Tuesday, September 30, 2008

When Good Bloggers Get Desperate...

[Edited to add: I love Sue. I am also insanely jealous of her popularity and her funniness. This post is meant to make fun of my jealousy, not of Sue. Apparently I don't write well enough to get that point across without hitting you over the head with it. Got it? Good.]

Okay, I've got a slight problem. You see, Sue over at Navel Gazing has never really forgiven me for winning that Imperfect Parent contest. She has spent the last few months thinking of ways to get me back. And here is her latest ploy: begging readers to favorite her on Technorati. Yeah, begging...as in groveling...just to raise her "authority," whatever that is.

That's not all - she's also bribing people to leave comments. 50 dollars, people! As if she doesn't get enough comments already....Boy, she doesn't mess around, does she?

You know, Sue, I'm worried about you. Blogging can be a dangerous thing. At first you're just another homemaker with kids who thinks, "Gee, I'll start a blog. It'll be fun!" And then, before you know it, you're practically prostituting yourself around the worldwide web just to keep your numbers up. It's sort of like those people who go to Vegas (ooh, sorry, Sue, didn't mean to bring up your sleazy lover!) to do a little gambling for the weekend; but 2 weeks later you find these same people sleeping in a Vegas gutter, wearing week-old clothes and clutching a Big Mac that some pitying passerby tossed their way.

The siren call of blog stats is a slippery slope, if you don't mind a mixed metaphor.

That's why you will never find me begging people to favorite me on Technorati - not even when it is really easy to do, by just clicking on that little green and white button over there to the right. You know, like this one - right here.

Add to Technorati Favorites

(Are you back yet? I mean, you did test the link, right?)

Nope, I would never do that, Sue; because it probably wouldn't make much difference. So I'll just have to pretend to be satisfied with my pathetic 25-comment average per post. At least I know that the people who comment here aren't just doing it for the cold, hard cash. Because I don't have any.

P.S. Let me know if I win that 50 bucks. The kids are whining that they're hungry again.
P.P.S. I can send you that Imperfect Parent trophy, as you are apparently desperate for positive feedback. Why don't you scratch out the name of my blog and write "Navel Gazing" on it with a Sharpie or something?
P.P.P.S. Mom always liked you better.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Love And Marriage...

Well! Things are looking up. I'm feeling better, no one has thrown up (yet), and my husband is still speaking to me, despite our fun weekend of sick wife - jetlagged husband interactions. Of course, what Larry said when he spoke to me was that he is going away on yet another management retreat next week; so now I'm not speaking to him. He'll be coming back on his birthday, and I'm going to be all Cake? What cake? Who are you again?

I wonder if I can send back his birthday present. I'll tell him it went on a permanent retreat.

Because, did I mention, he is going away again after that. Yeah. I really think he doesn't like me anymore.

But, hey, I get to go out tonight, because I am driving the orchestra carpool this week. That translates into 2 and a half hours of sitting around and knitting in peace and quiet while I wait to bring the orchestra kids back home. And I am still immature enough to hope that, if our young ones are going to get sick, they start throwing up while I'm out.

But enough about my petty little problems - how about that Congress, eh? Suddenly we are in the middle of a combination Civics and Economics unit study here (homeschooling-wise), and we are learning more than we ever wanted to know about how a lack of corporate accountability combined with a political stalemate can bring down our economy.

Time for a compromise, fellas! Get to work! It's what we pay you the big bucks for.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Doesn't Deserve A Title

My weekend has been full of sickness (me and the kids), jetlag (Larry), ridiculous marital spats (due to the sickness and jetlag), and news from a friend I visited last week that her kids all started throwing up a few hours after we left. So we're operating under Code Vomit right now, catching up on laundry, stocking up on ginger ale, crackers, and pretzels, and generally battening down the hatches for what we know is coming.

Oh, and lack of sleep - did I mention that? Yeah.

I just cannot find any funnies here today. I'm still busy editing photos in case of my untimely demise, ignoring my husband who is absolutely no fun when he is tired (not me, though - I'm a barrel of laughs right now), and trying to remember which kid I gave the Motrin to and when. They are all in various stages of a headache/sore throat type of thing which is apparently only there to soften them up for the stomach virus's knockout blow.

I'm whining. It's pathetic. Why don't you go over to MidCenturyModernMoms and tell me if you ever had to play that lifeboat/nuclear shelter game I describe there? Because so far the commenters all sound as though they think I had a strange childhood. Maybe it was just a Jewish thing, that game? Beats me.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mortality Beckons...

Well! Where has the time gone? Larry got home Thursday late, but I didn't even get to talk to him until this morning; by the time he got home from work yesterday, I was in bed suffering from the gallstones that I don't have. Or maybe it's not gallstones, maybe it's pancreatic cancer and it's spreading and soon my children will be motherless...at least, that's what I spent the evening thinking.

Yeah, it's rough being a hypochondriac.

