Friday, September 22, 2017

Random Friday

Tomorrow, I get to drive. Rachel has a dentist appointment, that we can no longer walk to. Then one of my elderly clients has a hair appointment. After that, I am transporting 5 tween girls to a weekend camping trip over an hour away. And then I am driving straight back home, because nothing in this world could induce me to spend the weekend camping with a bunch of tween girls. NOTHING.

All in all, I'll be in the car for over 4 hours. In a perfect world,  I could get somewhere exciting in 4 hours. But that's not what is happening here.


Random photo: I made these
Idea: Could we just stick Kim Jong Un and Trump in a room and let them fight it out? They obviously have issues with each other, and the rest of us just want to get on with our lives.


Looks like it's a random thoughts night. That's okay, no one looks at this on a Friday, anyway.


I'm already dreaming of Halloween candy. That's normal, right?


Good news! I'm off the hook for planning something amazing for Larry's 50th. He just found out he has to travel for work and will be away for the big day. Whew! I told him we'd make his traditional cake and send him photos of us all enjoying it without him. I mean, he'd want to know we're thinking of him, right?


And that's all I've got. Feel free to be random in the comments, you lovely anonymous weekend readers, you!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Keeping The Faith

My current version
of snake oil
So I finally Googled my stomach pain symptoms (I hadn't before because I didn't want to inflame my natural hypochondria, although really, I was already imagining the worst, so why not?), and it looks as though I have sludge in my gall bladder (not to be too technical or anything). Lemon juice, LOTS of water, castor oil compresses, and lecithin supplements are recommended. I've spent half my day in the kitchen and the other half in the bathroom.

So. Much. Fun.

But at least I have hope that someday I might be able to eat somewhat normally again.

Today, Susie and I went out to buy some challah for Rosh Hashanah. Now, remember, Susie is the youngest child in our interfaith family. Many years ago (20, to be exact), we belonged to an interfaith families group at a local synagogue. I took Theo and Anna (and David, but he was only a baby) to a challah-making workshop there. We even had a picture of Theo in the local paper, working on his little braided loaf.  Over the years since, we've colored in placemats for Chanukah and kids' Haggadot for Passover. We've spun dreidels. We've made hamantaschen.

What I'm saying here is, I've made an effort to ensure that the kids are aware of their heritage on both sides of the family - Catholic AND Jewish. And when my parents were alive, this was easy - they'd visit and celebrate the Jewish holidays, etc., with us. I was really rocking the interfaith lifestyle, is what I'm saying, even if I did complain a lot. (Hey, you try navigating 2 major holidays every December. It's not for the weak, I'll tell you that.)

I hadn't realized, as the older kids left, and my parents (aka the Jewish side) passed on, that I was missing the mark. Not until today, that is, when I said to Susie, "It's Rosh Hashanah! Let's go pick up some challah to dip in honey." And she said, "What's challah?"

Yeah. Major Jewish parent fail. Oy vey.

Excellent for

All the way to the bakery, I alternated between mentally chastising myself for my shortcomings as a parent and reminding myself that, hey, I have 2 adult children who are currently living IN ISRAEL. I'm not sure you're allowed to average out the religious upbringing of your offspring that way, but it will have to do. The long and the short of it is, Susie is growing up in a completely different family than did her oldest siblings, and I need to accept that.

But first, let me beat myself over the head with this mezuzah some more. It just feels right, in a Jewish guilt sort of way.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Sweet Dreams Are Made Of Cheese...

I have to drive to the dentist in 20 minutes with the kids. We used to be able to walk there, but then our pediatric dentist had the nerve to move her office further away. Some people only think of themselves, you know?

Anyway, Susie's still annoyed at me because I made her get braces back in July (she NEEDED braces). The poor kid cried herself to sleep the first night she had them on, saying she didn't like having things in her mouth. So, yeah, if you enjoy feeling like garbage over every important decision you make, then parenting just might be right for you.

In the meantime, I have an appointment for a crown that I've had to cancel twice, and now I just don't want to go at all. I sort of lost my dental momentum, you know? Also, I'm tired of spending money, and for the life of me I don't understand dental insurance rates. When someone says they'll pay 40% of an unspecified amount, it doesn't really matter how good you are at math, you can't figure out the answer. And believe me, I AM good at math.

Susie ate this in front of me. She's mean.
I'm still eating low-fat so I don't set off those stomach pains, and really, this is a very unsatisfying way to live. I try telling myself that I've been allowed to eat what I want for 54 years, and that's a pretty good run. But that still doesn't make me any less sick of grilled chicken. I threw caution to the winds today by putting the chicken on a bed of lettuce and sprinkling that with a tiny bit of feta cheese and a teeny amount of Italian dressing.

I know! I'm wild and crazy.

It didn't taste that good. What's worse, I felt really old, chomping on my flavorless healthy meal while avoiding the back tooth that needs a crown. And the first person to tell me to use low-fat dressing is getting blocked (I mean, if I can figure out how to do that). I swear, I will not go gentle into that dark night.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

I Miss Ice Cream

Look at that - I survived an entire day without having a medical problem. I ate semi-normally (no fat, but still), I managed not to pierce my body with rust-covered pieces of metal, I exercised and ran errands like a normal person...

I'd kill for a Heath Klondike bar, though. KILL.

My preciousssss...

You know what bothers me? I've been pretty much starving for over 2 weeks, so you'd think some of my pants would at least be hanging a tad loosely on me. Is that too much to ask? I don't think so. But no, nothing's changed on this body of mine. Maybe I'm just losing weight on the inside? Is that possible?

The doctor last night at Urgent Care called me "young lady." It was disconcerting, to say the least. I can't even remember the last time someone called me that. Actually, it doesn't matter WHAT age you are, "young lady" always sounds condescending. So I punched him in the nuts.

LOL, no. Just wanted to see if anyone was actually reading...

The other day, I took one of the old ladies I work for to the supermarket to pick up glucose strips and Lean Cuisines. She has a small chest freezer in her garage, so I followed her in there to see if she needed help putting the frozen dinners away. I noted the presence of what seemed to be several large spiders and - not being freaked out much by spiders, believe it or not - I moved in for a closer look, to make sure she wasn't harboring a dangerous species in there. Also, I'll admit, to take a picture, so I could freak out Brian, who most definitely does NOT like spiders. Ha, ha, I thought, he'll hate these.

