Friday, July 31, 2009

7 Quick Takes (Again! Already!)

  1. I just taught Rachel and her friend how to crochet. I know, I am amazing. So, now, if you'll excuse me, I'll spend the rest of the day in my bedroom closet, hiding from the children and blogging on my laptop.
  2. One of these days I should figure out how to file self-employment tax forms. Say, before the nice gentleman from the IRS shows up at my door...
  3. My (self-employed) neighbor says I can deduct mileage for getting to Starbucks. So now I"m wondering if the cinnamon coffee cake is deductible as "office expenses."
  4. Using the word "deductible" makes me feel very grown-up.
  5. Stick around for #7 - you won't regret it.
  6. I figured out how to stick that "7 Quick Takes" icon (or whatever you call it) into this blog post. I feel very good about that. Even if it is too tiny.
  7. Best for last - solutions to the problem of health care reform - enjoy!
    The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
    You're Welcome - Health Care Reform
    Daily Show
    Full Episodes
    Political HumorJoke of the Day

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Karma's A B*tch

I've become one of those Starbucks dwellers, hunched over my laptop, making money.  I love it.  For years I've wondered what people were doing sitting in Starbucks with their laptops on.  I thought they were just showing off that they had a laptop.  Really. 

But now - I know!  They were getting the heck out of the house so that they could get some work done.  And then they were wasting some of that precious time blogging, because why not?  And they were eating yummy cinnamon coffee cake because they felt obligated to buy something to pay for hogging an entire table with their precious laptop all evening.

I have met the enemy, and he is me.

Tonight, however, there was a snake in Paradise.  I had just sat down and plugged in when the mother at the table next to me took out a book.  Not just any book, mind you - but a Berenstain Bears Go To Camp book.  And then - horrors! - she proceeded to read it out loud to her son.

Yes.  Right there in Starbucks.  Tell me, people, have I not suffered enough?  Have I not spent the better part of 2 decades being forced to read these books over and over?  Why - when I have at long last thrown off the traces and escaped to my little coffee shop world of laptops and cinnamon cake - why should I be haunted by the Berenstain Bears?  Is it my fate? 

(At this point, a picture of Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein flits through my brain - you know, the scene where he is tossing and turning in bed, chanting, "Destiny! Destiny! There's no escaping Destiny!"  Alas, no YouTube video available...)

Apparently there is no escape.  I am but the plaything of fate, led on by the illusion of free will...and the mirage of grown-up time at Starbucks...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Health Care Reform's Hidden Chocolate Agenda

Well! Anyone seen this? For those of you who refuse to click, that link leads to a BBC article headlined "Calls To Downsize Chocolate Bars."

What?! Slow down, people! Let's not do anything we might regret later, okay? I mean, I'm all for good health and everything; but from reading this article you'd think chocolate were merely a candy.

Candy? I think not. Chocolate is medicinal. So why are those Europeans trying to lower the dose? And doesn't Obama realize that his infernal plan for health reform may put those of us here in America on this same slippery slope to chocolate restriction? I predict that, if health reform passes, you won't be able to get any chocolate without a prescription. And even that chocolate will be a generic. Tell me, is that progress?

And don't try to change the subject with all that talk about universal coverage and pre-existing conditions and affordability. That's all a smokescreen for what is really going on here - an attempt to socialize our chocolate consumption. Oh, sure, at first it will be all about making sure that everyone can see a doctor, regardless of income level or physical condition; and maybe Obama will even be radical enough to insist that everyone have decent dental care. (I know! I know! He's a madman!) But before you know it, those socialist government nannies will be telling your children to rat you out for that 1-pound Hershey bar (with almonds) in your cabinet. Give these people an inch, and they'll take a mile. Preposterous, you say? Well, it's happening right now in Europe. They're trying to limit the chocolate intake.

They came for all the European chocolate-eaters, and I did nothing...because I wasn't a European....They came for all the Canadian chocolate-eaters, and I did nothing...because I wasn't a Canadian...My fellow Americans, will you remain silent? We're next! A government big enough to give you affordable health care is big enough to take away your chocolate.

Call your Senators and Representative today and say, "We're on to you, you Socialist snakes-in-the-grass! Forget about assuring everyone in America affordable health care, because equal opportunity is not what America is all about. America is all about choice, and I choose to not have my chocolate rationed." And when they ask you to explain, just laugh maniacally and say, "Oh, like you don't know what I'm talking about! Why don't you just ask your comrades in Europe about their Mars bars, eh?" and hang up. I guarantee you will make quite an impression.

Phone the White House, too, while you're at it. They love those sort of calls.

