Showing posts from 2009

Happy Which Year?

Stop the presses!

That makes no sense in the Internet age, does it? But stop them anyway. June over at Bye-Bye Pie has alerted me to an all-important issue. Not just an everyday issue, right, June? Nor even an everyyear issue.

What will we be saying just a little over 24 hours from now? Hmmm? Or, more to the point, what should we be saying? Think about it.

Happy Two Thousand and Ten?


Happy Two Thousand Ten?


Happy Twenty Ten?

This happens to be the biggest year-changing issue we've had since Y2K; and I, for one, am appalled that our president is lolling on a beach in Hawaii rather than winging his way back to the Oval Office when this sort of controversy is raging. Does Obama really think that his Year-Naming Czar (he has one, doesn't he?) will bother to take care of this issue on his own? I mean, everyone knows (and by everyone, I mean this armchair president here) that phoning in from Hawaii just won't do. According to her, there's "a lot less pressure wh…

A Knitter's Christmas

I know! I haven't been around much. I've been obsessed by a handwarmer pattern in Chic Knits for Young Chicks - I had to reknit them a few times (altering the pattern) to get them to suit. See? Over there to the right? I actually finished them. I rarely finish things. Now I can type on my laptop in our freezing cold Starbucks without my fingers going numb.

And my socks! I'm still working on my purple Donegal socks. And the baby hat for my friend's one-year-old....and a poncho for Rachel. Of course, I ended up spending hours on Ravelry updating my projects file and researching patterns. For you non-knitters out there? A knitter cannot think of a more fun way to spend her Christmas. Strange, but true.

At the bookstore where I worked last year, we had 2 people who always hung out there (and never bought anything) that we called Boris and Natasha. She was Ukrainian, and he looked exactly like Boris. Freaky.

Why am I sharing this? Because we gave the kids 2 R…

Comic Relief

Thanks, Vodkamom, for sharing this comedy routine with all of us today! I don't know who this woman is, but I love her.

Back tomorrow, once I get over my current knitting jag...

Food Fight

As promised earlier this week, I am here to discuss why the Brits are mad at us (again). Long-time readers of this blog know that I am somewhat of a go-to blogger on any chocolate-related matters. It all started last year, when I alerted my readership to the threat of a potential candy bar shortage. Not only did I go on to decry the dangerous trend of gentrifying our chocolates, but I was also the blogger who revealed health care reform's hidden chocolate agenda.

You're welcome.

So! I feel it is my duty to inform you that we are facing an England-US dust-up which could make the Revolutionary War look like a lovers' quarrel. Apparently, the Brits are accusing the Americans of trying to take over their chocolate. That's right - both Kraft and Hershey are interested in acquiring Cadbury, the darling of the British chocolate industry.

What's wrong with that, you say? According to the Brits, just about everything. Apparently, our former fellow-countrymen believe t…

Moral Dilemma

Larry and I finally made it to Target today, in a desperate bid to catch up on our long-forestalled Christmas shopping. We headed straight to the Nerf gun aisle, where I had seen Brian salivating over the N-Strike Maverick model with the rotating barrel. I put the coveted toy in my cart (only 10 bucks!) and then turned my attention to the display of ammunition refills.

"Hmmm, I don't know," I said to Larry. "Should we get the refill with 25 darts and the thing you sling over your shoulder to hold them?"

"The bandolier?" he said. "You can get a bandolier for Nerf darts?"

"Is that what it's called? I don't know if I like the look. Maybe I should just get the refill darts alone?"

"But those other refills don't have suction cups; it's velcro instead."

"Aaargh!" I said, staring at the packages of ammunition in my hands. "Why can't this be simpler? I don't know which to get!"


An Amazon Christmas

Some readers thought I was griping about the impending snowstorm in my last post. Nothing could be further from the truth. I love snow. We rarely get "real" snow. I was more excited than my kids were. I'm a poor writer if anyone came away with a different impression. My apologies.

The snowstorm lived up to its hype, by the way. Totally terrific. Sledding, shoveling, hot cocoa, fresh cinnamon was Norman Rockwell world around here for the past couple of days.