They weren't spiders.

I spent the next 5 minutes in that garage trying not to scream, as my client fussed over how I put the Lean Cuisines away, and promising myself I wouldn't set foot in there ever again. Because CRICKETS - large, dark crickets were on the walls and the ceiling. Everywhere I turned my head, I saw a cricket. Just sitting there, waiting to jump in my hair when I wasn't looking.


I most emphatically do not do crickets. I wrote a semi-hysterical email to my client's daughter, letting her know that I would no longer be able to put things away in the garage freezer for her mom. I'm sure my supervisor is thrilled I did that.

Turns out, judging from how unimpressed he was with my story, Brian doesn't mind crickets. Maybe I'll have him help her.

[Klondike bar image: Klondike]

Friday, September 15, 2017

Like Aesop's Fables, Only No Animals

The doctor called me Wednesday and informed me I had high cholesterol. And I was all, "Um, okay, so, uh, does that cause intermittent severe stomach pain?" and it was her turn to go "Huh?" So I had to remind her that I had gone to see her for really bad stomach pain and that she had run all sorts of blood tests for all sorts of enzymes and all.

Sheesh, am I the one with the MD? No, I am not.

So then she looked at her notes and looked at the other tests and said, "Oh, everything looks perfectly normal here! Liver, pancreas...all that. So we'll see you in 3 months for another cholesterol test. Try to eat low-fat."

Whereupon I had to remind her that I was barely eating AT ALL. So she said to wait for the sonogram that she had scheduled a whole week later to see if anything came up. Apparently, she is not too concerned about my nutrient intake.

So yeah, my budget health insurance is working out just great, y'all.

But that's NOT what I came here to tell you. I came here to tell you about the dangers of self-righteousness. You see, one of the townhouses in my neighborhood is a rental, and it's being renovated between tenants. So the contractors doing the renovations left a huge pile of flooring remnants and boxes next to where we leave our trash cans twice a week for garbage pickup.

The stuff sat there all week, irritating the heck out of everyone, until today, trash pick-up day. And the garbage guys didn't pick it up, because really, they're not supposed to pick up any trash that isn't bagged and the contractors should have disposed of that stuff themselves.

So I went out there this evening, filled with self-righteous indignation over the mess, and started carrying all the trash back to the house it came from. I made sure to dump it in the front yard, right next to the For Rent sign.

Because, yeah, I can be petty sometimes.

This is useful
The job took a while, because it turns out some of the boards were old pieces of shoe molding and baseboards, complete with sharp nails sticking straight out. I marched back and forth with those boards, feeling mounting satisfaction as the pile in the yard grew higher. That'll teach people to mess up our neighborhood, I thought smugly.

I was almost done, just cleaning up some plastic debris and cardboard boxes, when it happened: I stepped on a rusty nail in a tiny piece of shoe molding that I had missed. Because my beloved FitFlops have really thick soles, only the tip of the nail got into my foot, but still - RUSTY. So now I get to pay $30 to go get a tetanus shot at Urgent Care tonight.

Moral: Vigilantism doesn't pay.

[Rusty Nail Chart: Wound Care Society]

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Near Death Experience

I haven't blogged in a week, because I was waiting until my stomach didn't hurt, because I was sick of whining.

My stomach still hurts.

I spent a while on Tuesday lying on my bed and wondering whether or not I should go to the ER. The pain felt like one of those female heart attack scenarios one reads about in the Health section of newspapers. Then, being lazy, I decided to wait 2 hours. If I weren't dead by then, I'd know it wasn't a heart attack. I'm scientific like that.

So that worked well, as in I was still alive after the experiment. In pain, but alive. Felt better Wednesday and Thursday (whew!), started to get my life back together, and then was laid low again Thursday night. Get this - I actually went to the doctor on Friday. I know, crazy, right? She ordered all sorts of blood tests - liver enzymes, pancreatic enzymes, I don't know what all - scheduled a non-urgent sonogram of my innards, complimented my knitting, and sent me home.

I spent the next four hours or so imagining every dire gastrointestinal scenario possible and sorting my yarn into projects I wanted to complete before I died. There were the fingerless mitts I had promised a friend, way back in April; another pair of mitts to use the yarn another friend had brought me all the way from Italy; a couple of baby hats for the grandchildren I'd never get to meet...

Deathbed Knitting

You know, I'm thinking no one does maudlin as well as me.

At some point, my Sensible Friend (who knew I'd been dealing with stomach pain) thought to call and see how I was. I told her about the multiple fatal illnesses I had diagnosed myself with and she said, essentially, "Oh, pooh, it's probably pancreatitis. I've had it, and I'm still here. Hurts like crazy, though."

She's a good friend. I'm still knitting those baby hats, though.

So here I am, Sunday, and still in pain. But, hey, that's only when I try to eat something, so technically the pain is avoidable. I mean, who needs food, anyway? Not me, apparently...

Monday, September 04, 2017

The Sound Of Music, Annotated

Okay, that weekend went by in record time. I spent it recovering from whatever the heck was wrong with me last week, and working at the yoga center, and entertaining visiting family, and taking tweens to the mall, and seeing Anna off on her next overseas adventure. Also? Our local movie theater was showing "Sound of Music" this morning on the big screen, so of course I went. Susie was the only kid who accompanied me, because Rachel is too cool for such things now.

I've said it before, but "Sound of Music" on the big screen is absolutely magnificent. If you ever have a chance to see it that way, GO. And if you are really lucky, you won't be sitting in front of a person who is eating movie snacks loudly, constantly, like a pig at a feeding trough.

I wasn't that lucky, unfortunately. When this person wasn't slurping and chomping and rustling his popcorn, he was offering not-so-astute commentary on the movie. When the Captain and Maria (spoiler alert!) share their first kiss, Mr. Popcorn Snorter said to his companion, "He must be at least 20 years older than her." When we were treated to a full-screen picture of a huge Nazi flag covering a building facing a plaza where soldiers are goosestepping along in fine Third Reich fashion, he announced, "The Germans have taken over."

You know, because that was so hard to pick up on...

Picnic chickpea salad
But I still managed to enjoy the movie because, hey, absolutely magnificent. Afterwards I had to rush home and get things ready for a neighborhood BBQ, because I always seem to be in charge of such things. It might be the Jewish genes, I don't know.

