Showing posts from 2013

Stop. Just...Stop.

I know - I've gone missing.  Not sure anyone's even noticed, actually.  But I'm just popping in to say that I should be back at some point.  In the meantime, if I see one more blog post about making homemade marshmallows, I refuse to be responsible for my actions.  PEOPLE - marshmallows are available in your local grocery store for less than 2 dollars a bag.  They are not meant to be gourmet cuisine.  STOP RAISING THE BAR. 

Sheesh, it's only 2 days until Christmas - you'd think folks would have something better to do than get all pretentious about their junk food, wouldn't you?

That Goose Is Getting Fat

Remember this discovery of mine?  Well, I'm still enjoying Songza (and now so is Jennifer Jo over at Mama's Minutiae); but I'm guessing that Larry rues the day I discovered the "Singin' in the Shower: 80's Edition" playlist there.

Seriously, people, how could someone NOT like Huey Lewis and the News?

It's raining ice right now.  ICE.  We lucked out earlier this week and experienced a snowfall that ALMOST covered all the grass; so my poor winter-fun-deprived children made the most of it, with sleds and shovels and hot cocoa.  Now we have got a muddy mess and frozen stuff falling out of the sky.  I guess that is as close as we are ever going to get to a winter wonderland around here, so I'll take it.

Christmas knitting?  Don't ask.  I'm at the facing-reality stage of that process right now.  You know, the stage when you decide that, really, not all of your relatives deserve handknits?  Where you ruthlessly slash the recipient list to meet th…


Today Rachel handed flyers out around the neighborhood, offering to bake cranberry bread/muffins for a reasonable price.  "Leave your holiday baking to me!" the flyer exhorts her hapless victims. 

"What if too many people order?" asked Larry, with some concern, after she left.

"Oh, no, that won't happen," I said.  "We did this last year - a few people ordered a few loaves and a couple of dozen muffins, and it was spread out over a 2-week period.  She made some money for Christmas, and everyone was happy."  And then I went blithely on with my day, secure in the knowledge that most people aren't interested in ordering homemade baked goods from an 11-year-old.

We all know how this ends, right?

Rachel went to sleep with dollar signs in her eyes tonight, leaving me to sit up and marvel at how easily my plans for the week had been torpedoed.  Because tomorrow I need to help Rachel churn out the equivalent of 14 loaves of cranberry bread for o…

Maturity Bites

Susie is singing "Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!" over and over and OVER again.  Loudly.  Tell me - where's the Geneva Convention when I need it?

My nice relaxed Saturday suddenly became over-scheduled and impossible to manage, and there is not much I can do about it. Have I mentioned I have been anointed the president of our local homeowners' association?  It's a tiny one, luckily - just our immediate neighborhood of 47 homes.  But, because of this august position, I'm meeting with a landscape consultant this morning.  And with the snowplow guy this afternoon, to sign a contract.  If we have the surprise winter storm of the century around here tomorrow, it will be because I didn't get that contract signed.

Seems like people are suddenly expecting me to do all sorts of grown-up things. When did I turn into an adult, anyway?

Anyone Seen Me?

Hey, I have something to ask all you normal people out there - you know, those of you who actually have cable TV and watch the nightly news?  A friend of mine just emailed me saying that, while she was watching the news on ABC, she saw a Samsung Galaxy commercial wherein the woman using the phone was pulling up my blog to her screen.  MY BLOG.  Has anyone else spotted this?  Can anyone find a link to this ad?

Just trying to enjoy my 15 seconds of fame, is all...

Do-Nothing Day

Don't begrudge me, people - I've earned this.  We ran 3 full dishwasher loads yesterday.  Oy.

If any of you have not yet discovered Songza, this is the perfect day for it.  It's like Pandora, only way more awesome.  It's chock full of curated playlists, designed for every mood and musical sensibility.  Currently, I'm listening to the "Walking on Sunshine" playlist, designed for an upbeat morning mood.  But don't worry, there are lists for those of you who are not so disgustingly cheerful in the morning, too.  And you don't have to keep refreshing the page to keep the music playing.

And?  It's free.  What more could you want?

Back to the Christmas knitting - it feels like a sweat shop around here...