So, I dragged myself out of bed this morning to buy a bushel of apples at the local farmers' market; and then I came home and lay down some more (all the while wondering if my prognosis would give me enough time to catch up on all the scrapbooking) and then I got up and ironed all the summer clothes I haven't ironed in 3 weeks because someone told me it's getting warm again this week, and even if I am dying, I don't want to look like it.

if I'm dying...I don't want to spend my last weeks hearing everyone whispering, "She looks awful." I want everyone to be saying, "But she looks great! I can't believe it's terminal!"

Ah, vanity - thy name is woman.

Well, Larry is tapping his foot, waiting for me to go out on a lunch date. I don't really see the point to strengthening our marriage right now, as I am apparently not long for this world; but maybe if I do what he wants, he won't remarry too quickly after my demise.

A year - he's got to wait at least a year, don't you think?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

As The Food Turns

All you folks linking over from SpinDyeKnit, the post you are looking for is here. But feel free to stick around for the fridge follies. Or type in "knitting" in the search bar up there to the left.

[If you don't understand why I am showing you pictures of moldy food, please read the post that explains it all. After you read it, you still might not understand why I'm doing this (my husband sure doesn't); but at least you can say you tried.]

Okay, let's get started already. You know, that avatar of mine is haunting me. It makes me think, what would Laura Petrie blog? And then things get really weird...

For sure, Laura wouldn't be showing you the inside of her refrigerator, now would she? But today is Wednesday, and I have an obligation to my fan(s) to catalog what is being thrown in the trash this week. So, here we go:

On the left, there, in the Pyrex container (which I love, love, love because it comes with a storage lid) are the remains of our crockpot basil chicken (a recipe I got from Saving Dinner, I believe), which I served with bowtie noodles smothered in homemade pesto. See? Sometimes I cook my family a real meal. And Larry wasn't even here! I cannot figure out how we had any left over, as I served this for dinner 2 nights in a row (as I said, Larry hasn't been here) and then for lunch the day following.

And everyone liked it! Strange, but true.

Atop the container is the bagged carcass of a store-bought roasted chicken (look, Larry hasn't been here for over a week, all right?) that I saved to make into chicken soup. But I forgot. So much for assuaging my guilt over spending 5 dollars for less than 3 pounds of chicken (I weighed it on the produce scale in the store, because I wanted to see exactly how much money I was wasting).

Where were we? Oh, yes - here is the weekly Gladware stack. The bottom container has some leftover scrambled eggs (from the weekend when my parents were here); the next one up is filled with leftover dough for apple dumplings (David was a little overzealous and doubled the recipe). Above that is a bowl (that should have a plastic storage lid, but why use the matching lid when you can waste some saran wrap instead?) with leftover apple-dumpling filling. Sayonara!

Wait - does "sayonara" mean good-bye? Or hello? I don't know. Oh, well.

In the middle (front) is some unwanted hummus - it's texture was off, and so was the flavor. We're not buying this brand again. I'm giving you a close-up so that none of you make the same mistake. I am sure you regulars are not at all surprised to see the half an egg sandwich wrapped in blue saran wrap on top of the hummus. What can I say? We love our traditions.

Finally, the big bag in the center back is filled with apple peels and apple cores. I bought a bushel of apples (only 35 dollars - that comes to less than 80 cents a pound) at the Farmer's Market, so we've been busy all week making apple dumplings and apple crisp. But I hate to see all these healthy, unwaxed peels and cores go to waste.

Luckily for me, I have a friend here in the middle of suburbia whose husband insists on raising a few pigs each year. So I've been meaning to get over to her house and let my kids feed the apple remnants to her livestock. It's like a petting zoo, only admission is free and you don't have to pay for special food to feed to the animals. She has chickens, too.

Of course, raising livestock has its complications, like the time she came home with the kids from a play date and saw that the pigs had gotten loose and were running across the road. Have I mentioned that she doesn't really like the pigs? If it were me, I would have been all "Pigs? What pigs? I haven't seen any pigs" when my husband got home that evening. But, no, she chose to enable her husband's livestock addiction by chasing after the creatures and herding them all back into their pen.

Recalling this incident suggests to me a new book idea: Men Who Raise Livestock, And The Women Who Let Them. It would be a must-read for any woman who has ever found herself feeding chickens on her way to Target or defending her husband's pig-raising proclivities to a suburban homeowner's association. Every wife who has found herself inexplicably experiencing a suburban livestock lifestyle would find solace in its message that she is not alone, that there are others out there like her, struggling to lead normal suburban lives despite her mate's insistence that Green Acres is indeed the place to be.

No one's written it yet, I hope.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Americans to Wall Street:: "Go To Hell!"

Catchy title, no? I like it. You know, I was doing okay about these investment bankers overextending themselves and - whoops! - sort of upending our entire economy until I heard something on NPR yesterday evening. And, before you start railing about how NPR is just a bunch of liberal hotheads intent on taking down the government, let me tell you that I was listening to Newt Gingrich, who was the Republican Speaker of the House back in the halcyon days of the mid-90's. (And, boy, aren't the days of the Monica Lewinsky scandal starting to look good?)