Well, except for that cop brandishing a loaded weapon at the snowball fight...apparently, light-hearted, child-like merriment stresses him out.

But, as some of you may recall, I had vowed to not do anything for Christmas until after the 15th of December. Having a natural knack for procrastination, this goal was not hard to achieve. And normally there would be nothing wrong with leaving all one's holiday shopping for the last weekend before Christmas, a weekend which usually does not include a f…

7 Quick Takes: Let It Snow Edition

Snow is predicted here for tomorrow. Around here, getting snow at all is an exciting event. Snow which covers the grass is stupendous. Tomorrow? One to two feet of the blessed white stuff is predicted for our area. The kids are over the moon.Snow is predicted here for tomorrow. Tomorrow just so happens to be Saturday, when everyone does their grocery shopping. Naturally, they all decided to put it off until Monday.Ha, ha, no, they didn't. This afternoon, every person living within a 5-mile radius of my local Harris Teeter showed up there at the very same time. I grabbed the last shopping cart.
The Christmas pageant was this evening. Susie sang along with all the songs even though she wasn't in it. While she sang, she played with my hair. My heart melted all over my seat.
Have I mentioned the snow?I thought so.One to two feet, people! If you're tired of hearing about wintry precipitation, you can head on over to the host of 7 Quick Takes - living in Texas as she doe…

Chappy Chanukah!

I've been so busy talking about paint colors, and Irish Christmas music, and Christmas preparations (or my lack thereof), you would think that I had forgotten my roots.

Nope. Much as Christians this time of year become embroiled in discussions of the true meaning of Christmas (when they aren't trampling each other in an attempt to get those Black Friday specials at WalMart), Jewish people spend December arguing (because that's what we do best) over the proper spelling of Chanukah/Hanukah/Hanukkah/Chanukka. It's an age-old question that has stumped the best minds of our (Chosen) People. I'm sure even Maimonides spent his Decembers scratching his head in puzzlement over the orthography of our Festival of Lights. Let's face it - you can't be called the People of the Book and not even know how to spell your own holidays.

I'm babbling here.

We're celebrating Chanukah here this Sunday. What? It ends this Saturday? Darn. It seems that 8 days was not …

Haul Out The Holly...

I have held true to my promise - not one thing have I yet done to prepare for the upcoming Yuletide festivities. Not one decoration put up, not a single gift purchased, not even a card sent out.

I won't lie to you - it's been a little difficult, watching items disappearing off Target shelves over the past week and feeling the available days before Christmas melting faster than an ice cube on a flaming stove. But I have held fast to my principle of saving Christmas for Christmas; and now here it is December 14th, my last day of freedom from the expectations of this demanding season. Tomorrow it will be time to start making lists, gathering presents, planning menus...

All of which makes me wonder whether this procrastination-on-purpose experiment was a good idea. And I'm feeling the beginnings of a sore throat coming on....wouldn't that make the next 10 days interesting?

I'll tell you the truth - at this point, I don't even know where to begin. Maybe I'll…

Wherein I Eat Copious Amounts Of Crow

Anyone remember this post, wherein I lamented Larry's poor listening and paint-choosing skills? Yeah, that one - the one where I criticized my husband's paint selection to the entire Internet? After our mandatory week-long cooling off period, Larry and I showed Anna the paint color strip and said, "Honey, which of these colors did you want for your room?" Great care was taken to shield her from any knowledge of which paint color Larry had so foolishly purchased. This experiment was undertaken at Larry's insistence, since he refused to admit that he was wrong, refused to admit that we had both selected Feathery Lilac and not Free Spirit and yet he brought home Free Spiritanyway.
So I presented the color strip to Anna, confident in my assumption that she would affirm not only our Feathery Lilac selection but also Larry's terrible wrongness in not admitting to his mistake. She's my daughter, after all; I know what she likes; and Larry, truth to tell, is a…

The Perils of Paint

I'm sitting here trying to figure out how yesterday's elegy to (for?) Liam Clancy degenerated into a discussion on kitchen cleaning in the comments. Are you people paying attention?