What I DO know is that I am finally sitting down by myself this evening, reveling in the solitude and looking at my wreck of a house. I don't understand how grown-ups who are socially active manage their lives. I haven't been able to clean much of anything all weekend (aside from basic kitchen chores, of course); there are myriad details of my life that have fallen through the cracks; in short I feel completely discombobulated, simply because I had a few outside commitments over the past 3 days.

So how do people run for political office, say, or even volunteer on campaigns or join protest marches? How do they manage to hang out with friends, or pursue interesting hobbies, or hold down full-time jobs? When do they get their laundry done?

Just wondering...

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Better Housekeeping Through Technology

All right, so yesterday RobinH (who, really, has never led me wrong) informed me in the comments that the appliance I was lusting after was essentially a $99 dustpan. Dammit, she's right.

Still want it, though. Not gonna get it, but I want it.

Tempting, but price-y
Gigi suggested I get a Roomba instead, but wow, those things are $300 and up now. I had no idea they were so expensive. Also, doesn't it just keep bumping into chair legs and such? Anyway, I'm not getting one, because, well, $300.

I continued to feel lousy all day yesterday; by evening, I had myself convinced that I had either diverticulitis or colon cancer or life-threatening appendicitis that was presenting weirdly. So I spent several hours imagining how I would say good-bye to my children. I also wondered how Larry would find someone to drive them places.

I'm not kidding.

I woke up able to drink liquids and even managed a piece of toast, so maybe I don't have to put out a Help Wanted ad yet. I don't know, because now my stomach is hurting again. This thing is weird, the way it's hanging on.

Yeah, I do have health insurance. I just hate going to the doctor, is all. So I'll sit here and wait until the holiday weekend before I decide to do anything about any of this. That's smart, right?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Pre-Mortem Blogging

Light reading
I'm currently dying from a stomach virus, but that reminded me that a friend mentioned this book to me while we were out walking and trying to stay healthy enough to live forever. She said it has a whole section to write down passwords and instructions for all your social media accounts, etc. Which got me to thinking, hey, I should have a blog post ready to go in case I drop dead - you know, Larry could post it so y'all wouldn't wonder what happened.

It seemed like a good idea, but now that I've typed it out like that, wow - that's weird.

But it got me wondering what exactly I would put in that post. We're assuming a sudden demise here, and I would already be gone, so I couldn't explain what happened. I guess I could leave a sort of fill-in-the-blank thing for Larry to finish, though - I mean, that's just what he'd like to spend his time on, as a newly bereaved widower, I'm sure. So maybe this isn't a great idea after all.

I can't tell, because have I mentioned I am dying of this stomach virus? I had the temerity to sip a whole ounce of flat Sprite this morning (I woke up feeling pretty normal, after spending most of the day either sleeping or complaining), and now I am hunched over at this computer, trying to ignore all the sharp pains zinging through my intestines. Like, they go all the way through to my back. See? Definitely dying. On top of that, I have vicious hunger pangs. Yeah, go figure.

I miss food.

Looks like a penguin, sorta
Add to that the fact that my being out of commission for over 24 hours means the house falls apart, and I'm pretty miserable. I just staggered over to the living room windows and cleaned them, because I've been lying on the couch staring through their dirty selves for the past day and I just couldn't take it anymore. And I discovered (because, hey, I can lie on the couch and still surf the Internet on my IPad) this stationary vacuum that automatically sucks up anything you sweep near it on the floor. I am positively enamored of this idea. It's too expensive, however, so please remind me I do not need this particular luxury item.

But, hey, isn't it cute?

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

City Of Ice

It's raining this morning, which provides me with just the excuse I need not to go out and stagger/jog/walk for a mile, pretending to be fit and athletic. Considering I was up half the night with an unsettled stomach, I am definitely welcoming this reprieve.

No, I don't know what's wrong with me. But I have to feel better by tomorrow morning, because that's when I have yet another dentist appointment (the one I had to postpone earlier this month when I had the head cold from hell) for yet another crown. I feel desperate to get this thing behind me, because I hate dental work. Unlike everyone else in the world, I guess...

Also, it's always fun spending a thousand dollars in one fell swoop. And, heck, why spend that sort of money on something enjoyable when you can use it to have someone drill in your mouth?

Seen in Acadia, not Paris
(Note the cobwebs)

Speaking of which (spending money, that is), 2 weeks ago, when Rachel was complaining about her forced attendance on our camping trip to one of the world's more beautiful places, a place where she gets to eat ice cream and pastries to her heart's delight, I said, "You know, as a kid, I never went ANYWHERE during the summers. I was jealous of all my friends who got to go somewhere, even if it was the same place every year. I don't know how to help you with this. Is there someplace you'd rather go? The beach, maybe?"

And my darling daughter,  number 5 of 6 kids who have NOT been raised extravagantly and who supposedly know the value of a dollar, said, "My friend got to go to PARIS!"

Paris? Paris is in my MOUTH. Maybe that friend's dad is my dentist. Who knows?

Paris. Sheesh. I'm still excited about our automatic ice maker, people. Kids today...

Monday, August 28, 2017

Acadia The Beautiful

Still alive! We returned from a 2-week camping vacation exhausted, staggered around for a day, and then were hit by a freight train of a weekend. Really, guys, I wasn't ready for work and social commitments and all. So I'm sitting here now, trying to decipher cryptic notes I jotted down during our time away, things like "slumber party" and "doughnuts," with no other explanation whatsoever. I'm sure I had some great stories there, but I can't remember them.

Things I Do Remember

Campsite-made, with genuine Maine blueberries
We held with family camping tradition, in that we made sure we had a disgruntled teenager along on our trip. I mean, what's family campfire time without someone scowling at you and answering questions with a voice that could cut metal? Rachel happily stepped into the role that in former years has been held by David and then Brian; and I must say, she outshone them both. It didn't help that we were traveling on her birthday, I guess.


Theo drove up a couple of days after us and spent almost a week. We had assumed he'd just share the campsite and then go off on his own to hike or whatever, but he actually accompanied us on our activities. You see, he's old enough NOT to be an aggrieved teen who hates his family. It was, in a word, refreshing. We haven't had much extended hang-out time with him over the past (gasp) eight years (the last time he was in Acadia with us, actually), so this was a real treat for Larry and me. It was also - I came to realize - an eye-opener for Theo.

