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Showing posts from October, 2009

Neither Rain Nor Snow Nor Dark Of Night...

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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 me...you 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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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..."

"...you 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.

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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...

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And, finally, an important reminder from last f…

Whine and KitKats

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Way fewer visitors today - must be that not everyone is as enamored with an indoor electric compost maker as I am. Who woulda thunk it?

Oh, well, I still want one. At cost. Are you listening, NatureMill? Don't you want to prove AlisonH wrong? She's saying that there is no way your patented charcoal filter renders the compost operation odor-free. And she's threatening to send me her colostomy bag (with filter) to prove it.

I must say, that was the strangest comment I have ever received on this blog. Much as I appreciate AlisonH's generosity, I am not taking her up on her offer.

Nothing new to talk about today, I'm afraid - I've got David quarantined in the guest bedroom until the flu incubation period is over; Anna is currently suffering from virus #372 this season and demanding relief (while refusing all offers of VapoRub, cough drops, Sudafed, and hot tea); I'm rather under-the-weather myself; and Larry and I haven't had more than 2 minutes worth…

Love And Compost

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Look at this beauty! I've been haunting the NatureMill website and ogling it for an hour. 50 cents a month to operate! Designer colors! Earth-friendly!

What do you mean, what is it? It's what every woman secretly desires (well, every woman with a fridge filled with rotting produce, anyway) - an electric composter that fits in her kitchen! Combine this brilliant invention with my fridge cleanout posts, and my humble spot on the Internet might become the blogging equivalent of a Prius - earth-friendly, avant-garde, and annoyingly pretentious. I can see it now - "Even with 6 kids, our family produces less landfill waste than the most righteous ZPG'er!"



Check out the website and take particular note of the top left of the homepage - it boasts a picture of a chic-looking couple gazing adoringly at one another whilst the guy scrapes his dinner plate into the composter.
That would be me and Larry if we happened
to own this fine appliance...


Well, if we happened t…

Not The Best Idea

So! As anticipated, I enjoyed a pleasantly toasty weekend indoors while Larry and David trudged around with a bunch of Boy Scouts in the rain (and snow!). But gloating that this particular camping trip would not affect me adversely? Not a good idea. As I remembered when I checked my voicemail this evening, the Fates do not like to be taunted in that manner:

"Hi! This is Sam's dad - since David shared a tent with Sam last night, we thought you should know..."

(Maybe I should hang up? If I don't hear it, it won't be happening, right?)


"...that Sam appears to have the flu."

(Darn! I knew it! Oh, well, those are the breaks...)

"It's probably H1N1, as the rest of our family had it last week."

(Okay, now I'm pissed off.)

Hardship Duty

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It's raining.

It's cold.

And Larry and David are off backpacking in the woods with the Boy Scouts. Have I mentioned that I'm glad I'm a girl?

I'll just hang out here with the little ones and keep the home fires burning. Maybe we'll make some hot cocoa, to ward off the chill. Parcheesi, anyone?

It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it...

7 Quick Takes (And Some Discussion Questions)

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Here it is again, brought to you by Jen at ConversionDiary - the Blogger equivalent of Scoobie Snacks to brighten/illuminate/otherwise enhance your Friday!

Whew - I don't know if I can live up to that build-up...Larry forgot to turn on the dining room light before he left this morning (it's dark and cloudy out), and I might have people coming over today. It's embarrassing having to explain to them why I need them to unscrew the globe and twist the light bulbs.Although it wasn't embarrassing to explain that to more than 200 people yesterday...hmmm....You haven't seen a fridge post lately because the mess in there has gotten so overwhelming that I am ignoring it. I think it is the rotting farmers' market tomatoes in the bottom left-hand drawer that have pushed me into denial.
Let's face it, I am never getting a new dishwasher. I'll get that refrigerator you see to the right instead. It should fit into the dishwasher spot perfectly. Do you think that wou…

And Then There Was(n't) Light

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Larry would like all you fanatic DIY-ers to know that this week he both unclogged the tub and replaced the shower head. Back off! he says. I can fix stuff when I want to.

So we won't talk about the dining room light, okay? I mean, everyone has to remove the globe and then screw/unscrew the light bulbs to turn their overhead fixtures on and off, right? A few months ago, I had Theo "turning off" the light for me in this manner; as he procured a set of hot mitts from the kitchen so he could handle the (very warm) incandescent bulbs, he couldn't help asking, "Don't you think you guys should call an electrician?"

Ya think?

Larry blames this unfortunate situation on me, by the way. The light is attached to a ceiling fan (and we know all about these ceiling fans, don't we?) which mysteriously stopped working while Larry was away last summer. Summer, as in very hot. So I begged a neighbor (a DIY-er who can't resist a challenge) to see if there were s…

A Hearty Welcome

This is so embarrassing - people are dropping by from The Women's Colony, and I haven't even cleaned up. There are plenty of Larry stories tucked here and there around this blog, if you want to know more about the mad toothpaste squeezer. Or if you'd rather reminisce about what it's like with small children underfoot, vomiting at the least provocation, there's plenty of that around here also. Or maybe you have a predilection for rodents and other household pests? You've come to the right place.