So, that's a first - I'm agreeing with Newt. In his interview with NPR he pointed out that these captains of the free market have some sort of nerve asking for handouts, not only because a buyout plan is against all the free market principles they have trumpeted whenever someone has tried to regulate their activities; but also because some of these captains have been walking away with salaries in the millions over the past few years.

Hello? That's a nice chunk of change. And maybe they should invest some of it in their own companies, don't ya think? I mean, before asking us to chip in?

Newt also wants to know why we are planning to buy their assets (if that is indeed the proper word for investments that seem to be going belly-up) at above-market-value prices. Why, indeed? Can you say "corporate welfare"?

Newt believes that, by approving this bailout, we would be buying a short-term fix with grave long-term consequences, and that it would be better to let the chips fall where they may now rather than face bigger problems down the road. I would like to add that some of that money slated for the bailout plan could go to help the people suffering most in the short term from the consequences of this gross betrayal of civic responsibility. And those people would not be the ones working at these companies.

Although I would be willing to give them tuition money to take some basic math and economics courses. Ethics, too - that might be helpful.

You know, this post of mine from July? It was prescient. Only, it's not funny anymore.

Okay, if you have read this far, you must really care about this subject. (Or else, you just have nothing else to do.) How about taking some action? It's simple. Go to this website, type in your zip code, click on your representative's name, and send him/her an e-mail. (Oh, and send one to Nancy Pelosi, also.)

Not sure what to write? Feel free to use one of these:

  1. "Make 'em pay!"
  2. "No money until we see some heads roll...lotsa heads..."
  3. "700 billion dollars? You're joking, right? You've got to be joking."
  4. "Why are we throwing good money after bad?"
  5. "Just Say No to enabling greed and mismanagement on Wall Street."
  6. "No blank checks for Wall Street - these people obviously need some oversight."
  7. "Stop stealing my money!"
Or, make up one of your own. Not mad enough yet to send an e-mail? Listen to Newt. (Incidentally, he points out that both the President's chief of staff and the Secretary of the Treasury are former Goldman Sachs people. Can you say "conflict of interest"? I thought you could.)

Speak up!

And spread the word...

[Added note: I fixed the link to the website that allows you to contact your congressperson. Go! Do it! Now!]

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday Already?

Okay, I'm back. My faith in the system was so shattered on Saturday I almost lost the will to live. But the thought of my kids kept me going - who would they whine to if I weren't here? Who would save their egg sandwiches? Who would forget to edit their photos? I came to realize, as I sulked chocolate-less through the day yesterday, that I am essential to my children's lives: they need to be able to blame me for all their problems when they grow up. So, I'm still here.

And, if that's not reason enough to live, there's this:
Yup. Remember that contest a while back? You know, when I nagged everyone for a week to vote for me, because I was hoping I'd end up with a gift card to Amazon or maybe Starbuck's? Looks like the joke's on me. Grandpa and Grandma brought my prize down when they were visiting this weekend. But not before my mother showed it (proudly) to all her friends. Apparently, she has given up hoping I'll get a Pulitzer. Poor woman - talk about lowering the bar...

And, Sue, I know you're jealous...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Corporate Malfeasance

Hershey's Corporation, I want to have a word with you. You know, all the time those Belgium-loving dark chocolate snobs have been raving about the joys of high-priced, fancy European confections, the real Americans among us have refused to be swayed. We have continued buying your Hershey's with Almonds, your Almond Joys, your Reese's, all the while chanting, "U-S-A! U-S-A!" We trusted you, Hershey's; we knew that the chocolate company that had served our grandparents and our parents would know what was best for us, and best for our country...

And you repay our blind trust with this? Replacing the smooth creamy taste of cocoa butter with vegetable oil? How stupid do you think we are? Don't you think we realize there is a lot more at stake here than our own wallets? Do you think we want to see our children growing up and eating inferior chocolate? By then, you'll probably be outsourcing the chocolate production to China; and Lord knows what they'll be slipping into our Reese's.

Hershey's, it is becoming apparent how little respect you have for the intelligence of your constituency. Oh, you didn't believe we would notice you were cheating us, did you? You just tried to keep us busy waving our pro-American-chocolate flags while you laughed all the way to the bank.

[But, look! What's this? The bank is closed. Because - whaddaya know! - those people were hypocrites, too, talking about how the business of America is business and how trickle-down economics benefits everyone and if we just kept shopping and buying homes and acting like good little consumers, everything would be all right. All while they turned our economy into one huge Ponzi scheme...way to go, big guys!]

You know what? Some of us are getting tired of having our patriotism thrown in our faces just to blind us to unacceptable chocolate manufacturing practices. Hershey's - stop taking advantage of our brand loyalty and give us our real chocolate back. It's a matter of trust.

And remember - Halloween is coming...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Remember The...What?