You see, one night, as we adults were sitting by the campfire, Susie called from the camper, "Do we have Kleenex?" And I said, "Sure, they're in the camper, honey, in the cabinet!"

"Can you get them for me?"


"Honey, you are IN the camper."

"But I just got all comfy in my sleeping bag."

"All right, I'll get them in a minute," I said, envisioning my "baby" all snuggled up, ready to sleep. I turned my head to say something to Theo, my eldest, to find him staring at me. "What?" I asked.

"I never would've even THOUGHT of asking someone to get me a tissue," he said. "EVER."

We don't call Susie "the grandchild" for nothing, you know.


View of the Bubbles, shrouded in mist
So, activities! 2 biking excursions (complete with wild blueberry picking), 4 hikes (plus more for Theo and Larry), 2 days on the water. Rachel persuaded Susie (who steadfastly refuses to get in/on a boat) to try a paddle board and they had fun with that, while Larry and I paddled around in kayaks, looking for all the world like an outdoorsy family on the cover of an LLBean catalog. In fact, Susie made that paddle board look so easy, I decided to try it myself.

Yeah, I don't know what I was thinking, either.

I am sure, however, that the girls will never forget the sight of their middle-aged mother floundering in the water and trying desperately to scramble back on that thing. Especially since Larry took pictures, traitor that he is. And no, I'm not posting them here.


Auntie Kate and Uncle Fred showed up the same day as Theo (they always come out and stay a few days in town while we are camping). So the first week was filled with activities and entertaining relatives, etc. By Saturday morning, when Theo left, we were actually glad it was raining - that gave us the excuse we needed to spend the entire day taking turns napping.

We can't HANDLE the fun, is what I'm saying.

We hiked to The Bowl. It's gorgeous.


The laundromat in town was renovated over the winter. This was exciting, but I can't explain why. Maybe because that laundromat is as much a part of our (or my) vacation memories as hiking Cadillac Mountain or biking the carriage roads. Sad, but true...


We got home on Thursday to find the house still standing, the front-porch flowers not quite dead, and the basil trying desperately to go to seed. I nipped that in the bud, as it were. Brian seemed a tad annoyed at having to share "his" house again (we showed up one day early), but he seems to be managing to adjust to our bothersome mortgage-paying, food-buying presence. Very forbearing of him, but he's magnanimous that way...

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Let Them Eat Cake

We're at T-2 days until we leave for our camping vacation, and there's a ton of stuff to do, so naturally time speeds up exponentially, just to make things easier. I still have to get a haircut (we have to pay for 5 minutes of hot water in the shower, and there's no way I can be done in under 5 minutes with a full head of hair), pedicure (because, um, doesn't everyone do that before 2 weeks of camping), some presents for Rachel's birthday on Saturday while we are on the road -- and, yes, she IS miffed that she is spending 6 hours in the car with her family on her birthday.

Did I say miffed? Actually, Rachel's disdain/disgust level will be through the roof. Her voice will be able to cut through metal, and she'll use it on us any time any one of us attempts to sound the least bit happy. We are so looking forward to this state of affairs.

Naturally, our car battery decided to give up the ghost last night because I had the temerity to run it for 10 minutes to charge my phone, so add "get new car battery" to the to-do list, will you? We are just lucky that this happened last night and not, say, on the night we set up camp, usually after dark, when we use the parked van's headlights to help us see what we are doing.

This is why we went to the moon, I guess
In other news, Brian returned late last night from his Seattle sojourn, where he ate good food, saw interesting sights (racing corgis!), and generally enjoyed himself from dawn to dusk. He's jet lagged and still sleeping; I haven't woken him up because I'm guessing his re-entry syndrome isn't going to be too pleasant.

Of course, he will probably cheer up as he helps us pack the car and then waves good-bye to us on Friday. Brian gets to stay home again this year, as his community college courses start up before we get back. I'm picturing him dancing a little jig as we pull out of the parking lot, actually.

For a brief time last night, however, I had all 6 of my kids sitting in the living room, laughing and joking and talking. I've pretty much waited 25 years for that moment, people, a moment which has made our long, arduous, ongoing slog through the teen years worth it. I don't ask for much, you know. Just brief spells of good-natured camaraderie amongst my offspring, with me there to witness it.

It was like Christmas in August, without all the gift-giving pressure and the ultra-flammable tree to worry about. More fun, is what I'm saying...

Engineered with brotherly love
And now we're off to Anna's birthday lunch - because, yeah, why not cram some festivities into the week, while we're at it? Thank goodness David likes to bake cakes. He's a rocket engineer (well, studying to be one) and is very precise. None of those sloppy specimens that I crank out, year after year, nope - his cakes are round and perfectly frosted and never look as though they have been chewed by rats.

Okay, click on that last link and scroll to the second half of the post. I promise, you will not regret the effort.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Down and OUT

When last we spoke, I had a head cold I was hoping to kick forthwith, so that my weekend would not be ruined. Yeah, no such luck. That thing kept coming back at me like the virus version of Rasputin, I swear it. I'd feel better, decide to weed the front yard, almost pass out, and stagger back inside. Then I'd feel better, make a vat of potato salad, and require a 2-hour nap to recover from the exertion.

There are a LOT of people living here right now. I HAVE to keep cooking. David flew in on Saturday, so now we have 5. Brian comes home from his truly excellent vacation on Tuesday night, to make it an even 6. He and his friend got to see corgi races today, he reports. Tell me, HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO COMPETE WITH CORGI RACES? Brian's gonna hate coming back here.

Also, did you even know there was such a thing?

Yup, they're real. I like the one who turned a little somersault, myself.

I had the temerity to act like a healthy person Saturday morning: I went to the Farmers Market to pick up tomatoes; then I stood in the kitchen for an hour making a fresh, uncooked tomato sauce (fresh basil, too!) to greet David with. I paid dearly for that expenditure of energy, ending up taking another 2-hour nap (see virus version of Rasputin, above).

I was woken by Larry standing in the bedroom and saying, cheerily, "The neighbors are organizing an impromptu BBQ, so I said we'd be there." The poor man - I flipped out. "I CAN'T be there. I CAN'T. I'd have to get food ready. I CAN'T. I CAN'T EVEN GET OUT OF THIS BED."

Larry left to buy hamburger meat and beer anyway, mumbling something about how he'd take care of it.