[Man eating giant chocolate bar photo courtesy of]

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Hostess With The Mostest

I don't know how anyone else gets ready to host Bunko; but the only way I can do it is by feeding my children copious amounts of the fun food they see me preparing for guests, and then neglecting to give the poor dears a real dinner (because I wouldn't have time to clean it up). So, yes, my children will be sitting down late this afternoon to a fine snack of peach cobbler a la mode, accompanied by a side of potato chips and dip, followed by a dessert course consisting of peanut M&M's and mini Snickers bars. Then (because Larry will be out working) the kiddies will be relegated to the basement for the evening to watch TV while I entertain my guests.

Not quite child abuse, but I think I'm walking a fine line here...


So much to say, so little time...but if you need to engage in typical American handwringing over issues that shouldn't be issues at all, go on over to the NY Times parenting blog Motherlode and read about the angst over birth order. I swear, if I worried about all the things that the folks over at Motherlode say I should worry about, I'd be a neurotic mess.

I do think whoever writes that blog (and its readers) need a good dose of Idle Parenting, don't you?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Playing Favorites

Larry came into the bedroom at 7 o'clock this morning and woke me saying, "Don't you need to get up to go to the Farmers' Market?" Whereupon Susie - who, yes, still climbs into our bed every single night even though she is 4 and no, I don't think this habit is going to keep her from growing up and being independent although I sure wish she would stop kicking me in the kidneys while I sleep....

I digress. Susie opened her eyes and said, "You let Mommy get up when she wants!"

Who's Mommy's new favorite, hmmmm?

Friday, July 24, 2009

7 Quick Takes (Why Not?)

  1. I don't care if I have become a BlogHer Ads minion - if I read one more post about all the fun everyone is having out there in Chicago right now, I'm not going to be responsible for what happens.
  2. I know I've mentioned before how teens make us feel ancient, etc. But really? Nothing drives home the fact that you are middle-aged like visiting your child's college-to-be on Open House Day. On the one hand you are strolling across a college campus, channeling your younger self and recalling all the fun you had at school; on the other hand, you are noticing all the other parents there with their teens and thinking, "Boy, do they look old!" And then, reality smacks you in the face - they look like you.
  3. Parents, when your grown children make an effort to call you every other day because you have complained about not hearing from them on a regular basis? Do not spend half the phone time complaining that they are not visiting you enough. It's just not smart.
  4. Today, we had to drive 90 minutes to get to Theo's college and 90 minutes back. It was hell. We are supposed to drive 13 hours next week to get to our vacation destination. If you hear about some children being abandoned on the NJ Turnpike sometime in early August, you'll know why.
  5. Last night Larry managed to talk on the phone with the nice man who has half our vacation money. He assured us that our cottage up North was still awaiting us and instructed us to send the other half of the rent. Should we be worried that the mailing address he gave us is in Mexico?
  6. Ha - just kidding on that last one - but I would prefer to give him the rest of the money once we get there.
  7. So much for assuming that that Cambridge cop was a bigoted idiot [for those of you too lazy to click, that article is headlined, "Crowley Teaches Racial Profiling Class At Academy"]...If the Cambridge police department owes Professor Gates an apology for handcuffing him and fingerprinting him, Professor Gates owes them an apology for verbally abusing Sgt. Crowley, an officer in uniform who was trying to do his job.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lawyers, Drugs, and Money

What can I say? I've been spending my day opining all over the blogosphere and Facebook that when a police officer asks for your ID, you show it to him without arguing. I believe that any guy, black or white, who starts yelling at a cop will most likely end up arrested. Maybe we should stop the knee-jerk liberalism already, what with seeing racism behind every interaction between the law and an African-American. It's as bad as my right-wing friends who espy socialism or totalitarianism or both, for heaven's sake, lurking behind every single government program.

And I like Gates's writing, dammit. I just think he was jetlagged and went off the deep end.

Anyway, here are two (opposing) views on the situation, one that disagrees with me and another that takes my point of view. I think they both have their merits.


What is it with the Internet that makes me want to spout opinions? I don't know.


Theo had all his wisdom teeth removed this morning. Larry brought him home still woozy from all the drugs, which was sort of scary and sort of cute all at the same time. As he sat on the couch with his ice packs, he asked, "Where's Dad?"

And I'd tell him, "He went to the pharmacy to get your painkillers."

And he'd say, "Oh."

5 minutes later, puzzled, he'd ask again, "Where's Dad?"

"He went to the pharmacy to get your painkillers."


That went on for about an hour until the sedatives wore off. Maybe if I got some of that stuff for Anna, she'd be more pleasant?