If any of you want a snack, feel free to take a peek in the refrigerator (but don't say I didn't warn you).

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Fresh blog post tomorrow, for all you faithful followers of this humble blog - no one's been fed yet, and the children seem to think I'm the one who should do something about it. What's up with that?

There Is No Unifying Theme Here

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Today? Excited by the rapid progress I was making on my first-ever toe-up sock (I know, I know, your lives are boring by comparison - try to bear it), I decided to try on my handiwork in order to see how much more of the leg I needed to knit. So I slid the still-on-the-needles sock smoothly onto my foot and up my calf, smugly admiring the well-fitted heel and toe as I did so.

Alas! Pride goeth before a fall. As I tugged my handiwork up my leg, I managed to snap one Harmony Wood Double-Pointed size zero needle clean in half. I felt like a murderer.

Knitpicks, in their infinite wisdom, includes 6 DPN's (that's Double Pointed Needles, for you non-knitters out there) in each set, which is apparently considered to be ample needle insurance for any normal knitter. But I've already managed to lose one of the set of 6, and now I've broken another one. In other words, I've run out of spares and am knitting without a net, as it were. I'm wondering if Knitpicks woul…

No Time For A Title - Starbucks Is Kicking Me Out

For those of you tired of having to hop all over the place for your news, piecing together viewpoints from the right, left, and center, I've discovered this little gem of a site. It's called The Moderate Voice, and it appears to be a place where people with differing viewpoints seem to have agreed to carry on a civil discussion of the important issues of the day without assuming that anyone who disagrees with them is a socialist/fascist/agent of Satan/enemy of progress (pick one).

Quite frankly, I had forgotten that that was even possible.

Today I decided that if Theo weren't coming home for fall break, we would just have to go visit him. That'll teach him to go to a school less than 2 hours from home, won't it? So we all piled in the car (sans Anna, who for some reason felt that she had better things to do than spend 4 hours of her Sunday in close contact with her younger siblings) and headed out to see if Theo still looked the same (he doesn't - he's tal…

Make Cakes, Not Faucets

Mummy McTavish sent me a picture of a homemade faucet from "There, I Fixed It" - a blog that is frequented by dyed-in-the-wool DIY'ers (judging from the comments). She claims that this contraption could have fixed all my plumbing problems quite cheaply. I mean, if Depression-era farmhouse decor were my thing...

Larry found the photograph intriguing, but not intriguing enough to rid him of his plumbing-induced PTSD.

Now I need to go bake his cake. Every year we make him a cranberry-upside-down cake for his birthday. We found the recipe years ago in a book called Cranberry Valentine, and the rest is history. I have no idea whether Larry actually likes the cake or whether he is simply loath to buck tradition. I'm just glad to be making a cake that requires neither creativity nor frosting.

There Are No Nobels For Plumbing

Reading the comments on my blog from the last couple of days has led me to this conclusion: There are 2 types of people in this world - those who wouldn't dream of paying a stranger to fix something in their houses, and those who have been so traumatized by previous DIY attempts that they will pay anyone any amount of money to not relive those moments of pain and humiliation.

Larry, apparently, falls into the second category.

What's more, both types feel very strongly about their respective positions.

Whew! Let's move on to something less controversial...say, Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize...

Well, maybe not.

At least now Larry knows there are people in this world more infatuated with the current President of the United States than I am. My feeling is that the committee just jinxed the poor guy. Now he won't get anything accomplished during his years in office. Oh, well, he'll always have Oslo...

Here's a decent middle-of-the-road post on the topic from the…

DIY - Not

Who knew that the readers of this blog are, to a man, an army of rabid do-it-yourselfers who would never pay a plumber anything close to 700 dollars for the installation of a new faucet?

I told Larry what y'all told me yesterday:

Honey, everyone says that we should install the faucet ourselves.

(Silence)

They say it's easy.

Who? Who says it's easy?

You know, the commenters on my blog...

You're listening to imaginary voices again? Since when do they offer plumbing help?

Someone I know in real life says so, too. She says her husband always installs his own faucets.

Good for him!

They're making me feel extravagant.

That's because you weren't blogging in 1997.

1997?

You know, when we bought our first house? The fixer-upper?

No. We didn't even have Internet then. We were broke.

Yes. And I said, "Don't worry, honey. We can tear out all the fixtures in the bathrooms and put in new ones ourselves the month before we move in. It's easy. And way cheaper…

Everything But The Kitchen Sink

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Today our kitchen sink faucet broke. Or, rather, it worked too well and wouldn't stop running; so I turned off the water valves and called the plumber. When he stopped by (within an hour!), we discussed the ins and outs of repairing the faucet v getting a new one. "Tell you what," he said. "When I get back to the office, I'll look up a few models and see what I should recommend and how much they cost."