So I dragged my sick, martyred self downstairs, pulled chicken out of the freezer, marinated it, threw together a chickpea/black bean/parsley salad for my vegetarians, asked Theo to pick up buns and potato chips, and then went back to bed, feeling very sorry for myself.

The BBQ went off without a hitch and without me - I got to lie in my house with the windows open (it was an incredibly beautiful day) and listen to all my neighbors having fun on the grassy lawn behind the tot lot next door to our house. The only good part (for me) was their deciding to do a bonfire, which meant Larry was able to get rid of the stack of wood he's been hoarding on our backyard patio and that I had been planning to advertise as FREE on Craigslist this week, once he went back to work.

That sentence is too long, but I'm too tired to fix it. That woodpile was a sore point, is what I'm trying to say.

Today? I feel the same, although the cold sores that were erupting all over the inside of my mouth yesterday seem to have died down, which improvement makes me feel a lot less desperate and panicked. Still, I had to use my hour's allotment of energy to make homemade salsa (still had a lot of tomatoes left which were threatening to rot if I didn't use them) and also a fresh peach crisp. I spent the rest of the day watching the Dick Van Dyke Show with Susie, who seems to have woken up with the same horrid cold this morning.

Oh, and I did this:


That's right - I cleaned the instrument panel on my stove. Every single time I go to use the stove or turn on the oven, I think, "What a mess!" But I never get around to cleaning it, because, well, I'm busy cooking at the time. So today was the day - I took the knobs off, scrubbed them, and then scrubbed the entire background and the display panel.

And then I lay down on the couch again. Rasputin doesn't like me to get too much done.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Salad Days

Oh, we're in survival mode here today, folks. I'm dying from a head cold and didn't sleep (but, hey, at least I'm not sitting in my friend's vacation home, ruining a planned weekend of hiking and fun), Susie got braces yesterday and is NOT happy about it, David is arriving Saturday, I've got a not-fun dental appointment tomorrow morning...

Just like Hellmann's, but cheaper!
And I've still got to cook, cook, cook. Potato salad is on the agenda for today, to go with the leftover meatloaf from Tuesday. This has been the Summer of the Potato Salad - sort of like The Summer of Love, only more filling. I can't even count how many jars of mayo I've gone through (and, hey, it's only $1.89 a jar at Aldi's!). You see, back in May, I FINALLY figured out how to make this particular dish delectably creamy, rather than having all the mayonnaise just sliding off the potatoes.

Yes, this problem had been bugging me for a long time. 25 years or so, actually...

My original approach was to keep cutting the potatoes smaller and smaller, so there would be more surface area to absorb the dressing. This never worked, though. So, a couple of months ago, I finally hit on taking some of the potatoes after they are cooked, mashing them, and mixing them in with the celery and mayo before adding the rest of the cut-up potatoes. Eureka! I swear, I felt as if I had discovered the cure for cancer.

The Holy Grail, as it were, of side dishes
So, yeah, perfectly creamy potato salad - looks like I can cross that one off my bucket list.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Fantasy Camping

On Sunday, Larry and Theo and I went to the storage place to inspect our pop-up trailer - you know, the one we bought 6 years ago because Larry likes to camp and I don't, but marriage is forever? It was a surprisingly uneventful task - no gross bugs had taken up residence over the winter, no water had leaked through the new protective cover Larry bought last year, everything was there and sort of, well, organized.

But no flowers or throw pillows - we're not THAT good.
Larry and I sat there and stared at each other.

"So," he said, "I guess we're good to go?"

"Yeah," I said, checking inside the storage containers. "Looks like we just need paper towels and some trash bags."

Larry moved stuff around so I could sweep and wipe down the metal floor and the seat cushions. He opened his handy-dandy Coleman storage case that holds all his kitchen stuff and we checked that, too. Plates, bowls, silverware; metal pots; dish soap...all there.

"Is this for real?" I said. "We MUST be forgetting something."

I mean, hey, that's what we do.

Larry kept looking around. "Here's the stove," he offered, knowing I remembered the 2014 trip to a Maine WalMart, looking for a campstove to replace the 2 (count them, 2!) stoves we had managed to leave at home.

"There are 5 chairs in here," I said, checking the storage bench. "And they all work. What the heck?"

It's worth the effort. Really, it is.
"You know, it's a nice camper," Larry said, going around and unzipping the canvas windows to air it out.

"Yeah," I agreed, "like a screened-in porch on wheels. Sleeping in it's nice."

So we basked for a bit in our unaccustomed efficiency, daring to dream of a successful (i.e., not rainy) camping trip in non-humid Acadia, land of granite mountains and blue sea -- a veritable Eden where hiking and kayaking reign supreme, and children are never miserable about being forced to camp with their parents.

Look, I SAID it was a dream, okay?

Monday, July 31, 2017

Paint My Wagon

While Susie and I were staying at our friend's beach house, we watched her daughter transform - in a matter of hours - an older coffee table and side table into things of beauty - all through the miracle of chalk paint. Inspired, I decided that I, too, would turn a worn-out piece of furniture (and believe me, I have A LOT to choose from around here) into an attractively painted piece that anyone (and not just dumpster-divers like us) would want to have in their home.

So, in an unwonted fit of organized creativity, I not only managed to procure the proper paints and brushes since our return a mere week ago, I also actually painted a piece of furniture.

True, it's very small, but you have to start somewhere.

Susie is completely enamored of the color. "We should paint EVERYTHING purple," she said, as I brushed on the paint like the pro I am. I was similarly enthusiastic - that is, until the sun moved to the front of the house and I was stuck painting on the wax finish in approximately 90-degree heat. But, hey, I managed to get the finishing coat on, which is more than I can say for the last time I attempted something like this.

In other news, I can't keep up with the food consumption around here. Even with Brian away (he left us for Seattle, where he and a friend are staying in the friend's aunts house and living like kings for two weeks), I still have 4 kids to feed and I can't cheat by ordering a pizza, since Theo is here. I'm back to running the dishwasher twice a day, and baking breakfast goodies every other day, and generally doing what I did for, oh, I don't know, 15 or 16 years, before people starting growing up and leaving home.

I am entirely impressed by my younger self. She was very energetic, apparently.

In other other news, I woke up to a dead Fitbit this morning, which means I got NO credit for my morning jog/walk/stagger today. But it had charged up by the time I got back and now I have over 12,000 steps already, so TAKE THAT, Younger Self. I also weeded part of the back patio and sprayed natural anti-mosquito spray all over the vegetation and generally acted like a responsible homeowner, for once.