Happy Thanks-a-Latke!

Enough of this Thanksgivukkah crap - it's Thanks-a-Latke we're celebrating today.  Just remember that the next time it rolls around.  In 70,000 years or so....

Take a moment and watch - it's worth it, even if you've seen it before.

Right Turn

I waited 24 hours, and then I looked.  3 lefts and one right.  I'm not thrilled, but I'll live.  I ripped one of the lefts all the way back to the ribbing and am now well on my way to MAYBE having 3 full pairs of fingerless mitts completed.

Minus the thumbs.  I'm telling myself I can maintain my momentum better if I save all the thumbs for last.  I have a feeling that the mid-December me is going to hate the pre-Thanksgiving me for making that decision.  Right now, however, it feels good.  Because I hate knitting thumbs.

Head In The Strand

Okay, so a couple of weeks ago, I knitted two fingerless mitts.  Susie, of all people, pointed out to me that, instead of a pair, I had knitted 2 left hands.  Gah.  So I knitted up 2 more, irritated the entire time because I had planned to improve on the pattern for the second pair.  And tonight, as I was working on the right hand of a third pair (which is turning out just as I like it, thank you), I noticed that there were none of my marks on that particular pattern.  You know, no tally marks keeping track of the rows in the various repeats...

At which point the horrifying thought occurred to me that I may have blithely knitted 4 left-handed mitts.  Meaning, my Christmas gift-giving plans will have been shot to heck, because - while I may have time to knit 4 more pairs of handwarmers and 3 more scarves - an extra pair of handwarmers will push me right past any possibility of finishing in time.  And the stupidest part of this whole story is that I am scared to look.  Obviously, I nee…

Gone Knittin'

It's that time of year, folks - the time when my fantasies of a hand-knitted Christmas run full tilt into the brick wall of reality.  I've been knitting and roaming the Internets buying yarn and generally ignoring my family and my blog and...well...everything.  I'm at the point where I am vaguely aware that, if I were to add up the time it actually takes me to knit a pair of hand warmers or a lovely waffleweave scarf, I would discover there are NOT ENOUGH HOURS left to complete my gift list.  So, naturally, I choose not to add it up.  Knitting with my eyes wide shut, as it were...

So much yarn, so little time, people - so little time.

Dancing Fools

For the second time this year, Larry and I braved public humiliation to attend a local contra dancing session.  Surprisingly, it went okay.  I smiled manically, as previously directed, which helped to make up for the fact that Larry spent the greater part of the evening looking confused.  We're a good team like that.

Like last time, we made it to the halfway point of the evening without collapsing; and, as we were trying to sneak our exhausted selves out of the building, one gentleman asked if I wanted to waltz.  You see, these crazy people waltz around the room during their break instead of sprawling in chairs and trying to catch their breaths.

Fact: Dancers are in very good shape. 

Fact: We aren't dancers.  We just fake it.

[Dancers image: freeclipartstore]

All The Apple-Shaped Ladies

JAG jeans?  Yes.  Yes.  And again, yes.

All you apple-shaped middle-aged women like myself, get thee to Zappo's.  If you are between sizes (again, like moi), size down.  You will note that these jeans are actually pull-ons - there is a soft band of (barely) stretchy fabric just above where the waistband should be.  It may look weird in the picture, but it is not at all noticeable - once you throw on a sweater or a blouse or even a T-shirt, the jeans look exactly like all the low-to-mid-rise styles that are popular with our daughters. And you won't have that darn metal snap or button digging into your menopausally endowed stomach, as it does with normal jeans. Or is that just me?

Now, I KNOW I am sounding shallow and self-centered lately, going on and on about my jeans and my waist size as I am wont to do; but people, ill-fitting jeans are as demoralizing as a bad hair day - if I don't have jeans that make me feel like a million bucks (or, at least, $54.99), my whole day fe…

The Latest From The Lollipop Guild

I've been to 3 yarn shops in the past 2 days.  Oh, and Michael's yesterday evening.  I guess maybe it's a good thing that Auntie Kate is leaving tomorrow morning - things have gotten a bit out of hand around here.

On the plus side, I've knit two sets of fingerless mitts for Christmas presents.  Of course, that accomplishment only makes me feel as though I've earned some more yarn.

