Have No Bananas." I knew the song existed, but I had never heard it until today. And now I can't get that darn tune out of my head.

As I said, thanks. Thanks a lot.

I managed to attend Knit Night last night; essentially, I walked out the door as Larry walked in from his 3-day management retreat, saying, "Retrea…

As The Food Turns

Can you believe it? Look at this picture - I found only three items worthy of immediate disposal in my refrigerator this morning. Three! Can it be that this weekly exercise in public humiliation is finally bearing fruit? Or could it be that when we got back from vacation on Sunday, I was so aghast at the state of my refrigerator (when compared to the pristine condition of the one at our vacation cottage) that I had to dump things right then and scrub out the bottom shelf and the vegetable bins?

The second scenario, of course, would be the correct one. I should have taken a picture on Sunday, but Larry was there and I felt silly. Still, in order to make up for the fact that I have only 2 bottles of yucky salsa (but, of course) that no one will eat and half a dried-up red onion to share with all of you, I added to the picture a very special something that I found yesterday in a basket on my counter, trapped beneath 2 spaghetti squash that I've been meaning to cook for several mon…

Save Our Sweets

[Don't you German au pairs have anything better to do than look in my fridge? I believe the post you may be looking for is here. Plus, there have been regular refrigerator updates almost every Wednesday.]

Well, I'm sitting here tonight waiting for Hillary to address the DNC; I'm hoping she raises the all-important chocolate issue. I can't believe how many speeches I've listened to already this evening; the waves of bombast are starting to seep into my brain...

And in the meantime, Mom On The Verge has alerted me to yet another alarming confectionery trend - the gentrifying of traditional chocolate favorites. Picture it, folks - no more candy shell on your M&M's? A "...marbleized, almost metallic-looking finish in bright colors" instead? And at a much higher price? Is that where we want our country to go, chocolate-wise?

According to the article, Mars "hopes to attract a young, fashion-conscious consumer to the product..." Now, what is …

Maybe It Should Have Been Hillary...

In general I have pooh-poohed any dire assessments about America's current economic situation. After all, rising gas prices have been forcing Americans to make environmentally-friendly choices such as driving less and using more fuel-efficient cars; higher food costs are making us be more careful to get our nutritional bang for our buck; and the home-mortgage market implosion is forcing us to take a long, hard look at how we regulate that particular industry.

Well, maybe not so much of a long hard look as a politically expedient bailout....

But still, if you look closely enough, there has been a silver lining to the financial clouds which have been raining bad news down on the head of the average consumer for the past few months.

Until there is this piece of news. The sort of news that can make even a Pollyanna such as myself wonder, "Are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness viable options in a world where chocolate prices may go skyrocketing out of control?&qu…

A Pox On Bamboo Needles...

Thoughts On Vacation

When a friend local to the area you're visiting warns you about the traffic, you might want to consider that she just may know what she is talking about.My kids behave better when I pay attention to them before breakfast. In other words, my early-morning blogging habit has got to go.Novelty is indeed the spice of life. When we reached our vacation cottage, the kids were extremely excited to discover that there were bunkbeds! Even though we have bunkbeds at home! "Can we put the sheets on them?" they begged. What's up with that?
One bathroom is not quite enough for seven people.Vacation has a strange effect on the space-time continuum, as evidenced by the fact that I had to do laundry less than 48 hours after we arrived at our destination, despite having packed 3 days worth of clothes for everyone.One can survive without the Internet, but it feels really weird.On a related note, world events can occur without my paying attention to them. Who kne…


Okay! All ready! Food cooked, clothes packed (um, except mine), toys packed (except mine)....actually, we're not ready. But, in honor of our going on a family vacation where Larry and I are sure to grab every opportunity to drag our children to historical or otherwise educational sites, I'd like to reminisce about the summer of 2003.