Yesterday I was assigning Brian a page in his American History workbook (this thing here, for 3rd - 5th grades) and I quickly read the assignment first. It was 4 or 5 easy paragraphs on the history of Texas. And I didn't know it. Any of it. Texas belonged to Mexico? Texas was its own independent country at one time? Our taking Texas into the Union precipitated a war with Mexico? Well, knock me over with a feather...

Have I mentioned that I took AP American History in high school? And that I earned a BA in history at a prestigious university? Yeah. Pretty scary, huh?

Homeschooling - it's not just for kids anymore.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

As The Food Turns

[If you don't understand why I am showing you pictures of moldy food, please read the post that explains it all. After you read it, you still might not understand why I'm doing this (my husband sure doesn't); but at least you can say you tried.]

It's Wednesday! No, it's Thursday! I went to sleep early last night and never got around to posting. So, sue me. Here is the list of discarded refrigerator items:

1. A small amount of just-expired cole slaw (it would have been a lot more, but I foisted some off on a neighbor yesterday in order to avoid being humiliated today)

2. 2 baby red potatoes which were cooked to perfection in a pot of salted water. I have no idea why these were left over.

3. 1 1/2 egg sandwiches (yes, the tradition continues) (click on that, or you won't be in on the joke, and then all the other kids will laugh at you)

4. One Nalgene bottle (I know they are carcinogenic, leave me alone) with the remnants of some parsley tea I brewed up when I still thought that I had gall stones. It's supposed to help. No, it doesn't taste good. It tastes like old parsley. A friend of mine swears that it got rid of her kidney stones. It's also a natural diuretic and an excellent source of vitamin C. Look at what someone can learn when they are self-medicating! Isn't that great?

5. One small plastic container with some abandoned hummus in it (another victim of American refrigerators being too deep)

6. Some dessicated dill weed, left over from our pickle-making experiment. We don't know how the pickles turned out, because they are still pickling. I'm considering putting the dill back in the fridge and letting it dry out more, and then saving it. Will that work?

7. A who-knows-how-many-days-old chicken salad sandwich (on a hotdog bun) that I had thriftily made up from the last of the chicken salad in the happy assumption that someone would eat it the next day. No one did. Really, anything I wrap in foil and put in the fridge is doomed; it would be way more efficient if I wrapped it carefully in foil and then tossed it in the trash.

It's a smaller list than usual this week, probably because Larry's away and I've been underfeeding the children. But they are still well-nourished enough to keep whining and bickering, so I should probably cut back on the food even more. Just to see if it helps. In the interest of science and all...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Laugh 2 Times And Call Me In The Morning

All right, I'm the first to admit that I look for the humor in any given situation; and I appreciate anything that makes me laugh about the current state of politics here in the USofA. Laughter is the best medicine, and all that...

But I hadn't realized I'd been, shall we say, overdosing on this skit until I heard 3-year-old Susie saying proudly to anyone who would listen, "I can see Russia from my house!" I'm just relieved she didn't pick up Hillary's line - "Grow a pair!" - instead.

Health news - the doctor called to say that, according to the lab tests she ordered, there is nothing wrong with me - no gallstones, no gangrene, nada. She was about to hang up, but I managed to delay her by saying, "Wait a sec - there is something wrong - I get sick when I eat fatty foods."

"Well, then you should continue to avoid them," she advised. (8 years of medical school for that?)

"But isn't something causing this problem?" I persisted.

"Oh, it's probably just age," she said airily before signing off.

So, it's not just my teenage son who thinks I've got one foot in the grave....

Monday, September 15, 2008

We're Not In Kansas Anymore

My oldest son Theo is currently studying Arabic; so I do my best to keep him apprised on happenings in the Arabic-speaking world. In keeping with this goal, I showed him this article the other day; it discusses a ruling by a Saudi judiciary official concerning the owners of TV networks which broadcast what was deemed "immoral content." I must confess, I was a little surprised when Theo burst out laughing.

"What's so funny?" I asked.

"That," he said, pointing.


"Yeah, where the guy says 'Those calling for corrupt beliefs, certainly it's permissible to kill them.'"

"That's funny?"

"Well, he's joking, right?"

"Actually, no."


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Strange Goings On

Okay, some of you are getting a little silly out there. In the comments to my post about my gall bladder (a scintillating read, to be sure), Heather boasted of the 207 gallstones that she had had removed from her body and put in a jar (under your pillow, Heather? Inquiring minds want to know). She offered to show a picture of these stones to any interested parties, and FeistyIrishWench (for reasons unknown to me) begged her to do so (still in my comments section - girls, next time you pass notes, you'll have to share them with the class). So now, if you go here, you all get to see Heather's gallstones.

Who says blogging isn't educational? I bet my fellow homeschoolers out there will be all over this.

In other disgusting news, I think the centipedes in our house are out to get me. I woke up this morning and they were everywhere. One dropped on my arm as I went to open Anna's door; the only upside to that unfortunate incident was that my horrified shrieking proved surprisingly effective in waking up a teenager. I'll have to add that method to my list.