I typed "yearn" up there at first.  I yearn for yarn.

I also spent time today shortening my jeans so that I don't lose the nice jean hem.  Can anyone explain to me why petite jeans come with 29-inch inseams?  I wear 2-inch-high clogs, and I still have to cuff up my pants.

Anywhoo, I saw this neat hemming method on Pinterest and decided to try it.  It works!  Sort of.  I mean , the idea works, but I had to fiddle with the details.  I tried it out on my old jeans with the holes in them, and really, it looks fantastic.  If you aren't short, you cannot appreciate the luxury…

Halloween Something Something

Can't think of a good post title - can you tell?

A good Halloween was had by all, despite the intermittent (and UNPREDICTED) rain showers that occurred here. (As one local said, if only everyone had dressed as Mary Poppins, they all would have been prepared.)  This was the first year that Brian (costumed as a Lego piece, which he made all by himself, thank goodness, and the materials cost me only 10 bucks) was allowed to trick or treat without an adult - his 13-year-old self was thrilled to leave his younger sisters with his dad and go to as many houses as he liked with his 2 buddies (a ninja and a banana) instead.  That left Larry with only a bag of jelly beans and a princess to take around the townhouse developments, which felt a little strange, but he managed.

The jelly bean costume came out great - many thanks to small town me, who suggested using water balloons (of which we had 2 or 3 bags in the house, I know not why).  They worked perfectly and everyone was happy.  It was r…

Decisions, Decisions

We're not as far along as we should be in the Halloween costume creation department.  I've pretty much made the executive decision that Susie has to be a princess (because we have the dress - why else?); but Rachel fell in love with this costume that I saw on Pinterest.  It should be really easy to make, but the devil - as always - is in the details.  Tell me, what shape balloons do I need to buy so that, when half-blown-up, they will resemble jelly beans?  Round?  Long?  Does it matter?  Because, really, I haven't the foggiest idea.  I know I should just buy both and the heck with it - it will still be the cheapest costume ever.  But, somehow, I've looked at balloons several times at Target and Michaels and still come home empty-handed.

Just tell me what to do, will you?  I am being plagued by indecision here.

[Costume image: Don't Waste The Crumbs]

Unprecedented Restraint

I'd like you to know that Auntie Kate has been here for over 24 hours and we have not yet been to Joanne's.  Nor has Larry had any excuse to practice his mad staple-gun skills.

We may even be able to delay that trip to the fabric store one more day, as a well-meaning neighbor sent me this email this evening: 

I have that bag of material that I mentioned at Bunko. It's mostly velvet and Thai silk. There's also some yarn and embroidery thread. You're welcome to it, if you think you can use it.
If you think you can use it?  Is the Pope Catholic?  Is the sky blue?  Is Congress most definitely not earning its keep?

I wonder how early we can go fetch that bag.  7 AM?  No?  How about 7:15?  We could get a little crafting in before church, you know.  Just to take the edge off, as it were...

Holidays? What Holidays?

Still here - Auntie Kate visit impending, so not only do I have to clean up this house so she cannot see the squalor in which we ordinarily dwell, but I also have to sort out my sewing drawer, fabric stash, yarn stash, etc., in preparation for our annual crafting binge

Oh, yes, and plan some sort of food - that would be helpful.

So, yeah, busy.  I just want to reassure you folks, as the holidays approach, that this should be a Christmas-prep-free zone until at least the 15th of December.  So, if you are already becoming overwhelmed by seeing blog post titles such as "Starting My Christmas Shopping!" or (worse) "Finished My Christmas Shopping!" or "Complete Menus for the 12 Days of Christmas," rest assured you can come here and not risk suffering the panic attacks that normally accompany such frighteningly festive screeds.

Crazy to leave it all until the last minute?  Stressful?  Actually, no.  I've run this experiment since 2009, and it has been a r…

How To Have Grateful Children

I've disappeared for a bit again in order to go back to my dad's house and continue cleaning out an accounting office where essentially nothing was thrown away for, oh, 35 years.  NOTHING.

Paper clip, anyone?  We seem to have plenty.