I was worried (more than usual) about David this summer - according to him, he'd read "everything" (that statement might just be true, actually); and he was B-O-R-E-D bored. Once he came back from his one-week Boy Scout camp, I rather desperately searched the Internet for another affordable camp (none), badgered him to take tennis lessons (no dice), and fretted to Larry that July would be intolerable with David sitting around and staring at the wall.

Ha! The joke's on me - the boy discovered solitaire, which makes him perfectly happy. Good thing I didn't have any money to throw at that problem, eh?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Couple Of Questions...

I don't know where the children are, and I don't care. I can't seem to get enough of the quiet, you know? I'm going to end up in a padded room.

Marriage question: If your husband goes out and buys himself an MP3 player and figures out how to use it all on his own, including (but not limited to) how to download podcasts from that a midlife crisis type of thing?

What's the big deal, you ask? Understand that Larry still can't figure out how to access our voicemail. He can't find the phonebook on his cellphone. I think even the toaster puzzles him a bit. So what's up with the MP3 player, huh? And why didn't he get me one?

Vacation question: We're going on a long-planned trip in a couple of weeks, a real trip where we stay in a fully furnished cottage that we rented (over the Internet) months ago. No bunking down with long-suffering relatives, no "let's go camping, that's more fun!" prevarications - an honest-to-goodness vacation is going to happen to us, where we will spend at least as much time at the destination as we spend in the car. Exciting, right?

So! If the very nice-sounding person that we sent mucho money to for a deposit last January (before we needed the new car, but let's not think about that) hasn't answered our e-mails for the past week, he's just busy, right? He's busy fluffing the pillows and cleaning the sofas and generally making sure we get our money's worth out of this vacation cottage - that's why he doesn't have time to communicate and reassure us that, yes, he is still in the country.

Or this is a scam and all those pretty pictures on the Internet represent some cottage that does not belong to him the way, say, half our vacation money now does. That is another possibility. What do you think?

You know, I have really been looking forward to this vacation; unlike last year, this year I have a nifty laptop I can sneak into my luggage so that I don't have to be deprived of blogging while away from home.

(I know, I know, let's not think about what's so wrong with this whole situation, all right? I have a problem, I admit it. Now go away.)

But I just checked and there is no AT&T wireless access where we are going. Now what am I supposed to do? I'm betting holding up a wire coat hanger in the air above my laptop doesn't facilitate Internet reception, does it? How about bunny ears?

You young 'uns who don't know what I'm talking about - here's a picture. We old folks used to place these contraptions on top of our television sets (the sets weren't flat back then, so you could put stuff on top of them) in order to improve the picture on the screen. No, we didn't understand how that worked, either. But it did.

And if the picture were still fuzzy, we would put tinfoil on the tips of the "ears." I have no idea why. And if that particular technological innovation failed to work, someone would have to lift up the bunny ears (complete with tinfoil) and wave them around until the fuzziness went away, at which point everyone else would shout, "That's it! Stand still!"

At least, that's what happened in our house. Kids today don't know how good they've got it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Knitting and World Peace

[Welcome, Women's Colony readers! Feel free to hang out and look around. Just don't get on my case about the myriad unfinished knitting projects strewn around, or my lax parenting habits, or my predilection for writing about vomit. We all have our little idiosyncrasies...]

Shhh, I'm working. Larry even took the younger kids out so that I could concentrate. Has anyone else noticed that immediate feeling of relaxation that comes over you when everyone else leaves the house? Aaaahhhhh.....

Somehow, I don't think I'm going to have any problems whatsoever with empty-nest syndrome.

Well, I had a neat article to point you to (but I can't find it), all about whether mommy bloggers are becoming corporate sellouts. You never have to worry about that here, of course, because no one wants to buy me. I'm sell-out proof! Although I can't imagine why I don't have refrigerator and dishwasher companies banging on my (cyber)door.

[Why, yes, I am still washing dishes for our family of 8 by hand....funny you should mention it...]

Actually, ebeanstalk wanted my review services. But considering that they hawk "expert-selected learning toys" on their website and publish articles fretting over the proper play experiences for 2-year-olds, I didn't think I would be a good fit. In my view, the proper play experience for a 2-year-old is the pots-and-pans cabinet. Throw in a few wooden spoons and you're set!

There - free kid advice. The blogosphere doesn't get any better than that.


Now, I know there has been a lot in the news about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and about sectarian violence in Iraq, and also about that pesky Pakistan/Taliban thing. But, in focusing on these internecine squabbles all over the world, we run the risk of overlooking serious partisan fighting in our own backyards, the kind that can occur between rival gangs of knitters (Needles) and crocheters (Hooks). My knitting friends, please click on that last link to a YouTube video - you will not regret it.