In July of 2003, we moved (temporarily) to Newport, RI. We were determined to make the most of our year in New England by visiting every museum, restored farming village, seaport, etc., that we could. We did ourselves proud, I'll tell you. We made at least 3 pilgrimages to the Mayflower and Plymouth Plantation alone. Twice we visited Sturbridge Village; I lost track of how often we graced Mystic Seaport with our presence. And once, that memorable summer, we drove to Boston to walk the Freedom Trail and to visit the USS Constitution. Here it is, in my words (but 5 years younger):

Today we ventured out to Boston with the 5 kids, Larry driv…

Vacation Preparation

[Any of you who have wandered over here from The Well-Trained Mind forum: just type "fridge" into the search bar at the top left and you will find what you are looking for.]

After nagging my husband into joining us at the pool this afternoon, I began feeling seriously unwell. So, I left him there. (Good thing we came in 2 vans). I'm sure Larry thinks I lured him to the pool with the intention of leaving him alone with the 4 youngest while I went home and took a nap.

It was a great (3-hour) nap, though. I don't know what hit me. Maybe an entire summer's worth of sunscreen and swim towels and Italian ices, all at once. And I just had to lie down.

We are leaving on Monday for a whole week, which means I need to spend all day tomorrow cooking and freezing dinners, doing laundry, and planning which knitting I need to bring. This last is a very involved process that necessitates itemizing all the yarn I own, perusing all my available patterns (including free ones o…

All Over The Place

I walked into the den today just in time to behold Brian about to wallop Rachel over the head with a bolster. Good mother that I am, I yelled: "Watch out for that lamp!"

Just another sign that I may be a little jaded on this parenthood thing...

Remember, to enter in the Bloggy Book Club Giveaway this week (Tender Mercies by Anne Lamott), go to Monday's post and leave a comment telling me you are interested. Also, the Rebecca who won the Giveaway from 2 weeks prior needs to contact me! Go check Monday's post and see if it is you. Thanks. Otherwise, I need to hold another drawing; and Lord knows how long that will take me.

This news is blowing my mind. Let me see, we banned lead paint in housing almost 30 years ago; but we just got around to banning it in toys? I can't be reading this right. Someone explain it to me, will ya? Thanks.

Extra Rinse, Please - And Hold The Bleach

Today? I did laundry.

Nothing new about that, I do laundry every day. 3 loads a day, as a matter of fact. It's a hobby of mine. But laundry is on my mind today, because Jill over at Thou Shalt Not Whine was getting all defensive about not separating the kids' clothes into darks and lights before she washed them.

Huh? We're supposed to do that? Really?

Listen - my kids throw their clothes into their hampers (they each have their own, although the little girls share one); twice a week the older 4 haul their hampers downstairs, put their clothes in the washer, move them into the dryer (after I remind them), take them out of the dryer (after I remind them), lug them upstairs to their rooms (after...well, you get the picture), and leave them on the floor until I see the mess and yell at them to put it away, those are clean clothes, goldarnit, why are they on the floor?

That reminding thing? You want to raise your blood pressure 20 points with little to no effort? Try this …

As The Food Turns...

It's Wednesday, which means it's time to ask: What is moldering in Suburban Correspondent's fridge?

In front, in the foil, we have our sacrificial egg sandwich of the week. As you may recall, we also had a sacrificial egg sandwich in previous weeks. You know how Jewish families leave a glass of wine for Elijah on the seder table at Passover? (Well, you do now.) Apparently, we leave Elijah an egg sandwich in our refrigerator; but he never eats it. Maybe he's not hungry. Or he's too soused on all that wine.

Next to the sandwich, in the blue saran wrap, is a leftover chunk of Rachel's birthday cake, lovingly decorated by Anna. As I have no desire to see my 6 children argue over and then methodically divvy up this one piece into 6 exactly even portions, strewing chocolate crumbs everywhere in the process, I am dumping it tonight. My sanity is worth the food wastage.

And what have we here, next to the cake? Is it...can it be...why, yes, it is 2 jars of salsa.

Name That Post ('Cause I Can't)

Today Rachel turned 6 and, to celebrate, she had her first real birthday party. A real party, meaning people other than family were invited. I ran around the house all morning, cleaning up and ordering the kids to do the same. My bedroom looks like a storage closet because I grabbed all the clutter on the main floor and shoved it up there before the festivities commenced.