On my arm - oh, I hate those creepy things!

Anyway, I looked back; and the last time we were similarly inundated with these unbelievably appalling creatures was 2 years ago, when Larry was away. And - would you believe it? - Larry just left yesterday on a business trip. They know.

And now I made the mistake of looking them up in Wikipedia - that link is not for the faint of heart. You all may be better off looking at Heather's gallstones.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The H Doesn't Stand For Healthy

In keeping with their plan to make my life go by at an ever increasing pace, my children are already talking about Halloween. Discussions about who is going to wear what costume, and what candy we should hand out, and how much candy they can keep have been rampant; and they take great pains to remind me of candy's importance to the holiday, probably because of the trauma I inflicted upon them about 10 Halloweens ago.

You see, that was the year I decided that home-baked whole-grain carrot muffins (in attractive Halloween-themed muffin papers) would be an excellent, homey addition to our nocturnal visitors' treat bags. So I baked ninety of them. Yup - ninety - I had the zeal of a crusader back then, bringing healthy holiday treats to the masses.

Now Larry, as you all probably know by now, is a wise man who knows better than to argue with his wife when she is on a mission. So when he spotted the bowl of attractively displayed muffins by the front door, he didn't say anything; but he headed out to the neighborhood grocery store. Returning with several bags of candy which he placed next to our healthy Halloween treats, he assured me, "These are just in case you, um, run out of muffins."

He had a good time that night, I remember. Every time kids came to our door and plunged their greedy little hands into those candy bags, he'd ask, "But don't you want a muffin?" They'd pause, startled, glance at the muffins, and decline. Many of them rolled their eyes. A few laughed derisively.

So, I get it now, all right? Nothing healthy. Heck, Halloween night, I don't even bother making dinner. Who would I be kidding? We eat candy all day, actually; like good athletes, we train for the big event.

Oh, and speaking of Halloween trauma - whoever at Michael's decided it was a great idea to put talking statues of a headless bride (what's up with that, anyway?) and a vampire near the front entrance to scare the bejebus out of my Susie? Thanks a whole lot! I don't know who you think your customer base is; but common sense might tell you that the people buying all those Foamies and sidewalk chalk and craft sticks just might be moms with young children - you know, young, as in unable to tell whether that scary thing at the entrance is real or not. Young, as in capable of screaming in terror the entire time their mother keeps them in the store. Young, as in innocent enough to be scarred for life by your stupid Halloween display that you think is a laugh riot.

Just needed to get that off my chest...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Let Me Tell You How I Really Feel

I took yesterday off. Because I knew if I typed anything, it would be, "Iraq has nothing to do with the War on Terror" over and over and over, in boldface.

And "Stop desecrating the memory of those who died on 9/11 by associating their sacrifice with the war in Iraq" in larger boldface.

And "How come no one is taking responsibility for the biggest foreign policy mistake in American history?" in the largest type of all.

I remember 9/11 all right: I remember the silence in that beautiful blue sky as all planes were grounded, a silence that reverberated with pain and anguish; I remember the funerals that went on for days and weeks; I remember wondering if any of us would ever laugh about anything ever again.

And I remember something else: all that godawful suffering and the fear that it engendered were cynically hijacked for political purposes by the neoconservatives in the current administration. That is what makes me feel sickest of all.

[I didn't feel all that was appropriate for yesterday. Today, however? Fair game.]

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

As The Food Turns

[A few newcomers were puzzled last week; if you don't understand why I am showing you pictures of moldy food, please read the post that explains it all. After you read it, you still might not understand why I'm doing this (my husband sure doesn't); but at least you can say you tried.]

It's Wednesday, the day of the week when Suburban Correspondent flings the doors of her refrigerator open wide and invites the entire world (or, at least, 300 people) to see what has gone bad in her refrigerator lately. It's like a train wreck, folks; you just can't help looking!

Here we go, friends - the throwaways this week. You'll see that we have a few of the regulars with us today - the sacrificial egg sandwich there on the right, the homemade salsa - along with some newcomers to the fold. On the left you see the usual assortment of Gladware (actually, a piece of Tupperware is on the bottom of that pile, a lone survivor from the days when I thought I could actually keep my fridge both organized and color-coordinated). The contents of the containers range from some cut-up homegrown tomatoes to orphaned spaghetti (does anyone else run out of meatballs and sauce before they run out of pasta?) topped by some pesto (homemade by David) gone bad. Hmmm...Pesto Gone Bad...maybe I'll send that to Dave Barry as a suggestion for the name of a rock band. I'm sure he's just dying to hear from me.

The big metal bowl center stage (with the rotting peach posing demurely in front of it) contains yet more homemade salsa (also made by David). Here's a close-up:

I assure you, 9 days ago it was simply delicious.

On the right, we have yet another stack of past-their-prime comestibles. Three watermelon slices are on the bottom. I remember considering forcing one of the children to eat them, even though everyone was full; because I knew if I put them back in the fridge, they were doomed. Alas, I ignored my instincts; and these innocent watermelon wedges died a slow, lingering death (along with the 8 cooked carrot rounds in the container above them). Oh, well, at least neither the carrots nor the watermelon suffered alone.