Now. Click now. Really. I think you all need to hear this young crocheter broach the difficult subject of coming out to her knitting family. We can't shove these difficult problems under the rug anymore, people. The burden of shame this young lady is under will make you weep.

And then, knitters, I ask you - in the interests of world peace - to reach out and befriend one of those poor granny-square-making crocheters who just cannot handle working with 2 needles at once. Together, we can make a difference.


Baby Surprise Jacket? What Baby Surprise Jacket?

And, speaking of knitting (I mean, we were speaking of knitting, weren't we?), I have the second wool sock of a pair finished - all except the Kitchener grafting for the toe. And therein lies my dilemma. You see, all this past spring, as I hurried (hurried being a relative term when it comes to my knitting speed) to finish the sock, the weather remained cool - cool enough, in fact, to wear a pair of wool socks (if I should ever, um, complete them).

The weather was teasing me, you see. I knew, in my heart of hearts, that the minute I finished Kitchenering the toe of that second sock, the mercury would shoot up and the air would become laden with enough warm moisture to make the outdoors one big terrarium (as is its wont around here in summer).

So, I never completed the toe. And, wouldn't you know? We have had the most unseasonably cool, comfortable, low-humidity summer that our area has ever seen. I take full credit.

And now I'm scared to finish that darn sock. I can't help thinking that my knitting procrastination is all that stands between my immediate geographic area and the worst heat wave ever experienced by man. I am carrying the weight of the world on my (size zero) knitting needles.

You're welcome.

[I am having major troubles with font colors in this post - I don't know why.]

Friday, July 17, 2009

As The Food Turns: Nature's Bounty

Where the heck have I been?

We all know what is due here - a refrigerator clean-out post. But I kept putting it off. The refrigerator had gotten to the point where we almost couldn't use it - every time we tried to take something from it, a zillion other things would fall out. We'd shove those back in, thus making everything else fall out.

Look, if you don't understand that last sentence, go read some other blog, will ya? We don't need your kind around here.

Anyway, today I decided that if we could land a man on the moon (um, 40 years ago), I should be able to clean the old stuff out of my refrigerator. I made the kids leave the kitchen (I knew it was going to be ugly) and dove in. It wasn't too bad, once I started (I mean, by my standards - Jenn, I really advise you to leave, if you haven't already).

As we can see from the picture below at the right, it's high summer, the season of produce! Really, I don't even know where to start describing nature's bounty here. How about back row, from the left:
  1. baggie with moldering scallion tips - meant to plant these in a pot outside on the deck
  2. a container that says potato salad - It's lying! There's homemade cole slaw in there. I didn't open it, because I figured something frightening would happen, like in that scene at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  3. grapefruit - I rescued this grapefruit from my neighbor's refrigerator to keep it from going bad during her European vacation. It went bad in my fridge instead. At least it wasn't lonely...
  4. Directly behind the grapefruit is a cucumber, standing straight up on its non-mushy end. Why, yes, I am proud of that bit of photography - it took me a while to set it up. All you wildlife photographers, move over! I've got the produce covered.
  5. a stack of baby carrots, grape tomatoes, and two withered senior citizen carrots - all casualties of our too-deep American refrigerators
  6. one red bell pepper - I do not remember buying this; I'm thinking other people are leaving their ruined produce in my refrigerator.
Front row, right to left -
  1. a bag of sugar snap peas from our town's farmers' market - my motto is "Buy Local, Waste Local."
  2. 2 more senior citizen carrots - not withered, but sprouting those white whiskers all over
  3. ah, the piece de resistance! It's an almost completely liquefied baby squash garnished with loose onion skins - I found it on the bottom of the produce drawer. (Warning! Do not enlarge this photo, especially if you have eaten recently.) And, folks, please don't try this sort of project at home - it requires time, and patience, and a knack for procrastination that takes years to develop.

So, how about a more cheerful picture? A picture, say, of one of my freshly cleaned-out produce drawers filled with my future victims? See? Over there to the right? Veggies check in, but they don't check out!

Note the empty produce drawer to the left - it still has remnants of liquefied squash and onion peels in it, because I couldn't properly scrub it without removing it from the refrigerator. But the last time I tried to remove that drawer, I ended up hurting my neck. Really. Just another example of how dangerous housework can be to your health...

Coming next week! A Condiment Retrospective!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Politics - Now Playing In A Senate Chamber Near You!

Too, too tired to be coherent this evening. I'm going to crawl between my cozy sheets and try to sleep - that is, if my clogged sinuses, stuffed-up nose, and PMS headache don't keep me up.