I couldn't face the discomfort of sleeping on the couch again (not after all those hours in the car), so I screwed up enough nerve to sleep in the only available bed, which happened to be in my dad's bedroom.  You know, the room in which he passed away a mere month ago?  You would be correct in assuming that I kept the light on.

I suffered no hauntings, however, and arose refreshed to face the veritable mountain of paper and office supplies which awaited me. We filled up the garage yet again with boxes of stuff to be recycled or given away or thrown out.  I managed to get rid of 2 huge old office desks and a bookcase (thank you, Craigslist!); and I spent more time gathering photos that I will bring home and beg David to scan into the compu…

Science 1, Marital Discord 0

Vindication, people, that's what this study concerning rats and Oreo cookies is - vindication for every time Larry has asked me, "But WHY can't you eat just 2 Oreos and leave the rest of the package alone?"

“Our research supports the theory that high-fat/ high-sugar foods stimulate the brain in the same way that drugs do,” neuroscience assistant professor Joseph Schroeder says. “That may be one reason people have trouble staying away from them and it may be contributing to the obesity epidemic.”
See, Larry?  I'm addicted.  It has nothing to do with willpower or discipline - it's brain chemistry.

But, wait!  Larry wants you to know that that is not the whole story.  You see, in the early years of our marriage, my younger, more optimistic, believing-in-feeding-kids-healthy self often served rice cakes and peanut butter for lunch and insisted that it was tasty.  Delicious, even!  Larry refused to drink that particular nutritional KoolAid, as it were; and n…

Star Struck

Okay, your comments on my last post made me realize that I was focusing too much on finding a really neat THING to give Larry for his birthday, rather than just doing something fun.  So I bought him a movie gift card (I know, it's been done here before), and he was perfectly happy.  Because he really doesn't need any more THINGS...

Theo came to visit us this weekend, and we took advantage of having 2 resident babysitters in the house by going to see Captain Phillips.  People, I've never been a big Tom Hanks fan (although I do think that, if you take any movie Steve Martin has been in and replaced him with Tom Hanks, the movie would have been WAY better), but he was EXCELLENT in this film.  Just WOW.  And, to make my day even better, there was a preview for another movie (coming in December) that will star George Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman, and Bill Murray.  "What's it about? " asked Larry, who missed the preview because he was getting our popcorn. 


A Cry For Help

Seems like just yesterday that I wrote this post about baking my husband's birthday cake...and it seems like just the day before yesterday that I wrote the instructions for that same cake here.  I swear, my life is on fast forward and it is time once again to indulge in that annual extravaganza known in these parts as baking the cake that I am not even sure my husband likes.

But I still don't have a present for him.  Last year we bought him an IPod Touch with my BlogHer earnings, and it is sort of a tough act to follow (unlike the spiffy 4.1-gallon paper shredder we had bought him the previous year).  I am plumb out of ideas, folks.  Reasonably priced suggestions, anyone?

[Cranberry cake image: My Recipes]

Relax! Be Happy! Or Else!

Oh, faithful readers (or at least my middle-aged compatriots amongst you) - there is no hope for us. Or, as the sub-headline of the Washington Post article put it:

Another reason to stress: Stress itself may lead to dementia
The study followed 800 women for 38 years and found that those who reported being stressed during middle age (i.e., the NORMAL people) were 21% more likely to develop Alzheimers as they got older.

Listen, folks, stress is synonymous with middle age.  Think about it: teenagers, wrinkles, menopause...the list goes on.  And now I'm being told that it's all an express ticket to the Alzheimer's rodeo?  Gee, I can hardly wait. 

I am trying hard not to dwell on the budget impasse/Obamacare/debt ceiling imbroglio, but please - if you happen to be a Congressperson who believes that the threat of a government shutdown is a legitimate budget negotiating tactic, then don't suddenly be shocked - SHOCKED - when certain gov't services are not being provided d…

Humor, 80's Style

Now that we've watched all of the episodes of I Love Lucy twice over, it's been pretty difficult to find good TV shows that are both family-friendly and watchable without wincing. I mean, think about it - no obvious sexual content, no disgustingly sarcastic children, no disgustingly sweet children either. 

Also?  Funny.  They have to be funny. 