And a friend did a little research and informed me that that bargain bin Clancy Brothers Christmas CD of mine is worth 50 dollars online. Who knew? Larry remains unimpressed. He is a Clancy Brothers refusenik.


Inspired by our bedroom rearranging, Larry and I decided to paint Anna's new room. As anyone who remembers the striped walls of 2007 can attest, Larry and I should not be allowed to choose paint colors together. This episode was no exception. After researching different shades of lavender on the web and finally agreeing on the correct color, Larry hurried to the paint store to pick up a gallon before it closed for the weekend.

He returned triumphant, with paint and primer (tinted to the paint color) and all manner of painting paraphernalia, happy in the knowledge that…

Buala Bas and RIP Liam Clancy

As noted in my profile here, I'm a fan of the music of Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers. Upon hearing that, people are always offering/suggesting to me other great Irish music bands that they think I'll love. But I don't. I don't like any of them. I'm just a one-Irish-band sort of lass.

And now, alas, the sole surviving Clancy Brother has been called to the heavenly choir. RIP Liam Clancy - you always did have the voice of an angel (a carousing sort of angel, but an angel nonetheless). I think I may have to insist on having your Christmas CD playing for an extra month this year, as a sort of tribute to the passing of greatness. Sorry, Larry...

But let me explain...

15 years ago (long before YouTube and ITunes gave us easy access to the music we love), I happened across The Clancy BrothersChristmas CD in a bargain bin at Caldor's. It has become one of my favorite CD's of all time. Unfortunately, I have married someone who does not share my love of a…

Dial M...

When I'm not threatening to kill people in public places, I'm at home plotting the demise of household appliances. Currently, I am in the process of murdering my 26-year-old stove. I have no choice, really, but to put it out of it's misery, because the darn thing refuses to die. Instead, it limps along with 4 ridiculously fussy burners - one of which will only heat up if I turn it to high first. Then it stays on high come hell or high water. No matter that I've dialed it down to medium, or low, or even warm - whatever is cooking there bubbles madly away as though possessed.

Naturally, many delectable stews and soups inadvertently boil over on this burner and, quite frankly, I'm tired of cleaning it up. So I don't. Which explains why it is now prone to catch fire and I don't care.

Case in point: I turned on the burner to heat up some chicken soup yesterday. Then I left the kitchen. Larry was in there and I heard him yell, "Whoa! Fire!" I i…

Different Jokes For Different Folks

We knitters have a joke. Sometimes you'll see it on a T-shirt:

I knit so I don't kill someone.

If you're animpatient type of person, you'll understand that joke. When I'm in a doctor's waiting room, or waiting for a dental cleaning, or even sitting in the pharmacy for a few minutes, knitting is what keeps me from pacing around the room like a caged tiger.

Actually, sometimes I knit and pace. I'm tightly wound like that.

So I was knitting on a scarf while waiting in line yesterday at the post office, whereto I had blithely journeyed, completely forgetting that it is DECEMBER - the month when everyone on earth goes to my local post office to mail packages in preparation for the yuletide festivities. There were 20 people ahead of me in line.

I knit. I stayed calm. I didn't think about the 4 young ones I had left to fend for themselves at home, I didn't think about the dinner I was not starting to cook, I didn't think about anything except knit 2, …

Role Reversal

Sometimes life is fair. Rarely does this occur, true - but it happens.

I was settling in at Starbucks this evening, plugging in my computer, ordering my hot chocolate. Aaaah! My cellphone rang. It was Larry, calling to tell me that I should pick up some ginger ale while I'm out.

Ginger ale. That can't be good.

"We have some in the pantry," I told him. "Did someone throw up?"

"Yeah, Brian did," he said. "So, uh, I guess I'll just, uh, start cleaning up here..."

At this point, I confess, I almost offered to come home. Someone was sick! There was vomit to clean up! And then I remembered - I'm working. Wasn't the deal that whoever was out earning money was not required to come home and clean up the vomit? Wasn't that the arrangement I had abided by during the 17-year-long pukefest that has been our life with kids (at least up until July of 2008)? Heck, yeah.