Yeah, it's one of those days. I made it worse by listening to snippets of the Senate grilling Sotomayor today. All I can say is, I'm glad those Republican senators are trying to make sure we don't get some emotional Hispanic female on the Supreme Court - let's just stick with the white guys, because we all know white guys don't have any biases of their own.

I told you I was cranky. Here, this guy says it better. And The New Yorker last month took pains to remind us that the quest for diversity on the Court, far from being a sort of late-20th-century liberal gerrymandering, has a long history, with the definition of diversity changing as our society has changed.

[That last link is a good read, folks - a balanced assessment of what Sotomayor has done and might do, with a lot of historical perspective thrown in...don't miss it!]

Something funny tomorrow, I promise - or else a long-overdue fridge post...

Monday, July 13, 2009

When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth

Blog post ideas flit through my overactive brain all day, but I tend to forget them by the time I sit down to write. So this morning I thought, "No problem! I'll just jot down some key phrases when I get an idea, and I'll expand on them later. No more forgetting!"

So now I'm sitting here at 11:30 PM, wondering what brilliant thoughts I had this morning involving "rocket science." Rocket science? Sounds like a laugh riot, whatever it was...

Anywhoo, Theo asked me last night to make sure he was awake and at the computer before 8 AM this morning; today was the day for him to sign up for his fall semester college courses.

"Online?" I asked. "Wow - how cool is that!"
"How did you sign up for classes?" he asked.
"Well, let's see...I guess we all got into our covered wagons and drove up to the big assembly hall and stood in line."
"In line?"
"Yes, because there was no online."
(Puzzled look) "But, how did that work?"
"I can't remember, really. I'm thinking there was a table for each academic department; so to sign up for an English course, I would stand in the line for the English table. The guy at the table would write down my name..."
"On paper?!"
"Yes! Paper! He'd write down my name by the class I wanted, and then I would stand in the line at the Mathematics table, say..."

"You stood in 5 different lines?"
(Getting a tad defensive) "It was fun! To pass the time, I'd chat with the people next to me in line ."
"Perfect strangers? Why?"
"Well, no one had cellphones, so we couldn't talk to people who weren't right there."
"We were happy, dammit! I mean, in a pre-technological sort of way..."
(Shaking head) "I don't understand how you managed back then."

I don't know - how did we manage?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The End Of An Era

How about if I feature some fantastic posts written by others for a change, rather than just hyperlinking selfishly to my own past scribblings? Wouldn't that be refreshing? A relief, even?

Hats off to Beck for writing that dieting is not a moral issue! We are all fallen sinners, no matter what we eat; so please do not be a sanctimonious diet snob.

And thank you, Veronica, for giving me my laugh for today with your method of determining whether certain items of clothing should remain in your drawers. Car accident, indeed! You are a woman after my own worst-case-scenario heart! And you are right - life is too short to wash clothes that you hate.

There! That was a sneaky way to get out of writing a blog post of my own. I need to go and see if the child I hear screaming is my own. I think mine are asleep. It may be a neighbor's child. That would be a nice change, wouldn't it? I know my neighbors all think I beat mine regularly, to judge from the amount of caterwauling that emanates from our house at all hours of the day and night.

But, before I go, I need to mention that I have missed a very important anniversary here at The More, The Messier. I don't know if any of you have noticed, but as of 11 PM on July 4th, a milestone was reached.

This household had been vomitless for a full year.

Let me elaborate -

Since Brian's unfortunate overconsumption of cherry pie and his subsequent regurgitation of same on 4 July 2008, no one in this house has puked,

or vomited,

or barfed,

or tossed his/her cookies for
365 days.

That, my friends, is a record. And here it is, over a week later, and the streak is unbroken. Could it be that the vomit years have ended? Might we be able to live like normal families, without stashes of ginger ale and saltines ever at the ready?

I'm thinking I should gather all the puke-filled posts under one tab up there at the top of the main page; it would be a sort of vomit retrospective, to be used in those silly "What To Expect As Parents" classes that never tell you what things will really be like with kids. Until now....

Or the posts could be used as a sort of "Scared Straight" for sexually active teens...

There's got to be some use for them - I'd hate to see all our suffering be for naught.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bloggers - Now In 3D!

Some folks go to horror movies to get their chills and thrills. Me? I just read articles like this one. The thought of crawling multitudes (especially ones I can't see) supply me with that same frisson of terror that other folks get from checking out the latest Stephen King flick. I don't know why I torture myself this way; but it's like a train wreck, I've just got to look. Whether it's infestations of bedbugs in homes across the nation or giant colonies of ants taking over the world, the lure of the entomologically horrible is irresistible to me.