So, in an unaccustomed burst of brilliance, I decided to try out ALF.  I remembered it vaguely from the late 1980's, when a neighbor of my parents (and their generational cohort) would watch it religiously and laugh himself silly; but I was in my 20's then and felt a little too cool for it.

I gathered David (16) and Brian (13) in the TV room for a screening last night.  Oh, people, ALF was funny, all right.  Brian enjoyed it outright, and I caught David laughing also.  We watched the first 3 episodes and no one objected.  Alf is the extra-terrestrial version of a Borscht Belt comedian.  His timing is impeccable.  The youngest ki…

I'm A Believer

Today?  Is a day of triumph.  A day of rejoicing.  A day, even, of reveling in that all-too-rare feeling of having at least a modicum of control over my own life.

As detailed here before, I am the official tub-drain declogger in this family.  With my mad Rosie the Riveter handywoman skills and my cute pink tool kit, I have figured out how to remove that little cover from the drain hole and pull out the disgusting matted sodden mess of hair and soap bits that is preventing the water from exiting the tub in a timely and graceful manner.  I know!  You envy me.

And, yet, recently, my efforts have not been enough.  Apparently, there are knots of hair somewhere farther down in that pipe that my fingers can't reach.  The upshot being, we've all been showering with our ankles in a couple of inches of water for the past month or so, while my frugal self has struggled with the concept of having to pay a plumber 100 bucks to clear the drain.

Now, I have been a fan of the Flylady since 20…

Drinking The Kool-Aid

There's something been going on around here lately - a lifestyle change, really - that I haven't been sharing with you. 

It started innocently enough, when a friend mentioned that gas was a lot cheaper at Costco.  Now, you have to understand that, all these years, I've been a Costco refusenik, refusing to join the masses loading up those giant carts with huge boxes of foodstuffs and 48-roll packages of toilet paper.  Oh, yes, there have been times I've looked wistfully at my friends' tubs of Costco salsa and their giant frozen lasagnas, but I've been able to get past all that and move on with my life.

But cheaper gas?  I realized that I drive right by a Costco once a week, while the girls are at art class.  So, hey, I'll just check it out, I thought.  I don't have to buy anything.  Just, you know, LOOK at the prices, make sure I'm still getting a better deal at the military commissary I frequent once a month.

Oh, it is indeed a slippery slope, peop…

Misguided Ambition

I drove to New Jersey this weekend, armed with 60 boxes and 6 rolls of packing tape.  Yes, it was time to clean out my dad's house, where he had lived for over half a century.  I thought I was up to the task.  I thought it would be cathartic to go through that stuff, sort it out, and box it all up.

And, yes, it was cathartic - that is, if catharsis is the process of grief morphing into a feeling of resentment toward the dearly departed once the mourner realizes, with a sense of dawning horror, that 60 boxes is NOT NEARLY ENOUGH.  60 boxes is a JOKE.

I had a realtor stop by, approximately 24 hours into this process.  Up until then, I was doing okay - focused on my progress, energetic, hydrated.  And then, as I took her around the house, I snapped out of my illusions and saw the mess through her eyes - the accounting office with papers from 1978 on, the 2-car garage already full of boxes, the laundry room with I-don't-know what-all shoved into it.  It was in this last room that …

Broken Dreams

A while ago, I announced on this blog the exciting (to me) acquisition of a new set of glassware, an acquisition necessitated by the sad fact that we had only 3 intact glasses remaining in our kitchen cabinet.

Fast forward almost 3 1/2 years - Brian dropped a glass in the sink and I realized that we, once again, had only 3 usable glass drinking receptacles left.  Now, in this house, 3 1/2 years is not a bad run for a set of glassware, not bad at all.  But still, I've grown to dread that sound of breaking glass.

In Target later that week, I chanced on a clearance shelf full of plastic tumblers.  Understand, if you will, that - approximately a decade ago - I had decided that I DESERVED glasses, not plastic tumblers. Sick of bowing to the exigencies of a house full of children, I swore that never again would my lips touch anything but glass.  And, until that fateful evening in Target, I had stuck to my vow, regardless of our kitchen's granite countertops and tile floor that spell…


Quick note to say I'll be back soon.  My dad passed away on Sunday, and we've been busy doing stuff - funeral, sitting shiva, eating ridiculous amounts of cake and cookies, and trying to figure out how to clean out a house that was lived in by the same person for over 50 years.