"Well, have fun with that," I said. "See ya l…

Family Values

I guess I should have seen it coming. I mean, considering the gambling habits I foist on my children (on Thanksgiving, no less), I should have at least been on my guard. But no - I tend to forget that our family has gradually morphed into the weird variety, a far cry from the perfection I aspired to when I had but 2 wee ones to look after.

There I was at a girl scout meeting this afternoon, surrounded by wholesome homeschooled girls and their zealously nurturing mothers. I had to leave early with Susie, you see, as a dental appointment beckoned (I know! The excitement! How can y'all stand it?).

"C'mon, Susie," I coaxed. "Time to go home - David will play a game with you while I'm at the dentist."

"Game?" said Susie.

"Yes, a game! What do you want to play? Uno?"

I think I need to mention here that 4-year-old Susie has the lung capacity of an opera singer and the sort of volume that renders amplifying aids such as megaphones complet…

Mistakes Not To Make

Well, one would think I would have learned from the trauma last year, would have known not to switch the kids' bedrooms around ever again.  But no!  The little girls requested that I take down their bunkbeds; and I was only too happy to agree, seeing as how I am too old and fat make up the top bunk properly and Rachel is too young to do it herself.

But that, you see, meant that the girls had to be moved to the bigger room.  They would have to switch rooms with Anna...Simple?  I think not.

Our upstairs right now looks as though the closets vomited all over the place.  Vomited shoes, clothes, forgotten art projects, shoes, school papers, tiny decorative boxes, hangers....have I mentioned shoes?  Half the stuff is in the right rooms.  Half isn't.  It is too late to go back and too daunting to move forward.  We are stuck.  Tell me, how many bobby pins does a teen girl need, anyway?  For that matter, how many hoodies?  And does a little girl really need a doll she never plays with? …

Kenny Rogers Would Understand

Have I mentioned that, when it comes to games, I'm a tad competitive? I've made Rachel cry at UNO; Larry's pathetic lack of interest in things like cards and backgammon and Yahtzee is a source of conflict in our marriage; and I've got an ineradicable need to win at Monopoly, due to my brother's never, ever losing a game to me while growing up. Given my proclivity for this sort of thing, it's no surprise that our family's peaceful Thanksgiving Day was made more complete (in my opinion) with a game of Texas Hold 'Em for me and the children. Because what's a holiday without a little gambling?

Brian, unfortunately, drove us all crazy by betting randomly, refusing to absorb any of the strategy of the game. He would put in 20 dollars, we'd all fold, and he'd win with literally nothing in his hand. I would call him a good bluffer, but he doesn't know enough about the game to do that. At the close of betting, he puts his hand down and asks…

Turkey Day

I'm sorry, folks, but the activities of cooking and eating and making small children cry seem to have taken up all my waking hours the last few days.  Tomorrow, I promise, I'll be back to explain how I traumatized my 4-year-old so that she'll never play Texas Hold 'Em again.  In the meanwhile, enjoy:

I know we've all seen this already, but - for me - it never gets old.


Who's slacking? Could it be me? I'd like to say I didn't post this weekend because I was too busy cleaning the house; but, looking around me here, I'd have to say that couldn't be true. The past 2 days went by so fast, I don't even know what happened to them.

I know I didn't spend them buying a phone battery at Target, because our house phone is still running out of charge after each 4.8 seconds of use. If you call me, talk fast. And if you called and left a message? Forget it.

And wouldn't you know, it's Thanksgiving on Thursday! Maybe I should find a turkey somewhere. Although, really, the kids should be perfectly happy with just corn, right? Corn and pie. Harris Teeter has pies on sale.

There! That's taken care of. I'm nothing if not efficient.

Efficient and unrealistic...I decided our family needed to do something different today, something fun that would provide our children with fond memories of parents who were willing to …

7 Quick Takes: Better Late Than Never

35 minutes more, and Friday's over - I have to do this fast, because I don't know how to change that sign up there to 7 Quick Takes Saturday.

