Showing posts from July, 2014

Goings On...With Pictures!

WHERE HAVE I BEEN?!  Well, let's see...I've been making peach jam...

and I've been reading about some of the quirkier habits of that creature known as the human adolescent...seems that the latest fad is to set oneself on fire.  That's bright.

And I've been learning how to ride a road bike (you know, the kind with the turny-downy handlebars?) again, after many, many years away...

AND I have been attempting to get ready for a family "vacation," if that is what one can call sleeping in a camper, showering where you have to pay quarters for hot water, and cooking over an open fire. "Getting ready" includes trying to weed our front yard enough that it can suffer 2 weeks of neglect without the neighbors turning us in to the HOA while we are gone...

Getting ready also includes attempting to gather the right amounts of non-perishable food to feed a family of 6 (including 3 vegetarians and one adamant carnivore) for a fortnight...

In the meantime, Brian …

Puppy Love

I visited Jennifer of Mama's Minutiae today.  It was the puppy pictures on her blog that got me. She had mentioned that lots of people have been coming by to visit her EIGHT ADORABLE CUTE CUDDLY-WUDDLY PUPPIES, and I thought, "Hey! The girls would love to visit puppies!" So, in a very uncharacteristic move, I invited myself over.

Hey, I've read her blog for years, people.  So it's sort of like I know her, right? Maybe?

Luckily, that was good enough for her (she reads my blog also, so I'm not a complete stranger asking to come play with her puppies - almost, but not quite). She said sure, Saturday's good, and I put both girls and a bunch of snacks in the car and drove 2 hours into a more rural (and beautiful) part of the state. At one point, we passed a house with clothes hanging on the line to dry.  "Oh, wow," said Rachel. "Living here is like camping every day!"

So yeah, my kids ARE very suburban and sheltered.  Sue me.

You know, I…


My not-so-willing offspring are burdened (to hear them tell it) with an unreasonable number of tasks around here: laundry, dishes, putting out the trash, you name it - there is always some chore that one or the other of my hapless children finds him/herself obligated to perform. And believe me, there is no whistle-while-you-work ethos happening in this household; rather, each task is greeted with dismay - nay, shock - that there is yet again something that needs to be done. And at the top of their list of disliked chores? That, my friends, would be the dreaded making of the ice cubes.

You see, there is no automatic ice maker for us, no binful of perfectly shaped cubes waiting to chill our drinks when we open our freezer door. Instead, once or even twice daily, we have to fill the 5 plastic trays with water, stack them in the freezer, WAIT several hours, and then empty the resulting ice cubes into our ice cube bin.

To hear the kids tell it, this job has them channeling 19th-century Al…

Red Alert

DO NOT ask for whom the mosquito buzzes; it buzzes for thee.  That's right, folks - the first locally acquired case of chikungunya has been diagnosed in Florida.  IT'S HERE.

Don't say I didn't warn you...

[Mosquito image: Wikipedia]

News You Can Use

On the parenting front:

You heard it here first, folks, teens are stressful...according to one study quoted by NPR, "...about one-third (34 percent) of those who live with one or more teenagers said they'd had a great deal of stress in the past month."  To which I say, "Yup."

The health beat:

We've already discussed this particularly lovely bug that bites your face and deposits its eggs in your skin, right? You know, the eggs that end up making your heart or intestines explode?  Well, this bug's existence has now provided me with yet another reason not to get a pet for the children.

And, finally, style (the home variety): among the things homeschoolers REALLY like to buy...can one ever have enough bookshelves?  And these fold flat when not in use!  Now you have a place to put all the schoolbooks that your children insist on losing during the year.  ALL the books will stay RIGHT HERE, on this marvelous, foldable set of shelves. This is the story we homes…


I've been away all weekend at a belated memorial service for my friend, who passed away last October.  I told the story about our ill-fated trip to Harris Teeter (among other things), and made everybody laugh.  It felt awesome.

We all had a lot of fun.  Is that so wrong?

Anyway, we had brunch the next day at her daughter's house, a cute dwelling built back in 1931.  I was happy until I walked into the kitchen, where I saw the stove.  THIS stove:

"Wow," I said to her husband.  "I didn't think they made that kind of stove anymore."

"They don't," he said. "That's the original stove. It came with the house."