And on the top, of course, is our sacrificial egg sandwich of the week. Looks like Elijah still isn't hungry, folks!

[For you newcomers who are still puzzled as to why you are staring at someone's half-eaten lunch, let me tell you: you can blame the Germans.]

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


1. You would think, knowing how helpful knitters generally are, that someone, upon reading this post a couple of weeks ago, would have e-mailed me posthaste to warn me that, if I'm switching needles midway through a pair of socks, I might want to recheck my gauge on the new needles. But no, I heard nary a warning; so I've been happily knitting away to make a mate for the perfectly sized sock, the sock of my dreams, that I created on those accursed bamboo needles, enjoying the relative ease with which my new metal DPN's slide through my knitted loops, without even suspecting that I was careening toward a knitting disaster.

In short, the second sock is appreciably narrower than the first. I could leave it as is; but then every time I would wear it, I would be reminded, by the discomfort in my left foot, that a mistake had been made. Here I was fantasizing that I could become one of those knitters who actually manages to produce more than one item per year. Alas, that was all it was - a fantasy.

2. Last night, after approximately half an hour spent figuring out a)which photos are already in my Snapfish shopping cart, b)which photos have been edited but not placed in my cart, and c)which photos have been both edited and already purchased as prints - after all of that, I determined a devastating fact: I have not, in fact, edited a single photo from 2008. None. I remember editing a lot of photos somewhere in the first part of the year; but those photos were, in fact, from 2007. But only the last 4 months of 2007. I have no idea what is going on with the first 8 months there, either.

3. The trip today to my local library was once again humiliating. I picture them someday just snapping handcuffs on me in front of the children. No, I don't want to talk about it. But, damn, those fines add up fast.

I have to go now, to edit approximately 2800 photos (I am not indulging in hyperbole here) and to pull apart the sock I just about finished tonight. And, no, I didn't get around to calling the doctor, all right? I had a carpool to drive, and a library visit to make, and a sock to finish (sob). Tomorrow, though. There's always tomorrow.

Whew! Now I can't get that song out of my head. Nor the picture of the multiple Dutch Annies. That was too weird, don't you think?

Monday, September 08, 2008

My Mind's A Blank

[For those of you wandering over from Alice's Wonderland, the post concerning grown children and eating habits is right here.]

Okay, Feisty Irish Wench has handily convinced me to go to the doctor. How? By lobbing the word "gangrene" at my hypochondriac-al self yesterday in the comments. Yup, she regaled me with tales about her father's gangrenous gall bladder, which got that way because he refused to go to the doctor about his gall stones. I get the message, okay? I'm calling tomorrow for an appointment.

But I hope to goodness she was making all that up.

Oh, and many thanks to Julianne, who sent me this handy-dandy website about recycled elephant poop. Who knew? Next time someone gifts me with some pretty stationery made completely of recycled materials, I'll just have to wonder. I let Larry know about the recycled-dung products featured on the site and he exclaimed, "No sh*t!"

I guess I was asking for that.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Home Remedies (Geopolitical and Otherwise)

Today at the commissary I bought "recycled" tissues. Now I'm wondering what that means exactly. It sounds sort of gross, doesn't it?

Daisy felt that my spoof of Governor Palin using mom tactics to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was "...denigrating the Israeli homeland." I take issue with that. I was denigrating the Israelis; I was also denigrating the Palestinians. But I wasn't denigrating the Land of Israel and its Occupied Territories. Which happens to be the homeland not only for Jews but also for numerous Palestinians who stubbornly refuse to just go away. What's wrong with those people, anyway? Can't they take a hint?

[Warning: geopolitical discussion ahead - feel free to skip to the asterisks.]

I agree with Thomas Friedman's line of reasoning on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: the Israelis have avoided deciding on a real solution to the problem for over 40 years now, and they are paying the price. You see, in 1967 they had 3 choices:
  1. They could have kept Israel a democracy by granting all the Palestinians in the Territories equal rights and citizenship in the state, but then Israel would no longer have been a Jewish state.
  2. Or, they could have kept Israel a Jewish state and a democracy by not holding onto the Territories.
  3. Or, they could have kept the Territories and kept a Jewish state by not granting full citizenship rights to all those Palestinians. But that wouldn't be a true democracy, now would it? It would be what Jimmy Carter dared to call it: apartheid.
The Israeli government never made a real choice, as any of the solutions would have been politically unpopular with a large segment of the population; but it has slid towards number 3 up there. Anyone who wants a (much) better picture of the situation is invited to read Thomas Friedman's From Beirut to Jerusalem - it's a fun read, too, all about his adventures in Lebanon during its civil war.