Mrs. G has a post up at the Women's Colony in which she reminisces fondly about 8th-grade roller-skating nights.  I, too, remember going to the roller rink in 8th grade.  I managed to fall on my butt so hard that I must have bruised my tailbone.  All I know is that I could hardly walk and my mother had to write a note to get me excused from gym that Monday.  Whatever she wrote made the gym teacher laugh at me.  Thanks, Mom!I pulled out all the stops for dinner on Thursday:  I roasted 2 chickens, meticulously carved them up, made gravy from the drippings, and mashed my own potatoes.  At the last minute, I realized I had forgotten a vegetable and threw some frozen corn into the microwave.  Guess which item the children raved about?  That'll teach me to make an effort, won't it?
Larry thought the above incident was very funny.  …

A Grand Experiment

For the past decade I've tried subscribing to the "get everything done in November so you can relax and enjoy the holidays" school of thought. You know - address Christmas cards, buy and wrap the presents, plan menus, bake cookies, etc. And you know what? It never worked out that way. Instead, it felt as though Christmas lasted 2 full months. The season of Noel and Ho, Ho, Ho became an albatross around my neck. By the time 25 December rolls around, I'm sick of the whole thing and can out-humbug the most Scrooge-ish Ebenezer.

So I'm being a maverick this year, folks - going rogue, as it were. I'm not doing anything for Christmas until December 15th. Yup. Nothing. My favorite Christmases were the ones I had in college, when my friends and I might wander out to find a tree when finals were at last over and done with, and then we would hitch a ride to the mall and walk around and buy goofy presents. Afterward we'd all go to someone's apartment a…

Book Review (Sort Of)

I know it's hard to believe, but I'm not in the mood to post. Life is just smacking me around a bit too much the past couple of days...

Plus, I've been spending my spare time reading an actual book. If you haven't read The Glass Castle yet, check it out. The description sounds depressing, but it's not. I mean, it should be; but for some reason it isn't. The author is definitely not a whiner. Unlike, say, yours truly...

I'm thinking of doing a giveaway once I'm done with it, but I guess I'll have to buy it first. Right now it's still over at Barnes and Noble where I've been sneaking peeks at it rather than doing my editing work. I'm just proud of myself for reading something that has paragraphs that are longer than 2 or 3 sentences each. I think my brain's been shrinking.

Oh, and things got so bad in the refrigerator that Larry cleaned it out while I was gone on Saturday. I think it was the liquefied tomatoes in the bottom of t…

Let's Play Santa

I thought I would take a break from meaningless drivel that does the world not one whit of good and inform y'all of a coat drive that Sue is running for refugees in Salt Lake City.

I know! I had no idea there were any refugees in SLC, myself. But Sue says there are. They come from war-torn areas of Africa and Asia.

(You wouldn't lie, would you, Sue?)

Now, Sue and I go back a long way (I mean, in blogging years); and, although we may have had our disagreements now and then, say, like when I had to defend her mother's honor against Sue's slanderous post about her childhood eating habits, I remain convinced that Sue has a heart of gold and deserves our support in rounding up 100 winter coats for refugee children.

(Hmmm....that still sounds fishy....maybe they're just for Sue and her family? We all know how many kids those Mormons have running around.)

(More than 6)

(6 is normal, dammit)

Where was I? Oh! Oh, yes - coats. Sue came up with the idea of asking people…

Glass Houses

As previously reported, we traveled more than 3 hours with the kids on Monday to take advantage of the free admission to a living history museum. While there, we received a frantic phone call from Anna - she was locked out of the house and she had a horrible headache. We told her that the headache medicine was in the kitchen, suggested a neighbor's house to check for an extra key, and reminded her that we were too far away to come home and rescue her. She sounded upset with that.

After hanging up, I was mentally rehearsing my already well-polished "See? This is why it's important to remember your key LIKE WE TOLD YOU" discourse and thinking of following it up with a supplementary "You're old enough to keep track of important things like keys, you know" speech - when I noticed Larry staring at my shoulder. My, uh, empty shoulder....