It ain't pretty, but it works. Heloise, I'm not.

While Rachel was opening her presents, I commented to my neighbor that it was such a funny coincidence that everyone gave Rachel Hello Kitty stuff and here we had Hello Kitty napkins, plates, etc., for the party. Whereupon my neighbor pointed out that the Hello Kitty invitations that we sent out last week may have just possibly tipped everyone off.

Oh, yeah...I forgot about that.

Anna decorated the cake (and I am so very grateful) and helped Rachel stuff the loot bags. She also hid the loot bags for for the treasure hunt. And she painted Rachel's nails wi…

Bloggy Book Club Winner! Finally!

I lay around half of today with some undefined illness. I thought it was a cold, but then my skin started hurting. So then I decided I was dying. Maybe it's because I don't drink coffee. According to this article on coffee consumption, I no longer need to worry about my husband's several-cups-a-day coffee habit. Apparently, coffee is so beneficial, those of us who don't indulge should probably pay higher medical and life insurance rates. So now I have to worry about the fact that I cannot stand the stuff and am therefore more likely to suffer from heart disease and Parkinsons than is Larry. Somehow, that doesn't seem fair, as I am not the one with an addiction.

And this article is suggesting that we switch to a kangaroo-meat burger. The scientist pushing for the idea stops just short of saying that kangaroo tastes like chicken (but I'll bet he is thinking it). Unfortunately, the article features a picture of a mommy kangaroo with a joey in her pouch; so…

Teenager Management

It's been a little quiet on the mouse front around here, hasn't it? That's because mice don't make a lot of noise when they are silently decomposing in the cabinet under one's kitchen sink. And, considering my housekeeping habits, does it come as a surprise that it took a while for the smell to tip me off? I thought the foul odor was coming from some rotting potatoes under the sink, actually. Of course Mickey made sure not to pass on before taking a dump in my silverware drawer, just like his predecessors.

I hope none of you try to eat while you're blogging. Or if you do, rinse your silverware first, all right?

For those of you interested in the progress of the felting project, let's just say that I learned last night the importance of keeping the ball bands (you know, the things which list the fiber content of the yarn) with your skeins. That way you don't waste an hour or so knitting up a project to be felted, only to discover that half of it fel…

Knitting, Knitting, And More Knitting

It's all about knitting today (for those of you who missed the title); so now is a good time to exit if you are one of those benighted folks who just don't get it.

A neighbor of mine who was just put on (first) pregnancy bed rest for an indefinite period of time said to me over the phone yesterday, "Maybe I'll learn to knit." And then we moved on to other topics.

Ha, ha, of course not. I immediately offered to bring over my stash and my needle collection and a few books to help her out. It turned out that her husband (and I know you will find this hard to believe) had already gone to Michael's (do I hear a collective gasp out there?) and picked up 2 Learn-To-Knit type books for her. What a brave man! (He did, however, quail at the sight of the yarn selection and came home empty-handed in that department.) Is it an LDS thing, maybe? Do they raise their males differently than the non-Mormon population does? Because I am really impressed.

Still, I had to ass…

Miscellaneous Doesn't Even Begin To Describe It

I am so proud. This post of mine is number 3 on the page when someone Googles "self scan line idiots." Thank you, thank you very much.

And this news item wins my "Too Gross To Finish Reading" prize of the day. I had to read the first paragraph or two, because I just didn't believe the headline meant what I thought it meant. But now I just don't want to know any more.

An anonymous commenter yesterday sent me this link to an article in a Kansas newspaper about what is inside people's fridges. (I think I've tapped into some sort of cultural zeitgeist here.) Most of the women interviewed seemed to have fridges like mine. But there was one overachiever who is so proud of how her refrigerator looks on the inside that she bought a model with a transparent door, just to show it off.

What can I say? There walk among us some who are not human.