I know, shocking. I barely recognize myself. I blame the sudden drop in humidity levels (or dew point, as you weather geeks insist). I don't want to lose my momentum, so I'll sign off here. Tomorrow, I can discuss camping and our pop-up trailer and how Larry and I might maybe - just maybe - be getting the hang of this thing.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Beaten At My Own Game

So, yeah, here's a picture that inadvertently sums up my incredibly pedestrian day Friday:

There you have it - I rolled up 50-gram balls of yarn, knitted a gauge swatch, and battled an ant invasion with that can of spray and the vacuum cleaner hiding in the back corner of the photo. And, no, I don't know what all those corks are doing there. Let's pretend they're decorative, shall we?

The ants must have been trying to escape the rain. Because rain it did. It rained, and it rained, and it rained. It was the sort of rain where you stop what you are doing from time to time and wonder whether the house can withstand that much water falling out of the sky at once. Well, maybe that's just me.

Susie and I took advantage of the stay-indoors weather by playing Dutch Blitz. So, uh, what exactly do you call that phase where your kid starts beating you (repeatedly) at games you taught her oh so many years ago?

Oh, oh yeah. Growing up, that's what you call it. And, whaddaya know, here's the post where I rejoiced that Susie had finally learned to play this particular card game. It was 5 whole years ago. She was only 7 then. OMG, where has the time gone?

Today Larry drove to pick Rachel up from the Civil Air Patrol camp she attended this week. It's called Honor Guard and the kids spend the week learning to march in ceremonial drills and to toss rifles and (I kid you not) to carry coffins.

That's right - I sent my kid to a summer camp where she learned to be a pallbearer. I'm still trying to wrap my head around that one.

So, anyway, Rachel had a great time (let's face it, she's always been the weird one, right?) and wants to go back next year for the advanced level. Maybe that's when they learn to toss the coffins. I don't know.

That's it for now. Tomorrow Larry and I have to perform the yearly, divorce-defying ritual of opening up the camper, so we can get it ready for our August sojourn up north. Because why enjoy your weekend when you can argue over where to put sleeping bags and camp chairs instead?

[Dutch Blitz image: Dutch Blitz]

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Birds

As reported in not-so-riveting detail last week, Susie and I were invited by a friend of ours to visit her at her in-laws' beach house for a couple of days. So Sunday we set off for the Jersey shore with a car packed full with boogie boards and knitting and audio books and our Sportbrella, and really, is there any better way to spend one's time in the summer?

Of course not. That was a rhetorical question.

It worked! It really worked!
We spent 2 lovely days in Beach Haven, an eminently walkable beach town with decent bagels and a plethora of places to buy ice cream, and one of those days was excellent beach weather, which we took full advantage of. We spent 6 hours on Monday in the sun (well, under the Sportbrella) and sand and water and even convinced my friend to grab a boogie board and join the fun. And at not one point during that day were we attacked by seagulls.

Tuesday, we attempted the beach again, because the sun came out briefly. (It was too windy to put up our Sportbrella, though, and how many times do you think I can use the word "Sportbrella" in this post? That company should be paying me.) We spent 3 hours waiting for the sun to come back out from behind the clouds before finally giving up. But not before I took out a bag of Fritos (JUST LIKE THE DAY BEFORE) and started eating.

Next thing I knew, I was literally eye-to-eye with a very angry seagull. People, I never want to be that close to a wild creature again. Naturally, I startled and spilled some Fritos on the boogie board in front of me. Immediately there were several seagulls, dive bombing all around my shoulders and head as I frantically tossed those fallen corn chips into the sand away from me, so my legs would not be torn to bits by rapacious seabirds in search of a salty snack.

Hey, I get it. We ALL like Fritos. But they didn't even ask.

At the end there were at least a dozen seagulls swooping around me, calling shrilly to all their friends to come and get it, while I sat there, trapped in my beach chair, wondering if angry seagulls eat people. Eventually, they all left but one, who stood there in front of me for a while, maintaining eye contact, as if he somehow knew I still had half a bag of delicious salty goodness hidden under my swim dress on the chair next to me.

So we called it a day.

You can get a lot of steps in the ocean, apparently.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Gratitude Is Exhausting

I have no idea what I've been doing all week, aside from complaining about the heat. You should be grateful I spared you all that, actually. Or maybe not - this heat wave ain't over.

So I've spent the week being thankful for whoever invented air conditioning. You know, I've been hearing people say how they are starting gratitude journals - they write down one thing each day that they are grateful for. If I had done that this week, the journal would have read: Monday - AC; Tuesday - AC; Wednesday - AC; Thursday - OMG, AC; Friday - GOD BLESS THE AC.

You get the idea.

But I don't get how come people are saying this gratitude practice changes their lives. For some reason, I do this nonstop in my head anyway, ALL THE TIME, and it's not like I'm Mother Teresa or anything. I mean, I glance at a newspaper headline about Syria, and I'm all, "Thank goodness we don't live in a war-torn country." Or I take my daughter to the orthodontist and I think, "Thank goodness we have the money for this." Or I drive somewhere and I think, "Thank goodness, I wasn't maimed or killed on the road."

Which, really - is gratitude a positive or a negative? Mine is all, "Whew, this horrible thing didn't happen to me." Or, "Whew, we're not in the poorhouse with crooked teeth." So maybe I'm not doing gratitude right.

Now I'm confused, so let's change the subject. I currently have 7 people living under my roof (thank goodness I have all these kids), because Theo - now officially an Army veteran - returned from his jaunt across Europe this week. So I'm back to assigning laundry days and running the dishwasher twice a day and cooking a whole heck of a lot. (Thank goodness I can afford to feed them.) I cannot believe I spent years working like this, day in and day out. At least I'm not changing any diapers this time around.

In the middle of all that, I managed to get a new eyeglasses prescription and today I ordered new eyeglasses AND prescription sunglasses (thank goodness I don't have to stumble around half-blind). Oh, and I went to the dentist to get my crown installed (thank goodness I can afford dental work, but OMG it is so expensive).

See? It's constant. Tell me you do this, too. Anyone?