"Where's your purse?" he asked.

"Purse? Where is my purse? Did I have it when we left the car?"


Veteran's Day

There's a lot of talk on a day like today about how selfless military people are.  People left and right in the blogosphere are thanking veterans like me for our service.  So I just want to set one thing straight.

I joined the Navy because I needed a job.  I had student loans to pay; I was ashamed of not being on my own (unlike many "kids" in their 20's nowadays); and no one wanted to pay a fresh-faced History major anything close to a living wage.

In other words, I joined the military for totally selfish reasons, as do many in the armed forces.  I joined for money, I joined to gain my independence, I joined in the hope I would get a chance to travel.

What I got was a lot more.  For the first time in my life, I worked and lived alongside people of another skin color.  For the first time in my life, I saw African Americans in positions of power.  And I came into close contact with those heretofore exotic people known as "Southerners" and "Texans." …

When Technology Goes Rogue

Last night we came home from our road trip (more on that tomorrow) to find a friend's email informing us that our computer - apparently feeling angry and betrayed by my absence all day - was sending out spam messages to everyone in my address book. Larry spent the next 3 hours (and let me tell you, after driving over 7 hours in one day, this was not what he had in mind for his evening activities) doing whatever magically tech-y things he does to erase viruses and build firewalls and generally batten down the hatches on both our computers.

[Ladies! If your husbands are ever similarly engaged, let me advise you - it is not the best time to helpfully mention that the clothes dryer is drying too slowly and maybe it's time to clean out the dryer vent pipe again. His response, as I can sadly attest, will not be a positive one.]

This morning I sat down to send an email to all my contacts explaining that actually, no, I was not trying to introduce them to an "international trade…

Only The Strong Survive

I know there are families who like nothing better than to pile everyone in the car and go off on a road trip for a day or two. I mean, I've read about this strange phenomenon. And we do have friends who managed to cross the entire country with 4 kids (ages 2 - 8) in a station wagon in a mere - are you ready? - 4 days. (No DVD players involved - they hadn't been invented yet.)

Our family, sadly, is not of that ilk. The kids' bickering during a 90-minute road trip last July almost put me in the loony bin. I've blocked out how we made it to our vacation spot 12 hours away last August without abandoning someone en route. And the logistics of preparing for a family car trip are enough to make me cry.

Which makes it all the more puzzling why I brought to Larry's attention the "Free Admissions For Veterans" week at a living history museum we've been too cheap to visit all these years. Why don't we just pop down there for the day? I asked brightly.

7 Quick Takes: Warm and Dry

Larry went camping with David's Civil Air Patrol this weekend, in sub-freezing temperatures. Meanwhile, I'm home eating the rest of the Halloween candy. Sometimes Dads do get the short end of the stick.Yes, it is surprising there is any candy left to eat. Don't rush me. These Twizzlers are chewy, you know.Hot Tamales, too - yum!Readers of this blog possess an impressive amount of scientific knowledge, if one can judge from their explanations yesterday of why the moon sometimes looks orange. I feel smarter just from reading all of their comments. And I like the way "Harry" (whoever he is) managed to combine a science lesson on the wavelengths of light with a little bit of child-rearing advice.
Gah, 3 more? This calls for candy. Smarties, anyone? We have a surplus.Theo's 18th birthday is coming up. I should write a heartfelt letter to him on this momentous occasion, expressing my love for him and my pride in his growing up to be an independent young man…


Too tired to write tonight - no jokes, not even a good link. The 3 fun-sized Snickers I consumed this evening may have something to do with my current malaise. I'm going to bed (before midnight!). But if someone could explain to me why lately the moon looks orange while it's rising but not orange when it is way up in the sky, I sure would appreciate it.

Exercise - Who Needs It? Not Barbie...

Every once in a while, scientific research comes along which reaffirms my faith in the ultimate justice of our universe.  This article, for instance, talks about a study which found that exercise does nothelp people lose weight.  Take that, all you self-satisfied early-morning joggers...

[Please note that I was way out in front on this important issue, as shown by this post from 2005, wherein I asserted that exercise can actually make one fat.]