So, Daisy, I'm going on like this to show you that I understand the gravity of the situation over there. But people (well, people like me, anyway) make jokes out of things that are just too upsetting to think about otherwise (library fines, for instance). Call that post wishful thinking on my part, okay? You wanna know my other solution to the Jerusalem issue? We should give the whole city to Disney. Imagine the fun biblically-themed rides and attractions! Because, really, I'm sick of the fighting.


Now, where was I? Oh, yes, recycled Kleenex. What's up with that, anyway? Next thing you know, they'll be recycling dog poop.

Larry is concerned about me because I'm drinking a quarter cup of lemon juice/olive oil twice a day in an attempt to get rid of gall stones. Every time he sees me downing my "cocktail," he starts muttering something along the lines of "We do have health insurance, you know."

Yeah, I know we do. But I have this irrational fear of being cut open, so I am going to persevere. And, hey, this whole gall stone experience is great for weight loss. I can't eat anything fatty without getting sick. Is that a perfect disease, or what?

[Sue, stop googling "gall stones." You don't have them. It's a disease for us old ladies in our 40's.]

I dragged Larry out on a date last night (he was tired, but I figure we'll get enough rest when we're dead, right?). We went to a local bookstore and looked up college costs and said, "Wow! That sucks!" As we headed back outside to the car, I pointed out the moon, which was a weird orange color. Larry said, "And it looks as though it were sliced in half!"

Um, yeah. Half moons look like that. Really, I don't think he gets out enough, do you?

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Ha, Ha, You Still Don't Know How I'm Voting (And Neither Do I)

I'm taking my time posting today, because I just don't think that any of you will be that excited about what I am excited about. Which is, I cleaned off one of my counters that has been covered with junk since I got back from vacation, oh, over 2 weeks ago. Namely, a 2-gallon drink cooler, a 1/2-bushel market basket, scads of gallon-size freezer bags that I keep meaning to reuse, assorted napkins and dishtowels that people insist on leaving there, 2 leftover loot bags from Rachel's party a month ago, and assorted other junk. And you know what? It was downright energizing! I felt empowered!

And now? The counter is covered again. But at least it's different stuff.

Time for a news round-up. First off, good news, fellow hypochondriacs! We've got even more to worry about! That irritating sore in your mouth that's been there a while? It might be cancer! That stiffness in my joints that I was chalking up to middle age? It might be cancer! Isn't that great?

Oh, and here's something interesting: someone named "Bush" is announcing some planned troop reductions. Bush? Bush who? I watched the Republican convention all Thursday night, and I don't remember hearing that name at all. And, in case any of you, like me, were confused as to what those protesters were yelling in the hall during Senator McCain's speech, it was "You can't win an occupation!" That would be correct. The Israelis have already learned that. Or, rather, are still learning that. Slowly. Painfully slowly. I hope we turn out to be faster learners.


Okay, I'll admit it - I've got a few problems with how people are acting lately. Governor Palin seems competent enough, intelligent enough, and she certainly gives the Republican ticket a more youthful air. But her fans? Good Lord, they scare me. For all you lovely ladies (and yes, it is the women) who are energetically defending your idol, CALM DOWN! Even if some of us like - admire, even - Governor Palin, we still may not vote for her ticket; either because we disagree on some issues or we feel someone else is more qualified in areas that are important to us. But this isn't a high school popularity contest, girls. You can't just take the people who disagree with your candidate behind the gym and beat them up. Verbally or otherwise. It makes you look bad.

Um, Governor Palin? That goes for you, too.

And, Republicans? Listen, all those people who aren't Republicans are still Americans. I know you don't like that fact, but there it is. Truly, your convention was an exhibit in fearmongering and "us v. them-ism" that was not appropriate for a candidate of the moral stature of John McCain. In other words, JOHN MCCAIN DESERVES BETTER than that show you put on last week.

But then again, he let you do it. So maybe he doesn't.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

True Love

I stayed up late to listen to McCain's speech (I'm an equal-opportunity convention watcher) with the kids, and now I must scurry off to bed before I walk into my kitchen and see something scurry across the floor. As I did last night. Which brings me to

Reasons I Love My Husband

  1. He always agrees to have "just one more" kid.
  2. He didn't drag me up to Maine over Labor Day weekend.
  3. He puts up with tripping over knitting bags and yarn stash in the bedroom.
  4. I spend all his money and he never complains.
  5. When woken at midnight by my decidedly female "Eeek!", he staggers out of bed and sets mousetraps in our kitchen.
  6. Before he goes to work, he empties said traps of whatever carcasses may lie therein.
If that's not love, what is?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

As The Food Turns

It's Wednesday! Time to clean out the refrigerator and start with a clean plate. I mean, slate. Whatever.

I'm not doing too badly, folks. I've been making my kids eat the leftovers more (not cooking helps to facilitate that), and it shows. Sort of. Still, despite my best efforts, on the right there we have 2 Gladware containers of leftover "enchilala duff." (Named by one of our toddlers, can't remember who...) That's black beans, corn, salsa, canned diced tomatoes, and tomato paste, all thrown together in a crock pot and then dished out in taco shells to a semi-appreciative crowd. These particular leftovers must have gotten lost behind something else; otherwise David would have finished them off in lieu of eating our normally carnivorous fare. They are accompanied in the leftover category by a small amount of pot roast (glass dish) that has passed its "eat by" date. Not too bad, not too bad...

