Showing posts from November, 2008

Take Me Out To The Costco...

I spent 3 and a half hours at work yesterday evening straightening books on shelves. Yup. And then I cleaned a bathroom. After that, I waited for the cashiers to finish counting their drawers. That netted me about 30 dollars. Which almost pays for the pair of jeans I ordered from Lands End this afternoon...

I'm spending it faster than I can make it.

I made an executive decision at work: despite our company policy of asking each and every customer if we can aid them in the book selection process, I will not proffer assistance to a gentleman(?) investigating a tome titled 101 Sex Positions. I just couldn't picture myself walking up to him and saying, "May I help you with that?"

In fact, I hid in another aisle until he was gone. A whole store full of good books and that's what he picks out? Sheesh.


Uncle Matt took me and the kids to Costco today. I'd never been. We ate lots of samples and bought 2 big jars of (you guessed it) salsa…

Tweet, Tweet

Today was getting off to a slow start, so Grandpa decided to liven things up by requesting a visit to the local urgent-care facility to investigate some excruciating ear pain of his. I grabbed one of my many knitting bags and headed out the door with him, leaving Larry on his own to wrestle the kids into the proper clothes for holiday-parade attendance. Grandpa got some antibiotic ear drops, and I got over an hour of extra knitting time in. I call that a win-win, don't you?

Except for Larry - he got to sit on a cold sidewalk for an hour waiting for Santa to ride by...

And I'll admit it - I caved. I headed over to Michael's with 2 50%-off coupons in hand, looking to buy some more yarn for the scarf I'm working on. And wouldn't you know, that yarn was already discounted - I couldn't use the coupons for it. So that I wouldn't have compromised my no-shopping-on-Black-Friday principles for nothing, I used the coupons on some other yarn I wanted.

So, yes, I b…

Random Thoughts On A (Not) Snowy Morning

I'm fine. Really. Just got to get going and make breakfast for a bunch of you think they want their turkey cold, or warmed up?

(Don't worry - they're getting pie with it.)

Could someone answer a really dumb question? How the heck does one use Twitter? From what I can see, I have to go to a webpage, log on, and post. Is there a different way to do it? Because that doesn't seem spontaneous enough to me...

And how do you know when someone you "follow" Twitters? Do you have to keep checking the webpage?

I want to use Twitter because everyone else is doing it. I guess none of us ever really escape the siren call of peer pressure, do we?

Oh, and all you folks up in Canada - could you stop making me jealous with all those blog pictures of beautiful snow scenes in your backyards? Where I'm at, everything is brown. With a little tired green thrown in. It doesn't exactly shout "Christmas!" In fact, it's downright boring.

I'm …

As The Food Turns: Thanksgiving Edition

Yeah, I'm a day late. So shoot me. I had my first evening of work yesterday; I'll talk more about that tomorrow, but just let me say that if someone wants to pay me to vacuum, I'm all for it. That's what I've been practicing for all these years.

So, over there, below and to the left (the left! something different every week!) is a comely stack of past-their-prime leftovers, taking their farewell walk, as it were. From the top down:

1. homemade blackberry jam from Auntie Kate. Yum.
2. leftover oatmeal that I once again neglected to force on my hungry children.
3. egg salad. Blecch. Don't do a close-up on that one.
4. Mexican chicken and black beans. I'm surprised to see this, as I managed to serve these leftovers at 3 separate meals. Maybe I should cook in smaller quantities?
5. crockroast drippings. If I had made real gravy out of these, they wouldn't have been left over. Mea culpa.
6. cranberry sauce. Ousted from the refrigerator to make room for …

Whistle A Happy Tune...

Happiness is finding forgotten chocolate in my knitting bag. What more could a gal ask for?


I am starting to realize that if I've knitted 4 scarves since last December, I cannot possibly knit 6 more in the next two weeks. Do you think it would be a good idea to mail 5 scarves this year and then mail another 5 next year for the people who didn't get any? The problem is, these are all being packed in one big box, so people are going to know they've been left out.

That's not one of the ones I've done, by the way - I stole someone else's picture. So don't start asking me where I got the yarn, or how it feels to knit with, or whatever. I've been using Paton's merino, which is a great deal at Michael's with the 40 percent off coupon.