David spent today teaching Susie how to joust with the craft-stick-and-duct-tape swords that he created.  I must say, Susie is a very giggly jouster, even when (especially when) theoretically cleaving her unfortunate opponent in two.

Whatever happened to playing with dolls, anyway?  Do little girls do that anymore?  My best friend and I used to spend hours playing with our Barbies.  At my house, my Barbies led a cloistered existence, focused on fashion and undisturbed by any love interests or significant others…

Prose And Poetry - A Twofer!

Larry took my giganto bag of candy away today, forcing me to break into my secret stash. Be prepared is my motto; he's done this to me before.

This year I tried to be one of those people who save the pumpkin scoopings and pick out all the seeds and roast them. I managed to do the "save the pumpkin scoopings" part all right. But there wasn't room in my refrigerator for them (not surprising). And then I forgot about them all day Sunday, even though they were sitting in a huge bowl on my counter.

Monday morning? Wow. You know, I had no idea that vegetable matter could smell like dead fish. Learn something new every day, eh?

And where's that NatureMill electric composter when I need it?

I leave you with a bit of doggerel (apologies to Joyce Kilmer):

I think that I shall never see
A day lovely as Halloween.

A Snickers bar with peanuts packed,
Fills up my mouth and gives good snack;

A Reese's cup with peanut butter,
Why, yes, I think I'll have another;

What's this…

Sexy Prairie Women Love Reese's

For the second year in a row, we saw a slide in our trick-or-treaters index - a mere 18 cute costumed children showed up at our door last night. That's down from the more than 70 we had come by 2 years ago. It's even less than last year's all time low of 27.

I don't know about you, but I find these numbers disturbing. And when I find something disturbing, I blame the Obama administration. You know, you get those government nannies interfering in your life, regulating your chocolate consumption and banning flammable flashlights from China; and all the fun is drained out of the holiday. What we have now is a population too demoralized to even think about trick-or-treating. They're all huddled at home, hoarding their Reese's peanut butter cups and hiding from the vaccination police.

Or else, it was the steady rain that deterred them. That's a distinct possibility.

Speaking of Reese's peanut butter cups, there seems to have been a bumper crop this year.…

Neither Rain Nor Snow Nor Dark Of Night...

Halloween on Saturday should be easy. You have all day to get ready, right? So why did Larry and I find ourselves with 4 yet-to-be-carved pumpkins at 2:30 this afternoon? And why was I visiting the grocery store at 3:00 on a Saturday to buy a new battery-operated pumpkin carver? Can anyone tell me?

Believe want scary? Try fighting the crowds at your local Harris Teeter on Halloween. It was a harrowing situation which caused even yours truly - Miss Can't-We-All-Get-Along - to contemplate shoving a certain woman's shopping cart into the checkout-line candy display. Hello? It's a single line for the self-checkouts. Don't give me that crap that there's a line for the right and a line for the left. There is one line, and I am at the head of it. Me, the person armed with a battery-operated pumpkin carver...

The rain began this evening at precisely 6:30 PM, the official trick-or-treat start time... In a perfect world, it would be possible to say to the k…

7 Quick Takes: Night Of The Snack-Size Twizzlers

I had a post ready which lamented the condition of my overstuffed mess of a refrigerator; but then I read this article in The New Yorker this morning about North Koreans and how their lack of food caused them to eat corn husks, tree bark, and other delicacies (that is, the North Koreans who didn't just starve to death). Somehow, my fridge post doesn't seem all that funny now. Yes, I do sometimes read something besides blogs.
My new-found social awareness, however, is not stopping me from preparing for Halloween, that most gourmand-ish of all holidays to be celebrated here in the US tomorrow. Nor is it keeping me from exulting over the annual appearance of snack-size Twizzlers. Their chewy goodness, a far-cry from the stiff dryness of their year-round brethren, has knocked me completely off the diet wagon for now. I may climb back on sometime after New Year's. Or maybe not."Exulting" doesn't begin to describe my behavior, actually. I've already eaten…

Name This Post (Cause I Can't)

Apparently, the H1N1 pandemic is providing fertile ground for conspiracy theorists. I watched a YouTube video (why? I don't know) in which a woman propounds her theory that the (secretly deadly) swine flu vaccinations are part of a sinister gov't population-control plan. Why else, she asks, would pregnant women and young children be first?