Trying not to sound pathetic but needing to communicate to him that this was an urgent situation, I said (faux cheerfully), "I guess I'll just hang out here with no kitchen sink and no dishwasher while you do that."

"Oh, no, the dishwasher should still be working, ma'am," he reassured me.

Yes, it should, shouldn't it? After all these months?

Another plumber called me later and said, "Brian was telling me about your problem; and he and John and I have been discussing which sink faucet would be best."

(I told you years ag…

Sick Much?

I called the doctor yesterday to request a blood test for Anna. "I think she has mono," I told him. "Her best friend has it, her neck glands are swollen, and she says she's tired." "Is she sleeping an abnormal amount?" he asked.

Ah, that's a stumper! What is an abnormal amount of sleep for a teen, anyway?

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Okay, here's my favorite blog post today - Viv has 6 kids, one probably has the flu, and the doctor suggested "isolating" her. This man was apparently not raised in a human family. When Viv laughed (maniacally, she says), he advised her to send the other kids off to her mother's.

Hmmm, let's see...."Hey, Mom, I know you're elderly and all and the flu could kill you; but could you take these small children who might be incubating the virus off my hands for a week?"

Reminds me of the time I had bronchitis the week before Christmas and a doctor advised me to "get some rest." Are all medi…

Really?!?

Okay - this is one reality show I am not going to watch.  After enduring 6 pregnancies (with all the requisite morning sickness, varicose veins, crabbiness, and inability to breathe throughout the 3rd trimester that are trademarks of my gestations), I'm not interested in finding out how some women do not realize they are carrying a baby until it is time to deliver said creature.  Get this - one of the women goes to the ER with what she thinks is appendicitis; and the ER doctor discovers a baby which is crowning

You know, I never mixed up that crowning sensation with appendicitis pains.  That would be akin to mistaking an unanaesthetized limb amputation for a toothache.

(Come to think of it, why was the ER doctor looking between her legs if she were screaming about appendicitis, anyway?  That's sort of weird, right there.)

Where was I?  Oh, yes - every time I am 9 months pregnant, there are stories in the local paper about a pregnant woman who thinks she needs to poop and en…

Miscellaneous Meanderings Of A Fevered Mind

Sick today - I've been felled by yet another mysterious illness. Larry outdid himself in the Supportive Spouse category by taking the kids out for 4 solid hours today while I slept. He managed to serve them pizza and popcorn and soda (cheaper than water, he frugally insisted) and ice cream during that time period. No wonder everyone likes Daddy best...

Now it's time for another nap. My IKEA trip was planned for tomorrow; come hell or high water (or deadly plague-like illness), I'm going.

Oh, and that Michael Graves's dish drainer pictured in the above link? It makes my heart sing every time I use it. It fits all the dishes, efficiently air-dries them if I haven't managed to dragoon my young ones into towel-drying, and graces my counter with an air of lovely efficiency. I am, in short, infatuated with this lovely kitchen tool that sits, oh so fetchingly, by my sink.

So! My love affair with the dish drainer has gotten me thinking that maybe I don't need a new…

7 Quick Takes (Plus 2)

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No one comments, no one calls.....what's up with you people?I'm glad I'm not Larry today - he has to go to the dentist.Then again, Larry doesn't have to amuse a 4-year-old all day. Maybe he is the lucky one.
This may be my shortest blog post ever.Do you realize I've blogged about toothpaste, floor sweepers, laundry detergent, toasters, and dish-drying racks this week? Domesticity unleashed! I didn't even realize I had a theme.Halloween's coming. At what point can I reasonably buy a huge bag of candy under the pretense of saving it for the 31st? I hear some Hot Tamales calling my name.Darn! I hit the enter button by mistake, and now I am being haunted by the superfluous "8" once more.
Click on that Halloween link in #6 so you don't make the mistake of taking your innocent young children to Michael's this month. Forewarned is forearmed.
Conversion Diary has more 7 Quick Takes - she's good with computers, so she never suffers from a s…

Sweets For The Sweet?

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This article from the BBC Health Wire is disturbing, if only because I bribe my kids with sweets almost every day. I thought that was what sweets are for. If someone out there knows a better way to get the little rug rats to do their math pages, I sure would like to hear it. It disturbs me to think I'm raising a bunch of psychotically-aggressive future adults (psychotically-aggressive future adults who know their arithmetic, though - there's some value in that, right?).

Is "rug rats" one word or two?

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I need to pay attention to the children (and give them some candy); but first we need to close out some business here. Most commenters believed that the spout on the detergent bottle from hell would be on the right. I keep making the same mistake. I can't help thinking that the ALL manufacturers have committed some grievous design error to confuse that many people. And I think they should pay me money for figuring that out.

Perhaps I kept pic…