My teen daughter wants to see "Twilight" - the movie made from the book that you should have heard about by now if you are acquainted with any of the female species. It…

A Word To The Wise

How Not To Be An Organized Knitter

Get a tote bag.Put a work-in-progress in it.Add a tape measure and a darning needle.Put another work-in-progress in it, in case you finish the first one while you are out somewhere. Make sure there is enough loose yarn to allow both projects to become entangled. Bonus points if tape measure gets tangled also.
Repeat with several more tote bags.Buy more knitting needles because you can't remember what you have and it is too time-consuming to check all those bags.Put the spare needles in yet another bag.
Buy more tape measures while you're at it. Put them with the spare needles.Misplace bag.
Repeat steps 1-9 ad nauseam.

Never Never Land

I excitedly told my husband this evening that AlisonH instructed me (in the comments on this post) on how to prevent scarring after Susie's stitches are removed.

"AlisonH?" he asked. "Are we taking advice from imaginary peopleagain? Haven't we talked about this?"

"But she's real! She wrote a book!" I said, feeling a tad defensive.

 "She says it's her book."

"Well, she wouldn't lie - she's very nice. She even voted for Obama."

"Maybe she just said that to fool you into trusting her."

That Larry - he refuses to believe in the magic that is the Internet. I bet that when he saw Peter Pan, he refused to clap for Tinkerbell.
Everyone clap your hands if you believe in AlisonH, will you? Sheesh...

This And That, And Some Other Stuff

Larry and David are off on a biking/camping trip with the Boy Scouts this weekend. I know there is nothing I would rather do than ride a bike all day in 35-degree weather and then sleep outside all night as the mercury drops into the low 20's. I'm glad that the Girl Scouts don't do things like that. We just sell cookies. That, I can handle.


Do all bloggers entertain a secret fantasy of working in a bookstore? That's what it would seem like from my comments. I think we picture something somewhat genteel and scholarly about the job; but nowadays, I'm thinking, bookstore workers may just be corporate tools like everyone else. For example, there are quotas we need to meet in selling discount cards and magazine subscriptions (no cookie-selling, though). No one has told me what happens to an employee who doesn't meet those quotas - I'm assuming it's something awful, like having to read Thomas the Tank Engine books to the kiddies…

More Gray Hairs

That chair? The one that the kids were having so much fun on? The one that was such a great deal at a yard sale? Tonight it cost us a 50-dollar emergency room copay after Rachel swung it around too fast and Susie fell off, landing on her chin.

I didn't know chins could bleed that much.

On the bright side (because that's where I like to live), Susie's teeth weren't knocked out, the stitches at the ER only took 2 hours, and none of the other kids drank Larry's untouched glass of beer while he and I were at the hospital with our injured one.

Yeah, Larry was just settling down for a rare relaxing evening when all this happened. He should have known better, right?

While Susie was still screaming and Larry was attempting to stanch (sp?) the flow of blood, Rachel was yelling at me, "Get the band-aids! Get the Bactine!" She's a natural medic. I just hope she doesn't get any weird sewing ideas after she sees Susie's stitches.

There are 8 stitches on t…

As The Food Turns: Freezer Edition

Joss left this comment on last Saturday's fridge post: "I really enjoy your fridge clean-out posts... I was just wondering though - have you ever considered freezing leftovers and sauces/soups? We inevitably have too much and freezing helps them last longer (although it can clog up the freezer sometimes)."As a matter of fact, I have considered that. I even have in my freezer a number of foil pans containing dinner leftovers that, in theory, reheat easily. But when I do decide to have a freezer dinner, somehow they never taste very good. At least, no one seems to want to eat them.

I also attempt to save odds and ends that would be useful in future meals. In fact, there are various and sundry items I have thriftily frozen and then forgotten in our kitchen freezer, aka "the black hole." You can see some of them below, to the right. (By the way, I had just managed to snap this picture when the whole tower came tumbling down.)

Let's take it from the top, a…

Pounding The Pavement

I've seen a recent uptick in my spam box of get-rich-quick schemes. Work from home! 300 hundred dollars a day! Use your computer to make money!

Does my e-mail address scream "I'm stupid!" to scam artists, or what? I think the only way I could use my computer to make money is to sell it.