Apparently, she has never seen Titanic.


Fortunately, there were less frightening videos being passed around this week also. This was the family favorite:

Of course, we don't have cable. So anything will amuse us.


Finally, I'm sure the Supreme Court will be relieved to know that, collectively, we've remembered all their names. Turns out that it was Souter who retired (Sotomayor took his place), Stevens is still there, and Kennedy was the one that none of my friends and I remembered. Jeopardy, here we come!

Not many people wanted to tackle the Cabinet questions though. Shelley was brave enough to…

A Quiz

Why, hello there! Larry had the nerve to leave me for a couple of days and somehow he took my blogging mojo with him. Also, I've had to do all the work around here. What's up with that?

Today, at our weekly Burger King date (yes, it's a glamorous life I'm leading), 2 other homeschooling mothers and I could not come up with the names of all 9 Supreme Court Justices. We got 8 of them: Souter, Alito, Roberts, Sotomayor, the other lady, Breyer, Scalia, Thomas. So, who's the ninth? Help us out here, or our kids will grow up stupid.

I know I could just look it up, but it's more fun this way. No cheating now!

Also? Among the 3 of us, we could only come up with the names of 3 members of the Obama Cabinet: Clinton, Gates, and Sibelius. Then we argued over whether Obama's Chief of Staff (Emanuel) was a member of the Cabinet or not. And how many Cabinet members are there, anyway? And is "Emanuel" spelled wrong?

These are the sort of things homeschooli…

Conundrum, Solved

Larry, recounting to me some episodes from the Boy Scout death march he took David on last weekend, said, "What was really scary was when the huge tree fell down..."

"Wait," I said. "You were hiking in the forest and a tree fell?"

"Yes," he said. "And the noise it made..."

"Whoa!" I said. "You were hiking in a forest and a tree fell and it made a sound?"

"Yes!" he said, catching on. "It did! So I suppose that proves that even on that trip, far away from civilization and all its womenfolk..."

" were still wrong!"

Poor guys - they just can't catch a break...

(You really have to click on that last link to understand the joke...)

Like A Raisin In The Sun

Theo was diagnosed with a severe dairy allergy when he was 10 months old; and ever since then we've been an essentially dairy-free family. Which isn't really a bad thing, right? It's hard for anyone to become obese when they can't have ice cream, cheese, and pizza. No overweight kids here! So I'm not complaining.

But all those years, through the subsequent births of 5 more children, I knew I was missing out on an experience as germane to motherhood as giving birth - that of feeding macaroni and cheese to a horde of grateful children. I pictured the little ones clambering to the table, forks in hand, their dinnertime cries of complaint silenced (for once) by the prospect of a meal that no one could hate. On cold winter days, I fantasized about the stomach-filling, cheesy goodness of this most quintessential of comfort foods. I wept over the fact that my children would not have this particular childhood memory to look back on.

Forbidden fruit does have that e…

Safety Tips! Health Advice! All Free!

The way I feel about this particular piece of news is this: anyone dumb enough to put a bear on ice skates deserves what happens to him. The article states that it is not clear what caused the bear to attack the manager during rehearsal. Not clear? Really? Are bears natural ice-skating enthusiasts? I think not.

All of which leads us to our important safety tip for the day: don't piss off a bear.


And then there is this finding:

Deadly brain abscesses should be added to the list of risks of having a tongue piercing, say doctors. Piercing can more commonly lead to chipped teeth and oral infections, and sometimes heart problems, say experts.

Not to mention totally grossing people out...I mean, what is up with that, anyway? Still, the article goes on to tell us that

Despite the risks, tongue piercings remain popular.
Which makes me think that those brain abscesses were actually a pre-existing condition...


And, finally, an important reminder from last f…