People, I was looking at a stove from 1931 that still worked. It was 83 YEARS OLD.  Those of you who are long-time readers can understand my angst, can't you?  Remember the crappy stove from 1983 that came with our house, that I finally had to put out of its misery?  Remember the almost-new CraigsList stove we now own, th…

Amish Style

So, that thing over there to the left is my phone.  I call it the dinosaur phone when I joke about it with other people, but really?  In my head, it's a Star Trek communicator.  I channel Captain Kirk each time I flip it open; what's more, I like the challenge of texting without a keyboard, and I don't mind that I don't get data.  When I try to use a newfangled smartphone, it feels like I am a little kid holding a wooden block to my head and pretending it's a phone.

In short, I LIKE my phone.  AND it costs only $30, so if I lose it, no biggie - I go get another one.  The time I dropped it between a wall and a Metro escalator?  I didn't even panic.  The one sitting at the bottom of a storm drain in our town center? I don't miss it.  Really, I am too careless to own an expensive phone.

So why then is it so embarrassing when I leave it somewhere - on a cash register counter, say (see above re too careless) - and the clerk calls after me, "Oh, hey, is thi…

FitBit Me

Susie's been sick, the kind of fever-and-sore-throat sick where she doesn't really sleep at night but tosses and turns and generally keeps me awake ALL NIGHT LONG.  By 2 AM, I had pretty much reconciled myself to the thought of being sleepless and was glad enough to catch an hour or so closer to dawn.  At 6, I kicked Susie out of the bed so I could grab a little more sleep, only to feel myself being shaken awake around 7 by Rachel, who -- for reasons unknown to me - had to know RIGHT THEN whether or not Susie had slept last night.

One wonders why she didn't just ask Susie, who was awake on the couch downstairs.  Or maybe Larry, who was also up.  Why did she pick the sleeping person?  WHY?

So, yeah, the day hasn't been so great.  I"m tired, Susie is most definitely not on the mend, I'm looking at another night like the last one...AND, in an illogical moment, I started prepping the kitchen cabinets for repainting, only to realize I was missing some important too…

Having A Ball

So! I visited a friend recently and happened to sit on this exercise ball chair she had.  It was awesome.  I felt as though I could sit up straighter, I could feel myself working my core muscles to do so instead of straining my back. Is it crazy to spend $75-80 on one of these things?    I mean, when you consider I have to spend $30 per physical therapy session, I guess it isn't much if it helps my back, right?  Or am I rationalizing?

 Too ugly, though?  Will it clash with my highbrow IKEA decor?

Anyone have one of these?  Pros? Cons?

Praise The Lord And Pass The Backwoods DEET

Well, well, well - what have we here?  Not one, but TWO mosquito-borne diseases to worry our hypochondriacal little heads about!

Well, MY hypochondriacal little head, anyway...

Move on over, West Nile - there's a new kid in town.  Let's all say hi to chikungunya, the latest present brought to us by our friends the Asian tiger mosquitoes.  You see, it's not enough that this particular breed of mosquitoes is out in full force ALL DAY (rather than just the evening, like those garden-variety mosquitoes you New Englanders complain so vociferously about).  Oh, no - the Asian tiger variety now has the proud distinction of carrying 2 fun diseases: good ol' West Nile virus and this lovely new disease with the hard-to-pronounce name, fresh from the Island of Hispanola.

Isn't that fun? Now those of us living in these parts can come down with a flu-like illness that occasionally invades the central nervous system to wreak all sorts of havoc OR enjoy the gift of joint pain tha…


Today? Oh, band camp, a bike ride, errands, end-of-year testing for Brian, and then meeting up with a childhood friend for the better part of the afternoon/evening. Top that off with an episode of Dr. Who ("Vampires in Venice") and you have what was a very satisfying day.  In fact, on the way up from the TV room, I was congratulating myself on all I had accomplished over the last 24 hours when Brian said, "Hey, the rug is wet right there."

"Where?" I asked, although I knew.  I knew.

"There," he said, pointing - you guessed it! - toward the floor in front of the furnace/AC closet.

Folks, I know most people in the world live without AC; I know that not having air conditioning does not constitute an emergency. But I still called that emergency repair number.  Have I mentioned that it was so hot and humid today, I didn't even hesitate (as is my wont) to turn on the AC this morning? And that the same weather is predicted for tomorrow?  And then, …