I interviewed this past weekend for a part-time job at a nearby bookstore. Apparently, I have forgotten how to talk like a normal grown-up. Totally. The manager asked me what sort of situations stress me out. She had to ask me twice, because I was too overwhelmed at first with possible scenarios to even try to be articulate.

I mean, should I have mentioned that a 4-year-old stuffing household items down the toilet almost sent me over the edge? Should I have told her about the decapitation episodes? This was all going through my mind as she patiently asked me the question again. I stammered, "I have 6 kids. Nothing can stress me out anymore." And then I added (becau…

Thank You, Car Talk!

Hey! I took a day off! Bet you didn't even notice...but you see, I had to take some time just to rest on my laurels, as it were...because apparently I've managed to do something special.

I made Click and Clack laugh.

Yup. They linked to me this week, and my blog has been teeming today with people who apparently spend a lot of time at work looking at very unproductive websites.

Are they laughing at me? With me? Who cares? Click and Clack found this post funny. I think I can die happy now.

But before I do that, I'd like to announce that Susie seems to be potty-trained. Oh, I'm sure there will still be some accidents, most likely highly embarrassing ones in very public places; but, essentially, my diapering days are over.

After 17 years, you have any idea how that feels?

My post-election high has been officially extended one more week...


After 4 tries on sock #1 and 2 tries on sock #2 (and if you think about it, I really knit 3 pairs of socks here), I finally have this (over there to the right) to show for all my efforts.

This was the first pair I have knit from Sockotta, and I am desperately trying to ignore the fact that the socks are, as I type this post, making my ankles itch. Nope, I just won't think about that at all.

I was also victorious (albeit 3 days late) in my weekly fridge cleaning. And not merely victorious, but downright creative, actually - I present to y'all Still Life With Leftovers:

Nice, isn't it? The dying flowers add a certain je ne sais quoi to the usual stack of Pyrex. Van Gogh, eat your heart out.

P.S. And for those of you who just have to know, from bottom to top it's chicken in black bean sauce, potroast (maybe), black bean soup, scrambled egg, and cooked pumpkin. I'm sure Ma Ingalls would have made some sort of a delicious stew out of all these ingredients before they …

Accident Avoidance

Larry asked me out on another lunch date this week. As is our wont, we met at a nearby supermarket (where I made sure not to cut in line) and shared a 6-dollar sub and a bag of chips. That Larry, he sure knows how to show a girl a good time, doesn't he?

After a not-so-leisurely lunch, gentleman that he is, Larry offered to walk me to my car. Now, ever since my little parking lot incident last June, I've been careful to park my car far, far away from any other cars. Seeing as how we have to send some kids to college soon, I just can't afford to take any more bumper-scraping risks. Plus, I can use the exercise.

So, we set off. We walked. And we walked. And we walked some more. In fact, we walked so far that Larry finally felt constrained to ask, "By any chance, did you park at home?"

You know, that might have been an even better idea...

Arlo's Economic Plan

Okay. Deep breath here. Trying not to get upset. Maybe I should stop reading the papers, that might help. Then I wouldn't come across gems like this one. 290 billion dollars handed out to companies who are essentially financial miscreants, and there hasn't been any oversight? Could someone explain that to me, please?

Maybe Congress and the Treasury should dispense with all pretense and just come to my door, knee me in the groin, and take my wallet. I think that would be more honest, don't you?

In honor of the latest economic news, I share with you Arlo Guthrie's recently updated version of Tom Paxton's very funny "I'm Changing My Name To Chrysler." I prefer the original version, because Mr. Paxton managed to rhyme "Iacocca" with "power broker." But the YouTuber who posted that version is looking to overthrow the capitalist system, and I wouldn't want any of you to think I was supporting a Socialist or anything.

Believe It Or Not

I slipped up yesterday: I agreed to meet with friends at Burger King, completely forgetting about my ongoing quest to eat only the food already in our house. I honored the spirit of the Iron Mom subsistence experiment, however, by ordering only from the Dollar Menu. That works, right? I'd hate to be disqualified from the competition at this point.

By the way, BK has this weird thing right now where you donate a dollar to some cause or another and they give you a booklet of 8 Value Fry coupons. So I paid a dollar and bought 8 fries. That can't be right.