And those magnified pictures! I mean, who doesn't feel the urge to see an ant 100 times its normal size? Who wouldn't want to feast their eyes on all the particulars of a comely bedbug?

Did you click on that last one? You really shouldn't have. I mean, I wish I hadn't.

I met a bunch of local bloggers last night and was reminded once again that I was born 2 decades too late [edited to add: "late" as in "early" - 2 decades too early - zee English, she is confusing, no?]. If only I were 20 years younger, I could simply go into my Blogger template and "switch stuff around." I mean, that's what MomBabe of the Bingham Diaries says she does...

(and, no, I'm not just jealous of her because she looks waaaay more put-together than any mother of 4 kids - 5 and under - ever should look)...

So what's up with that? Are people 29 and younger born with an HTML gene?

Alice of Alice's Wonderland made us laugh over her latest encounter with loser guys at a bar (which account made me sort of grateful I'm not 20 years younger); kcinnova (the organizer of this shindig) looks taller than she sounds in her blog, but I got over that; we had a blogger show up from Chicago who was here because "she felt like it"; and another one (MomBabe's sister Meredith) from Arizona. What a cosmopolitan group!

No one there (aside from kcinnova) had read my blog; so kcinnova was reduced to introducing me with, "She writes about vomit!" (Only, she said it without the hyperlink) To say that the blogger from Chicago looked a tad taken aback would be an understatement.

You know, I never pictured my essays on regurgitation being my claim to fame.

Jackie of Moving at the Speed of Life said, "Oh, The More The Messier! That's your blog? I've seen it!" and left it at that, apparently being polite enough to follow the dictum "If you can't say something nice..." For some reason we had 2 Danish speakers (Jackie and another blogger Rachel) at our table, which seemed odd for a party of 10; last I checked, less than 20 percent of our population speaks any foreign language at all, let alone a language named after a pastry. So we ended up discussing Danes, and their antipathy for Swedes (it's mutual); we also learned about the low divorce rate in Denmark. See? Blogging is educational.

I'm leaving people out, I know I am. Oh, yes, there was Hannah, who blogs here. Her blog profile picture does not do her justice. Change it, Hannah! And there was Annie, of AnnieOatmeal (which blog name I really love). If it weren't for those interlopers from Chicago and Arizona, Annie would have earned the distinction of traveling the furthest for our humble get-together. I hope she found it worth it. I hardly think she drove all that way to hear more vomit stories, that's for sure. So we chatted about teen girls instead.


I'm having another of those hot flashes that make my fingers sweat all over the keyboard. Plus, my family needs me. So I'm signing off. Good night! Sleep tight! Don't let the bedbugs bite!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sweet Justice

I know! I haven't announced the Appliance Poetry Slam winner yet! Mostly because I cannot figure out how to get a picture of the poll results pasted into my post. Also? I haven't thought of a prize yet. Give me a couple of days, all right? I'm not good at this sort of thing, the way the Big Dogs of mommy blogging are.

The head cold from hell is still here. I run around for an hour or so cooking, doing dishes, cleaning up; then I fall onto the couch and languish until I'm able to get back up again. My kids don't even notice. To them, I'm so old I'm almost dead anyway, right?

But before I put the other foot in the grave, I would like to share with the other mothers of teen girls out there an infrequent moment of sweet justice. You will recall the illuminating discussion I had with Anna about dental hygiene as she was packing for her European vacation. You know, the discussion during which she claimed not to need to floss?

Well, Anna had her biannual (biennial?) dental appointment yesterday. And when the dentist (who was, by the way, young and good-looking and therefore sure to be listened to by an enamored teen girl) looked at her x-rays, he said, "You know, there are weak spots here between the teeth that could turn into decay - you really have to pay attention to the flossing."

Be still my heart! I could have kissed him.

By the way, I was sure at least one commenter the other day would come up with a good (clean!) answer for "How many teen girls does it take to screw in a lightbulb?" The answer in our household was one, plus a teen brother. Yup, Theo had to help her out in the end - he said she had the bulb screwed in wrong. I didn't even know that was possible.

And for anyone who thinks I'm being mean by advertising Anna's ineptitude in this matter, let me explain that she prides herself on acting clueless. This affectation of ditziness extends to all areas of her life, from math (which she is actually quite good at, making her vapidity all the more puzzling) to the proper way to put on her seatbelt. Considering that, when I was a teen, I prided myself on being smarter than smart (because, let's face it, at that point in my life my SAT scores were all I had going for me), I can't help being puzzled by her wanting to appear as brainless as a Playboy Bunny.

Just part of that adolescent brain-drain, I suppose...