Band camp ended today, so there was the concert (thank goodness for earplugs - ha, ha, just kidding), with me sitting there panicking about what the heck we're going to do for the rest of the summer until we leave for the wilds of Acadia again (thank goodness we have a camping trailer even if packing for a camping vacation is going to kill us one of these years). Luckily, a friend invited me and Susie to her in-laws' beach house for a couple of days next week (thank goodness for friends with generous in-laws) to partake in some sand and salt water.

Larger on the inside?
This invite inspired me to order a Sportbrella from Amazon (OMG, thank goodness for Amazon, a thousand times over), because Larry won't be with us to wrestle our 20th-century beach umbrella into the sand deep enough to keep it from being blown away and killing an unsuspecting sunbather. My purchase arrived today and Susie set it up in the living room, for practice. Larry just sat there and shook his head.

"What?" I said. "Don't you like it?"

"That's really big," he said. "Will there be room on the beach?"

"We saw them all over the beach last summer! Don't you remember? We thought they were a great idea!"

Larry had no memory of this.

"Well, I think they look smaller outdoors," I said, in a pathetic bid for reassurance.

"Yeah, maybe," said Larry, but he still looked doubtful (thank goodness for husbands who humor their wives).

[Sun image: Clipartix]
[Sportbrella image: Amazon]

Friday, July 14, 2017

Come On Everybody, Do Your Exercise!

Isn't that post title nauseating? I hate it so much, I have to keep it. And now I have a Wonderama earworm.

Wonderama was the only thing for kids to watch on TV on Sundays when I was growing up. Until nighttime, anyway, when you got The Wonderful World of Disney. I tell my kids that, and they don't believe me, having grown up suckling on the teats of Netflix, as it were.

I'm not bitter, I just sound that way.

I've been trying to exercise, in spite of its being July, with it's sauna-like air quality and temps in the 90s. The humidity has been utterly ghastly (although, I guess I'm supposed to be saying the dew point has been too high, but WTH science - why do you have to make everything so HARD?), to the point where even my early morning walk with my neighbor has turned into the Bataan Death March - the slow version. But, despite all these obstacles, I'm still chugging along with my brief morning jog/walk, which hasn't been progressing as swimmingly as I planned.

I'm in training. Sort of.
I mean, way back in March, when I started staggering around the golf course path for a mile every morning, I thought, Yeah, I should be able to jog this whole thing by, oh, end of April.  And then, a couple of weeks in, I realized I was in worse shape than I thought and I was going to be away for 2 whole weeks in April; so I changed the goal to end of May. By the end of May, I told myself, I'd be able to jog for almost a mile without stopping to walk.

Last I checked, it's July. I'm still stopping.

But, hey, I continue to get out there, looking pathetic, because persistence is everything (or so I've heard - so far, persistence just means looking like a fool - a fool who's about to have a heart attack, actually). I've revised my goal to Halloween, but have lately been considering just making it my next birthday.

That's right - when I turn 55, I MIGHT be able to jog a mile. Stay tuned - I know, it's riveting.

So! Larry must be thinking I am still not getting enough exercise, or why else would he have suggested we take a bike ride last Sunday? He had been driving (and getting lost) all day Saturday and maybe wanted to do something outdoorsy, I guess. Or else he's just trying to get his hands on my life insurance money. That could be it. Yeah, I think that's it.

There are too many people on the local bike trail in the morning, so we decided to do it late afternoon. And then we remembered Susie had to be driven somewhere at 5, so we made the totally not sensible decision to set out around 1:30 - you know, the hottest part of the day? I suggested we bike 5 or so miles to a local brewery, not feeling up to the 10-mile trek to the BBQ place we love (and that we've managed to bike to exactly ONCE). We dragged Susie along and, after way too much work, pulled up at the brewery.

Now, this place is right off the bike trail, always has tons of bikes parked by it, so you'd think it would be the perfect place for an air-conditioned stop for tired cyclists like ourselves. While Larry locked up our bikes and salivated at the thought of a fresh beer, I scouted it out. A maitre'd greeted me at the door.


I squinted up at him through the sweat that was dripping down from my helmet and said, "Uh, we were just looking for a place to eat."

I know, I'm smooth.

"Well, I'd be glad to seat you," he said, motioning to the graciously appointed tables behind him. "Or you could order drinks at the bar and bring them outside."

I glanced back outside, where a bunch of cyclists were standing around with their beers. No chairs. Hot sun. Glanced back inside. Fancy table settings. Expensive rustic decor. "Uh, could I see the menu?" I asked. He handed me one and I tried not to drip while I studied it.

No dollar signs. 

Have you noticed? The fancy places don't even print dollar signs on their menus, just the numbers. But Susie needed some affordable fries and a draft root beer, not expensive pomme frites. And we wanted a quick snack, not a long, drawn-out meal with table service that would require us to refinance the house.

Not beer, but still refreshing

I went back out to Larry and Susie and said, "It's fancy. I'm sweaty. We don't belong in there." With a regretful backward glance on Larry's part (he was really looking forward to that beer), we biked further (further) until we got to town; and then we walked another half mile looking for somewhere to sit.

We ended up at a Panera's, drinking frozen lemonades. Which is fine, if you weren't looking forward to a nice foamy beer, straight from the tap. Serves Larry right for making me bike in the first place, I'm thinking...

[Lemonade image: Panera Bread]

Monday, July 10, 2017


There's been a long battle fought here, folks, the battle to bring Larry into the 21st century -- the struggle, as tech-savvy Brian puts it, to get him to trust the machine. We've made a bit of progress - he does have a smartphone, after all; but there are still some modern-day staples Larry simply refuses to get on board with.

So pretty! And fun!
For instance, on Father's Day, we bought a GoogleHome for him (oh, okay, it was for us), and he made us bring it back. "Why would you want a microphone in our home, listening to everything we say?" he demanded, exasperated at our naivete.

"But it's fun!" I said. "Look! You can talk to it!"

He shook his head in disgust. Obviously I was willing to sell my soul for a mere mess of pottage, or - in this case - the ability to say, "Hey, Google, play some Billy Joel" and have "Piano Man" come blasting out the living room speakers.

Similarly, Larry fought the good fight against that newfangled thing called GPS for a long time, instead printing out his trusty MapQuest maps like it was 1999. But he has gradually become accustomed to using Google Maps on his phone when he drives somewhere new; so last Saturday, when he had to drive Rachel and 3 other Civil Air Patrol cadets to their week-long Encampment in a rural part of our state, he threw caution to the winds and left with only his cellphone - no stacks of computer-printed routes or maps whatsoever. Oh, we were so proud of him!