Thank you all for the fun potato recipes. We dined on oven-roasted potatoes and carrots last night; and this evening I threw the leftovers in a pan and scrambled eggs with them. Also, I discovered a cache of brussels sprouts in my veggie drawer to serve as a vegetable. Oddly enough, Brian (the quintessential meat-and-potatoes kid) loved them. He kept begging for more.

First the Democrats manage to win a Presidential electi…

Why I Am Happy Today

Way back when Larry and I first got married, we (very quickly) realized there was no way we could collaborate on balancing a checkbook (or on anything else for that matter) (um, aside from the obvious). So I took over the finances and handily saw us through some very lean times. I paid all the bills, oversaw the food budget, bought the clothes...In short, I was the family CFO. But after 10 years of superb financial management, we acquired something new - dental insurance.

What can I say? That insurance company brought this financial maven to her knees. And Larry didn't have a clue until he noticed letters from that nefarious organization piling up unopened. We started having conversations like this:

What's this? he'd ask, waving a fistful of sealed envelopes.
Oh, I don't know, I'd say, vaguely.
Shouldn't you open them?
No! No, don't do that! It''s...horrible...I pay them and I pay them...
Maybe you should call someone and straighten things out.

More Scattered Than Usual

A visiting priest at Larry's church once informed the congregation (or whatever you call it at a Catholic church) that "...'killing for Christ' is not sound theology." Well, someone had better tell these monks that before someone gets hurt.

I don't know how God manages to put up with any of us, actually.


The plumber arrived at 6:30, just as I was heading out the door to Bunko. I have no idea what he did, but now he's gone and Theo just reported that the shower has spit up again. It doesn't look good, folks.


I have set up a Facebook account for Anna, which activity required hours of first setting up an account for myself to figure out how everything worked. Then I had to convince Larry that this particular social networking scene seems safe enough (if we monitor it). That took another hour. All so she can gab online...sheesh...who would want to spend time doing that?

She already has more "friends" than me -…


The leaves are falling in great numbers here, and the 4 youngest spent about 3 hours outside this afternoon, piling them up and playing in them. Need I tell you that I love autumn? Of course, Susie did have periodic hissy fits because there were leaf bits in the pockets of her dress. Or up her sleeves. Or down her neck.

Come to think of it, I probably should have just kept her inside.


We can't run the water in the kitchen at all, without risking a tsunami in our downstairs bathroom. Or maybe I mean a geyser. Or some other sort of a natural water-based phenomenon. Larry actually said to me, "It's really disgusting, don't even look." Okay, then. The only good thing is that the flood might drown any mice that find their way in there.


I'm over at MidCentury Modern Moms today, sharing my newfound wisdom on how to handle teen daughter wardrobe crises. Read all about it!

Another Title? Give Me A Break!

Theo's birthday is tomorrow. I got him a gift card to a fast food place. And some more gummy bears. I also picked up a free (retractable!) measuring tape key ring at our credit union this morning. I'm thinking the key ring would be a lot more exciting if it had a key to a new car on it, but that is most emphatically not going to happen. Now excuse me while I try to scare up some wrapping paper that is neither pink nor purple.


Larry and I double-dated with another couple tonight. That meant that Anna (as one of our designated babysitters) wasn't able to take advantage of a last-minute ice-skating invitation for this evening. And I am sure she will never let us forget it.


Shower drain update: Theo informed me last night (right after I finished my post, in fact) that the bathroom floor was covered with water that had apparently overflowed from the shower pan. Gross, disgusting water which was full of bits of ol…

Four Things To Say

This article I plan to file under the category of "No kidding! Really?!" Here's the headline:

Bullies May Get Kick Out Of Seeing Others In Pain

Imagine - bullies torment other kids because they like to do that sort of thing. Who knew?

Not the researchers, that's for sure. I can only draw one conclusion from this: we send our kids to college to get stupid. Because I'm sure there is not one kid alive in any grade K-12 who is in the dark on this matter.


A surprising number of people are, um, airing their dirty laundry in yesterday's comments. And my friend, in an attempt to salvage her housekeeping reputation, told me today that the reason her son didn't have any clean clothes yesterday was because they all had cat pee on them.

Oh. Okay, then. That explains it.