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Return To Status Quo

Well, now you know - I'm one of those women who, once they start rearranging the furniture, just cannot stop. I think Dawn is regretting ever offering to help me freshen up my blog, poor woman. So now we're back to one sidebar (I thought 2 looked too busy) with tabs along the top. I thought tabs weren't possible in Blogger, but Dawn figured it out for me. I'll be putting more stuff up there as soon as I can get these pesky children to stop bothering me.

Summer, thy name is whining. And bickering. I think I'll have to refresh my memory on how to amuse these kids by reading this post.

Things are back to normal with Anna. I never mentioned that, in her hurry to catch her plane last month, her room was left looking as if a tornado had torn through it. When she got back, I told her to clean it up. She looked exasperated each time I pointed out that her room still needed attention. Who cares if there's trash on the floor, clothes everywhere, and dust bunnies the size of a schnauzer under the bed? I mean, she already picked some stuff up yesterday. She's busy. Is it her fault there's still more to do?

Well, I'm happy to announce that today it got all cleaned up. You can eat off her floor (although I wouldn't advise it). Was it the end of the jetlag? A sudden flash of empathy and appreciation for her devoted mother? Perhaps, even, a new-found desire not to live in a dump?

Ha, ha, ha - you mothers of teens know that the answer is "none of the above." This morning I threatened to take her door away if the room weren't spotless. Sometimes a little motivation works wonders.


Okay, Susie is sitting on the couch, singing forlornly to herself. And the other kids are banging on the (locked) door and demanding popsicles. Time to get back to work...

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

When The Moon Hits Your Eye Like A Big Pizza Pie...

Okay. I think this cold from hell is finally breathing its last. And Anna is back from her Continental sojourn, full of new career plans. "Lisa and I are going to study Italian so we can go back to Italy and work as waitresses!" she announced. In fact, she's already learned an important phrase - bella carissima, to be exact.

And let's not even discuss the Italian casanova who made her a heart-shaped pizza...I'd hate to think what would have happened on an unchaperoned trip. Just remind me not to waste money on SAT's, okay?

after what just transpired here, as I sat at my computer desk:

Anna: Where's Theo?
Me: He's out running. Why?
Anna: The bathroom light is out.
Me: You can reach that. Change the lightbulb yourself.
Anna: I don't know how.

I told her to go figure it out. Think of it as a valuable life skills learning experience. In fact, I think I'll add it to our "Getting A Clue" course list as Suburban Survival 101.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

AWOL Appliance Poetry

I completely forgot to include Mrs. Ohtobe's truly excellent contributions to our poetry slam. Her exclusion could render the results of this contest null and void (I'd hate to be sued). Check it out:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a dishwasher full of dirty dishes, will break down at the most inopportune time.

From: Grime & Prejudice


How about a little Poe?

Once upon a midnight dreary
Dinner's done and I am weary
Load the glasses then the plates
Silverware is in, the pots: they can wait
I shut the door and press the button
But that dang thing, it ain't a runnin'
From deep inside there is a clanking, clanking
And my head I begin a banging, banging
Run the dishwasher? Nevermore.

I'm feeling marginally better today, but not well enough to be coherent. Back tomorrow with the final (if questionable) results from our appliance poetry slam and other unrelated thoughts about illness, mortality, and that pesky " in sickness and in health" item in the wedding vows....

Friday, July 03, 2009

In Which It Feels That My Head Will Explode

Once upon a time there was a blogger (that would me) who, over the course of 17 years of childbirthing and nursing, was sick a lot of the time. Every cold, every flu, every everything had her family's name on it; and she suffered right along with the rest of them. An unseemly number of blog posts regaled her readers with details of the latest pestilence to strike her apparently immune-suppressed household. Vomit was her middle name.

Then, lo and behold, the milk dried up. And she didn't get sick for 8 whole months. Oh, there was that one Saturday she had to lie down for a few hours because she felt a bit under the weather; but, really, no Sudafed, no Tylenol, no anything medicinal was required for over half a year. Amazing! Unbelievable!

While other members of the household stubbornly persisted in their illness-catching ways, she remained untouchable - it was as if her body had forgotten how to get sick. Things progressed to the point where it puzzled her how the others could pick up all those nasty colds and fevers - what was their problem, anyway? Honking their noses and coughing all the time....sheesh!

Oh, but she was the picture of health!

And now? Because of one traitorous kiss, her sound constitution lies in ruins. She has the head cold to end all head colds, finishing up its 3rd day (so far). It's the kind of head cold where her head hurts so much that she can't sleep, and the lack of sleep makes her head hurt more - a vicious cycle. It's the kind of head cold, in fact, that makes her wonder just what is the point of living, really? And how can people stand being sick?