You know what happened, right? Do I even need to tell you?

His connectivity dropped out somewhere in the middle of farmland, in an area he was not familiar with. Luckily, one of the cadets had a different cellphone provider, so they got by on his GPS for a while. In fact, they were on a road Larry remembered from previous years and he was pretty confident where he was going, when the cadet said, "It wants us to turn right here."

That didn't sound right to Larry, but hey - trust the machine. So he turned from a paved highway onto a paved 2-lane road. Which became a not-so-paved 2-lane road, and then a dirt road, and then nothing. Nothing but a rutted track and some cornfields, one of which happened to have a huge Confederate flag draped across it.

This is usually the point in movies where you know things are not going to end well.

So Larry turned his car full of Yankees around and hightailed it back to the main road, where by luck and Apple Maps (which came to its senses) he finally made it to the Army base they were aiming for. And he came home swearing never to leave the house without his MapQuest printouts again.

It would be hard to overstate how smugly vindicated Larry is feeling right now. I think it rivals the purple paint episode of 8 years ago for smugness, actually. I mean, if he was right about the fallibility of GPS, WHAT ELSE must he be right about, his lone voice crying out in the wilderness of 21st-century technology? Or so he thinks.

Meaning, I'll NEVER get him to come around on that GoogleHome gadget now.

[GoogleHome image: PCWorld]
[Children of the Corn image: Random Enthusiasm]

Friday, July 07, 2017

It All Adds Up

I was just (belatedly) updating Susie's age in my profile over there in the sidebar, and I thought, "Hmmm, 12 - when I set up this blog, she was only 2." Employing my prodigious math skills, I realized that, hey, that means I've been jotting things down here for 10 solid years.

An entire decade.

Messy Knitter Syndrome (MKS)
It was 10 years ago that I was sitting in our basement (because at that point we still kept the computer down there so that it wouldn't take over our family life, and OMG isn't that quaint) and thought up the title of this blog. I was very proud of myself. Not being very familiar with blogs OR the Internet, I thought I was probably the ONLY ONE with such a clever blog name.

I still really like the name, actually. But I know there are better ones out there. And better writers. And people with way more interesting lives. But, hey, this is mine. Without really planning to, I've inadvertently catalogued our lives for the past 10 years, and maybe, at some point, my kids will find it fun to read back over all this. Because they sure as heck aren't going to be able to reminisce over the non-existent family photo albums. I lost my grip on those about, oh, hey, 10 years ago.

I guess that's not a coincidence, huh?

Flowers are still alive, thanks to the rain
But, you know, a photo album wouldn't let the kids know the details of Larry's frightening foray into the wizarding world, or how I was briefly famous among German au pairs, or that our broken dishwasher inspired an honest-to-God appliance poetry slam.

A photo album definitely wouldn't tell them how the purchase of a rolling cooler backfired on me, or how much fun it was to take David to his first "real" movie at the ripe old age of 14, or how their father and I HAVE experienced a few rare moments of perfect marital harmony.

What gets me is, I didn't think anything much was happening all those years. And, on the scale of world events, that was true. But in the microcosm of our daily lives, writing this blog helped me catch all those little moments that really do add up to this thing called a lifetime. And for that, I am grateful. Maybe my kids will be, too.

And they DO have all those refrigerator clean-out photos - there's that.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Fiber-Rich, Calorie-Poor

Today, I felt fine, just fine, unless I ate something. So I didn't eat. Instead, I went to Aldi's, my new love, because it sells perfectly decent mayonnaise for less than $2 a jar. Also? Watermelons for $3.50 each, and good Kaiser rolls for hamburgers at $1.50 for 8.

Yeah, I had a stomach virus but I went food shopping. They don't call me "Mom" for nothing, you know.

And then I headed to the yarn store, because there was a 25% off sale there. I managed to snatch up the last couple of skeins of Crazy yarn, which is my current fiber crush. Every skein is different! Trade 'em with your friends! After that, I went home and tried again to eat, but that still didn't work, so I just knit instead.

See? It's CRAZY (even without the camels)
Cowl I knit from other skeins of Crazy (sans dromedaries)

With blatant disregard for my inability to eat, Anna chose today to make key lime bars to die for.  I'm saving mine in the fridge, for if I ever feel better again. Lord help the kid that eats it by mistake, I'll say that right now.

Larry is planning to kayak tomorrow morning, while I make a vat of potato salad and prep the hamburgers and chicken, stomach virus or not. We haven't invited anyone over, so it's not as though this is a Typhoid Mary scenario or anything. And I figure that anyone who lives in this house is already doomed, right?

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Food Would Be Nice

Larry and Rachel helped park cars at a July 4th Festival all day yesterday, so I used the quiet time around here to do some food shopping, clean out the fridge, cut up a watermelon. "I'll make more potato salad tomorrow," I told Brian. "Maybe some tuna, also. And we'll do a barbeque on Tuesday!" Oh, I was full of gustatory plans.

It all seems like a dream now, 24 hours later, all that food and talk of food. Because the fast-moving stomach bug that has been laying waste to families all over my state arrived here last night: first poor Rachel, who came home from 8 hours in 90-degree weather with a stomachache, one we attributed to dehydration, even though she kept insisting, "I drank! I drank the whole time!" She fell asleep curled up on a living room chair, after vomiting (and why do my kids all insist on a witness to their distress? Why did she have to yell "Mommy!" as she ran to the bathroom? Couldn't she have yelled "Daddy?"), with our words ringing in her ears, "Remember this next year! Stay hydrated!"

Because we're wonderful parents that way, wrongfully (as it turns out) blaming our children for their illnesses.

I fell sick later that night. I ended up on the couch, near Rachel, because it was cooler down there (yes, I DID turn on the AC that day) and spent a few sleepless hours wondering how to make up to her for our baseless accusations. I slept late, staggered out to knit with my friends (because no one can deny illness like I can) and then staggered back home and slept the rest of the afternoon away.

I thought longingly of this all day.
There's some really good watermelon in my fridge that I haven't been able to eat. I ate some crackers this evening, though, and half a banana - so don't tell me I don't know how to party on a holiday weekend.

And that's all, folks - I'm boring when I'm sick. Maybe you all could discuss the fun things you get to do this weekend, so I can enjoy them vicariously?

Or not - as you wish...


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