I'm grateful he isn't suffering anymore, very grateful - but it is disorienting (to say the least) that someone who has always been in my life is not there anymore.  Apparently, judging from my surprise at this situation, I have just figured out what death means.  Some of us are slow learners, you know.

And now, to bed - last night I didn't sleep well, as I was alone in my dad's house, with ALL the lights on.  I was working with the theory that a well-lit house would discourage other-worldly visits.  And then I turned half of the lights off, because I remembered my dad scolding us for leaving the house "lit up like a Christmas tree" and figured that my overuse of electricity mi…

Plumb Crazy

The rash hasn't killed me yet.  Just thought you should know...

Today?  I had to help Rachel get ready for her FIRST GIRL SCOUT CAMPOUT EVER.  Rachel's naturally high level of enthusiasm was ramped up to the nth power, because she gets to do archery and kayaking tomorrow and I'd even think of joining her, it sounds like so much fun, but the place where they are staying?  Has no flush toilets.  Yet it has cabins.  With cots.

SOMEONE at Girl Scout Central seems not to understand that plumbing is not a negotiable camping option.  Beds are negotiable.  Wooden shelters are negotiable.  You see, tents and sleeping bags suit even this civilization-loving gal just fine.But, to my way of thinking, there just aren't enough s'mores in the world to make using an outhouse a reasonable proposition.  With or without the corn cobs...

[Outhouse image: Wikipedia]

Walking The Walk

It's hot here.  Just thought you should know.

I left the air conditioning off for most of the day, because only 1 member of the family was going to be in the house most of the afternoon, and damned if I'm going to air-condition a 2300-sq-ft townhouse for hours on end for only 1 person.

By the way, that 1 person?  Wasn't me.  Key point.

So, David got to enjoy some solitude, at the price of feeling a bit, well, poached by the time the rest of us returned from our various classes and play dates and errands.  I was hoping the hot house would encourage David to go out and look for jobs in air-conditioned stores and eateries, but no such luck.  He seems content to continue to rake in money from hapless older people who cannot figure out how to move their photos from their cameras to their computers.  So be it.  Lord knows he isn't going to run out of customers any time soon.

Where was I going with this?  Oh, yeah, it's hotAfrica hot. So I turned on that AC as soon as …

Pinterest For The Rest Of Us

Rachel and Susie and I had quite the girly-girl day today, shoe-shopping (Payless BOGO half-off!) and going out to lunch and browsing at Michaels.  I came home after a few hours of this immersion in all things feminine and begged Larry to take Susie to the pool, because, really, there is only so much enthusiasm and chatter one person can take in a single day.  I am done.

To recover, I vegged out on the Internets and discovered this Pinterest board that was apparently created by someone who is most emphatically NOT Martha Stewart.  [Warning: if you don't like the f-word, don't click.]  I particularly liked her messy message board how-to. Then I bestirred myself to prep a pan of boppies early, as I will be taking Rachel to her tennis team try-outs right before dinner.  By the way, it still makes my non-athletic self giggle to think that I'm taking a child of mine to try out for anything.  Rachel's wearing her new Payless sneakers and her Target tennis skort, so essential…

I REALLY Like Tennis

I couldn't bring myself to post yesterday, because I liked the pictures in Thursday's post so much.  Do you think Larry would mind if I went all teen-girl-y on him and plastered photos of male tennis players all over our bedroom walls?

I guess I know the answer to that one.  Spouses can be so stifling.

I went with a friend for a pedicure today; I spent 15 minutes trying to choose a new color and ended up with the exact same color I've always gotten.  Because I'm adventurous like that.  Although, really, just getting the pedicure itself is adventure enough for my personal-space-craving self....

And, finally (because there really isn't much going on in this neck of the blogosphere, and really? Sometimes that's a good thing), let me recommend Marinka's little tour de force on why her husband REALLY shouldn't try to discuss family budget issues with her.  Ever.