Sorry to disappoint everyone, but we currently have no mice and no vomit. No vomiting mice, either. We do, however, have a long-standing pro…

The Morning After

Barricading myself in the bathroom this afternoon in order to eat a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in peace (while my 3-year-old whined and cried outside the door) was not, I will admit, my finest mothering hour. I would have felt bad about my nurturing deficiencies, but then my friend (of the Fridge of Shame fame) admitted to me that her son couldn't come play with David today because he had no clean clothes left to wear.

I love my friend.

It's just a post-Election, post-Halloween, post-Houseguest breakdown, really. My sister-in-law left early this morning and I woke up to a house strewn with used craft items and leftover candy. I also woke up to the realization that all the fun campaign news is over. It seems that reading about Obama's transition team isn't nearly as entertaining as hearing the fun stories from the campaign trail. However, my day was a bit redeemed when I found the following news report on all those Obama volunteers:

Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supp…

As The Food Turns: Freedom Edition

Well, let's put all that election stuff behind us, shall we? Enough of politics absorbing all my time and attention, enough of blue/red distinctions dividing us. Instead, we need to focus on the common ground that is our refrigerators. We all have items begging to be released from the depths of our iceboxes, deep dark menu secrets that we try to hide not only from those who know us best, but even from ourselves. Well, this is the weekly feature where Suburban Correspondent bares all, as it were, and exposes the truth about her housekeeping habits.

We have surprisingly few eligible candidates right now. Wait! Did I say candidates? I meant, containers. We have only 4 containers to photograph this week, and....

Hey! How did that newspaper get there?! Sheesh. Let's try that again.

Okay, that's better. Where was I? Oh, yes...I don't know what is in the bottom container. They may be cooked pinto beans that I put in the freezer to use at some later point. (Stop laug…

Free The Hostages!

[Edited to add: Yay! I fixed the comments! My apologies to all of you who have tried unsuccessfully to comment since last night. Please try again.]

I am prolife.
I am a veteran.
I am a homeschooler.

And I am voting for Barack Obama.

In other words, hardly any of my friends are talking to me right now, save for last-ditch attempts to make me see reason. But I'm listening to other people right now. General Colin Powell, for instance; and The Economist. So, if you want to know why I am voting for a babykilling alleged socialist, please click on those 2 links. They say it much better than I can. (If you are too busy to click on both, read the second one.)

I am also listening to my heart, a heart sick of politicians capitalizing on the blue/red divide in this great country of ours. I'm purple, folks; solid purple. There are many others out there like me, and it is time that we make our voices heard. We want someone who, after winning a close presidential race, will not stand…

Brought To You By The Color Brown...

Sigh. It's almost Election Day, and I'm already feeling let down. What will I do for excitement once it's all over? How can I bond with my teens without funny SNL campaign skits to watch? And how will I be able to push people's buttons without being able to say something like, "I'm voting for the babykilling socialist?"

Dark days ahead, people. Dark, dark days, I tell you. Thank goodness I've got a sizeable stash of Snickers to see me through.

Auntie Kate is still here. She's having a good time, though I can tell she is thanking her lucky stars that she never had children. My having to retrieve the toilet-paper spindle from a poop-filled potty this evening certainly didn't help.

Does this sort of thing happen to anyone else?

The results from my trick-or-treat survey yesterday are inconclusive. I need more responses. What's wrong with you all, anyway? Have you no interest in the sociological implications of a decline in trick-or-trea…

Hello, November!

November's not a bad month. That is, if you don't mind cold and rain and Christmas carols playing in every single store you step into. Right?

We usually get about 65 trick-or-treaters on Halloween. Plus or minus 10, say. Last year, I think we had close to 80. This year? 27. I've talked to friends around here and they experienced the same drop in the numbers of candy-begging urchins. I'm wondering whether this phenomenon is confined to my little corner of the world, or if it is more widespread. Did the number of trick-or-treaters at your door drop considerably this year?

And do you think the drop in numbers was caused by the election? Maybe the McCain campaign, with all its talk of "spreading the wealth" being the same as socialism, discouraged people from participating in spreading the candy around. Or perhaps the Obama campaign's emphasis on change confused people and made them think that it was time to change our Halloween customs.

And for those …