[Excuse me while I go look up "zeitgeist." Hmmm.....yes, I think that was the right word; but using cu…

Tales From The Fridge

Well, here we are, with a brand-new episode of Tales From The Fridge (I'm still tinkering with titles, can you tell?). Let's see, where's that picture? Ah, there it is, to the right. Not a bad week, actually. In the back row there you can see an almost empty container of cream cheese, atop which sits half an egg sandwich, never eaten. [What can I say but I told you so?]

Next to the sandwich is an empty jar of salsa (which leaves only 3 jars of salsa left in the refrigerator, I just don't know how we will manage) and 2 Gladware containers - the top one contains a(n) UFO (unidentified food object) that fell out of my freezer today and hit me on the head; the one underneath has the remnants of yet morehomemade salsa (can't someone stop us?) in it. Out they go!

To the right of the Gladware is an almost empty jar of cashew butter, with the dried-up nutbutter still on the bottom. It has been sitting in my refrigerator for over a month because its disposal presents me…


Let me just say, I fully sympathize with these parents. Not only have I left 3-year-olds in bakeries and in elevators; but I also remember a particularly unfortunate incident from a number of years ago. I had taken the children to the neighborhood pool and, as a treat, Larry showed up an hour later and joined us. A lovely time was had by all. Then we headed home, in 2 vans. I got home first and was changing out of my wet swimsuit as Larry walked in with the kids. The phone rang. I picked it up.

"Mommy?" said a voice into my ear.

"Excuse me, who's calling please?" I asked, confused because I knew that anyone who should be calling me Mommy had just come through our front door with my husband.

"Mommy! It's Anna!"

Refusing to accept the obvious, I yelled downstairs to Larry, "Larry! Where's Anna?"

Said Larry, "I thought you had her!"

It's a good thing we can't afford plane travel...

Eating Crow - Yum!

[Bloggy Book Club will appear tomorrow...or maybe the day after that...I'm just not in the mood]

One of those days, folks....I don't even want to talk about it. But whoever stole my pleasant eldest daughter 2 years ago on her 13th birthday? I'd like her back now, please. The look of bored alienation that seems to be permanently affixed to her face is getting to be more than I can take.

Due to our realization that our budget for the year has been blown to heck (a root canal and dental crown, 2 pairs of eyeglasses, bad driving, morebad driving, and community college tuition will do that to you)(not to mention a wife who refuses to camp), Larry and I are trying to reassess our already rather frugal spending habits. This exercise in belt-tightening is not recommended for weak marriages. Divorces are expensive, too, you know.

Truth to tell, I don't know how willing I am to cut back. It has already been documented in these pages(?) that we are cheap with our kids (those ni…

Think Up Your Own Damn Title

This was supposed to be Saturday's post, but Larry hogged the computer all day yesterday trying to straighten out our finances. You see, I threw a teeny-tiny hissy fit in the morning and told him I wanted to leave town for more than 3 days and that I wasn't going to spend a week in a tent. And I didn't care if I already spent our vacation money on someone else's bumper, I need to escape in August just like everyone else does around here, dammit.

So, he picked up on my subtle intimations of discontent (probably at the point when I threatened to dissolve the kids' college funds) and spent the day combing through our finances looking for some "extra" money. While he was at it, he attempted to deal with the confusion of our main credit card being farmed out to some new company that we didn't want; but that involved switching all our automatic payments over to a different credit card, and that meant trying to remember approximately 16 gazillion different…

We're Still Here

Hey, guys - this post is a woman thing. You wouldn't understand.

It's a wasteland out there for those of us approaching "a certain age." Remember all those fun books that used to greet us girls with every life change? The "you're becoming a woman" books (complete with diagrams - ewwww!), the "how to make your husband do what you want" books, the "how to take care of your babies" books...I could go on and on. No matter what stage of life we were entering, we could rest assured there would be (too much) information on how to navigate it. Everything we did was examined and talked to death: the baby-bearing, the child-raising, the juggling of career and family, the how-to-have-it-all dilemma of the modern woman.

Well, there ain't no books anymore. It's as if, once a woman is in her mid-forties and her kids are starting to leave the nest, she ceases to exist. Oh, yes, there is the occasional tome detailing all the wonderful th…