Open Minded

We don't get cable TV, so imagine my delight at discovering that ESPN is streaming the US Open matches live on a computer near you!  Oh, my, those tennis fellas are delicious.  I mean, um, talented - very talented

 All this, and brains, too....

That Serbian guy is no slouch, either, of course.

Tennis skills honed during the NATO bombing of Belgrade - talk about cool under pressure, eh?  AND he speaks 5 languages, including French.  Ooh, la, la!

I know, I know, I'm much too old for any of these nice young men.  And I don't have a shred of cougar in me.  But I do have 3 daughters to marry off, so it behooves me to research potential sons-in-law, don't you think?  Duty calls!

[Youzhny image: WSJ]
[Djokovic image: Adelaide Now]

The Truth About Parenting

A few months ago, our oldest child Theo – a newly minted Army officer - surprised us with a visit. He came home over a holiday weekend, because – get this – he just felt like it (awesome!); and we old folks at home were thrilled.  That is, I was enjoying his stay until something unfortunate occurred, an incident that left me, essentially, a broken woman, contemplating the futility of all human endeavour.
You see, I’ve spent many years (22, to be exact) watching reality steamroll over my na├»ve child-rearing aspirations.  As the mom of 6 kids born over a span of 13 years, I’ve experienced my share of disappointments: I’ve had to gradually surrender all my nutritional ideals to the great god Sugar, for example; I’ve watched the Internet pretty much destroy my dreams of a TV- free home; and I’ve even accepted that teaching my kids to maintain orderly bedrooms - and their actual doing so? - are two entirely separate matters.  
But, despite my multiple run-ins with reality as I raised the …

Ours Is Not To Reason Why

I know, I know, lots of mothers all over the blogosphere are over-the-moon happy today that it is the first day of school.  But while those lucky women dance around their newly liberated households, strewing flowers and kissing school-bus drivers, there is a small group of us moms that is steeling itself for battle instead.  We are sharpening our machetes, as it were, to hack our way through the school-year jungle of workbooks, unit studies, educational apps, and field-trip planning that springs, fully formed, the day after Labor Day.

Yes, the homeschool moms.  It's us.  We feel a tad left out this week.  Behind all our bravado and nonchalance, there is a teeny part of us that wonders what it would feel like to have the house empty 6 hours a day, 5 days a week; we go all aquiver at the thought of our kids getting upset with someone WHO IS NOT US over assigned math problems; in fact, sometimes we even fantasize about nodding sagely at parent-teacher conferences and running the …

Don't Google, Be Happy

Some quick updates:

Still working on the crocheted plastic sleeping mat for Haiti - I've got 10 inches done, so this particular good deed should only take me approximately 6 more years to complete.

Still aghast at what the ravages of time have wrought on one of my favorite singers

Still walking around humming "The Circle Game" and mourning my lack of cute babies to squeeze

STILL have not worked up the nerve to change out my starter earrings for something prettier (although I am planning to use the Neosporin hint that Cassi passed on (one that she got from Jen on the Edge).  I've said it before, but I'll say it again:  I LOVE the blogosphere.

The only thing new is that Theo dropped by for the weekend, so I bestirred myself to cook a bunch of food in honor of his visit.  To be perfectly honest, it was more of a group effort:  I prepped the meat, but Larry grilled it; the children shucked the corn so that I could boil it; and I braved the hot August…

Those Damn Painted Ponies

We had a belated bowling party for Rachel today.  Her birthday always lands somewhere during our summer vacation, so we end up postponing the festivities, as she doesn't consider a McDonald's Apple Pie with a candle stuck in it to be an appropriate commemoration of the day of her birth.

Entitlement, folks - it runs rampant around here.

We invited about 15 girls to the party, and - its being August - only 4 of them could make it.  That beats Anna's 11th birthday party - only 2 girls could make it to that one; and then, just to make the day extra special, they both ended up giving Anna the exact same present

So Larry and I ended up driving 6 girls (Susie rounded out the guest list) to pizza and bowling.  The guy at the bowling alley looked at us sort of funny when our small crew walked in, as we were required to pay for 12 guests in order to book the party.  The party room did feel a little large for us - add to that the fact that most of the girls who attended fit the cl…

Time Warp

When I hear the name Linda Ronstadt, I picture a 20-something ingenue with long hair and a heart-shaped face.  At the same time, I hear her singing "Blue Bayou" in my head.  Also, her cover of the Buddy Holly song "That'll Be The Day" - I hear that, too.  And have I mentioned that I saw her live in The Pirates of Penzance in Central Park?  She played opposite Kevin Kline.