Atop the roast is a jar of maraschino cherries a neighbor found in her cabinet and pawned off on me. (Believe me, when you have 6 kids, everyone brings you their extra food.) I love maraschino cherries, at least when I get one or two on top of a milkshake or ice cream sundae. But a whole jar? Not so much. They start tasting poisonous. What does "maraschino" mean, anyway? "Bad for you"?

Next to the cherries is a full container of margarine. I was about to use it when (luckily) Theo walked into the kitchen and pointed out to me that I had bought the kind he is allergic to. So I put the lid back on and jammed it into my black hole of a refrigerator, thinking I would give it to a neighbor when I had a minute to spare. By the time I rediscovered it, there was a hole burned in the lid by the refrigerator bulb (does this happen to anyone else? Please say yes), so I felt funny about giving it away. I mean, what would I say? "Here, have this margarine. Don't worry about that hole in the lid. I don't think any plastic melted onto the margarine itself. And margarine's sort of fake anyway."

On the left, this week's piece de resistance: 2 jars of salad dressing that I made for our 4th of July BBQ. One of these jars has already been featured twice in this blog - once when I first removed it from the refrigerator, and again when I discovered it on my counter 2 weeks later. It's the Rasputin of refrigerator discards. It will not die.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

It Takes A Mother...

Okay, I've been mulling all this over, and what I think happened is this: originally, the VP selection committee called me, you see; but I wasn't home. One of my teens must have taken the message, and of course I never got it. So the committee had to settle for Governor Palin, right?

But that's okay - Ms. Palin is way more photogenic than I am. How does she pull off that sexy schoolmarm look, anyway? Will someone tell me, please?

It does look as though the Republicans have figured out that to achieve, say, a settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, they don't need some politician who doesn't know squat about making people get along; they need, instead, someone who has spent at least 15 years forcing her children to coexist somewhat peaceably. I can picture Ms. Palin sitting down with those recalcitrant Middle Easterners now:

Ms. Palin: Okay, fellas, what seems to be the problem here?
Mahmoud Abbas: Well, they started it; they came in and took our land and...
Ehud Olmert: Liar! The UN said we could have it. They voted and everything!
Mahmoud Abbas: Oh, yeah? Well, they didn't say you could kick us out!
Ehud Olmert: We didn't kick you out - you ran away. Babies!
Ms. Palin: Boys! Boys! What's past is past. There seem to be several sticking points to negotiations here. Let's look at this Jerusalem issue. It seems you both want it, and you're not willing to share.
Mahmoud: We were sharing, but they took our piece!
Ehud: We took your piece because you were going to take our piece!
Mahmoud: Liar, liar, pants on fire!
Ms. Palin: It's clear that you two cannot get along. What we'll have to do is take turns. Mahmoud, I'm going to set this timer. You can have Jerusalem for, oh, 6 months; and then Ehud here can take the next 6 months.
Ehud: How come he gets it first?

All I can say, Ms. Palin, is that you have your work cut out for you. And, hon, if you do end up living in the Vice Presidential mansion, please refrain from dismissing your chef because you want to cook for your own family (as you did when Governor). It makes the rest of us women look bad, all right?

Or, you could send him to me - I'll be glad to cede my kitchen duties for 4 years. No problem.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Sock It To Me

I've been wondering why I can never find a matched pair of socks for Susie when I need it. Well, the mystery has been solved. I excavated her sock/underwear drawer and analyzed what I found - 2 lonely pairs (over there on the left) and 17 single socks: 6 pink, 4 purple, 3 green, 2 yellow, and 2 white (with lace cuffs). All completely different from each other.

Tell me, how is it possible for a 3-year-old child to already own more than a dozen mismatched socks? Where do the mates go? It is conundrums like this that eat away at my soul, bit by bit, until there is nothing left of me but a half-crazed woman roaming the aisles at Target, searching fruitlessly for a pack of all-white little girl socks.

Fruitlessly, I say, because you cannot buy a whole bunch of socks in the same color. You have to buy them in packages of 6, and heaven forbid that you should be able to find a package that has less than 4 different colors in it. So you buy the assorted colors, and when some socks disappear, you think, "Ha, ha - I'm no dummy. I'll go back and buy another pack of the same kind, and then I'll have spares!"

Well, that's what I think, anyway. I know, I'm so clever. So I go back to Target and buy another pack and I bring it home and discover that the socks are not precisely the same kind as the socks I bought previously, because the evil sock manufacturers change the design every 6 weeks or so. Just to make me crazy.

Yes, that's right - while some women can manage to raise 5 children while governing an entire state, I cannot even manage to dress my kids in socks that match. Which probably explains why no one has asked me to be Vice President...