Why am I inflicting on you these unsolicited reminiscences?  An article tonight on the home page of The New York Times announces that Linda Ronstadt is suffering from Parkinsons and cannot sing anymore.  My Rip-van-Winkle brain simply can't wrap itself around the reality of her current picture; nor can it grasp the idea of that voice being silenced.

Folks, the confusion this engenders in my psyche is second only to that which I experience when gazing into the bathroom mirror in the morning.  Who IS that person there, anyway?  And don't even talk to me about the vacation photos I just s…


Well, I've come up with a new way to determine whether or not someone is the crafter type.  All you do is show them this website.  If they go "Hunh" and shrug their shoulders in a non-committal way?  Not crafty.  If, however, they react as my Rachel did - i.e., "Oh, wow, that's the neatest thing ever!" and immediately start cutting plastic grocery bags into strips to use as plastic yarn (plarn)?  Crafty.

 So, yes, today was spent crocheting plastic strips into bug-proof, waterproof sleeping mats for children in Haiti.  Crafty and virtuous!  We won't talk about the first 3 attempts that I had to tear out - sure would help if somewhere among these online instructions someone had mentioned that I needed an N size hook.  But no matter...the girls are inspired and I feel useful.  Join us!

[Plastic mat image: Island Dreams]

Early To Bed...

Time to catch up...

I haven't posted since Wednesday because I realized that I felt much better during our camping vacation when I was getting to sleep at a reasonable hour every evening.  So I've been trying to do the same here, but - as you can see - it has seriously affected my ability to blog.  Blog?  Sleep?  I don't know yet which one will win out.

It has been over 6 weeks since my ears were pierced, but I still haven't tried to change out the earrings because I'm scared to remove the ones I have in.  Anyone care to come over and help me out here?  I feel like an idiot.

I have way too much crap in my house.  TOO MUCH.  I almost felt better living in the pop-up, just because it wasn't cluttered.   I need to do something about this situation, I know.  I mean, aside from the solution I suggested to Larry last week - run away from home and live in the camper.

I must say, much as I dislike the whole concept of camping, I LOVE hanging out with other campers.  Yo…

Lessons From Camping

No campground bathroom will be perfect.  We stayed the last 2 days at a place with bathrooms that were practically brand new.  It boasted automatic sinks, automatic paper towel dispensers, and that new fancy hand dryer that actually works.  The shower area had a nice long bench plus individual dressing areas for each shower.  Seriously, just looking at this bathroom brought tears to my eyes, even before I discovered the thermostat that allowed one to turn on the heat on chilly mornings.  A heated bathroom! 

The snake in this Eden?  There were no hooks near the sinks to hang a toiletry bag on.  NO HOOKS.  Every campground bathroom needs hooks.  How else are you supposed to unzip your bag and get your toothbrush out?

And let's just not talk about the mouse, okay? 

You will only be able to locate those items that you do not need at that particular time.  For the first 5 days of our trip, I KNEW where my Carmex was.  I knew where it was because it kept showing up.  I'd look in m…

Mission Accomplished

We're back from our camping adventure in Cape Cod. (And still married!  Miracles never cease.)  For today, I present to you photographic evidence of the realization of my long-desired goal - to once again taste a certain delectable hot-weather treat obtainable in only one (very) small state. On our way up to the Cape, Larry and I made a detour through Newport, RI, ostensibly to remind the kids of all our favorite haunts in that lovely town, but really? We were plotting to get our hands on some authentic Del's Frozen Lemonade, a delicacy too infrequently sampled during our year-long sojourn there, an entire decade ago.

It took some doing, as there was no available parking at the beach; but David and Brian and I jumped out of the van and ran to the Del's truck while Larry circled around and around, trying to look inconspicuous despite the camping trailer and 6 bicycles he had in tow.  "6 mediums and hurry!" I barked at the hapless college student manning the truc…