So y'all will excuse her if she doesn't post this evening. Maybe you'll even excuse her for this weird 3rd-person thing she's got going on here - it must be some sort of out-of-body experience that helps her escape the pain. But you won't excuse her if she keeps whining like this, so she's going to call it quits for now.

PS That first hyperlink up there? Is for the entire month of December was that bad.

PPS I think I overdosed on the Sudafed again - will you grant a poor Blogger's dying wish and vote for your favorite poem in our first-ever appliance poetry slam? Thanks.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Coming Attractions

I'm leaving the appliance poetry poll (left sidebar) up over the weekend, because one of the contestants went and asked all her blog readers to vote for her; so I figure the rest of the contestants might want to do the same (just to make it fair). Plus, I'm so proud of figuring out how to put up the darn thing (even though the print is so tiny as to be almost unreadable), I figure I should leave it up there a little longer. Anyone who hasn't done so already, visit our appliance poetry slam and vote in our little contest. I mean, unless you have something better to do....

How come I'm the only one who finds time to blog over holiday weekends? Looks like I've perfected the fine art of neglecting my family, unlike the rest of you slackers. That's okay, I'll just stay on the computer talking to myself....I don't mind. Plus, now that I have this work-from-home editing job, Larry thinks I'm earning money when he sees me at the computer. I've got it made.

Dawn is tempting me with further updates to my blog layout. Stay tuned. I know, you are all agog with anticipation. Can I help it if I don't have a life? Ever since I stopped having babies, I've sort of been at loose ends. For years I told myself that once there were no more babies in the house, I would have more time to cook and clean and homeschool and all that sort of stuff. But now that my youngest is 4, I've had an epiphany: I don't want to spend more time doing those things. I do them enough already.

So I blog instead. And - occasionally - knit. An update on the 9-day (plus several months) Baby Surprise Jacket is in the works. No, the jacket isn't done yet. You can't rush a masterpiece, you know. Even if it does turn out to be a masterpiece of ineptitude...

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Appliance Poetry Slam! Right Here!

Thank you to all who participated in our appliance poetry slam. It was fun and inspiring to read all the entries. Please, please vote (poll on left somewhere) (unless, that is, it is on the right) (I mix them up a lot). If hardly anyone votes, I'll feel sort of embarrassed, like I threw a party and no one showed up. Not that that's ever happened to me, or anything...

Of course, it was Cheri at Blog This Mom who started us off with her comment on the death of my dishwasher:

Any KitchenAid death diminishes me, because my dishes are in this model too,
and therefore never send to know for whom the repairman tolls;
it tolls for thee.

My apologies to John Donne.

Thus inspired, several other regular readers chimed in with their contributions:

Green Girl in Wisconsin rhapsodized -

Oh Amana, shall I compare thee to a week without children?
Thou art so soft, so quiet, so clean.
Your lovely chime when the load is done,
Is as refreshing as the morn's sun.
The sleek, smooth steel of your spinning core,
Always leaves me wanting more.

kcinnova sent in this "Ode to a Microwave," with apologies to ee cummings:

electric emotion
the sound of 3 long beeps
or is it 3 short beeps
or 2 shorts and a long?
matters not
only that my water heats
and then
the teabag slides

From Hairline Fracture, a pithy bit of Shakespeare:

"Alas, poor KitchenAid! I knew him, Horatio."

From Mom On The Verge, 2 verses of appliance haiku:

I scrape my child's food
Into the Disposall drain.
Cooking wastes my time.

My Disposall died.
I don't know what to do with
My toddler's dinner.

She also composed this little ditty (it would make a good jumprope jingle) (I mean, if anyone jumps rope anymore):

My microwave defrosts the food;
My oven cooks it up.
The garbage disposal eats the food,
And the dishwasher cleans the cup.

From The Hotfessional, an impassioned ode to her air conditioner, with help from Joyce Kilmer:

I think that I shall never see,
A thing as lovely as A/C,

A/C whose cooling air is prest
Against my sweaty, heaving br3ast.

A/C that runs the entire day,
And causes me to thankfully pray;

A/C that keeps my family cool,
during this summer heat so cruel;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make A/C.

Jenn at Juggling Life has composed the following little gem, with apologies to William Carlos Williams:

So much depends

the insta-hot water

ruby red rooibos

in my mug

SubWife was inspired by Robert Burns (and Best Buy):

My heart is in Best Buy, my heart is not here
My heart is in Best Buy, a-chasing dishwasher
A-chasing dishwasher and ogling new fridge
My heart is in Best Buy whenever I dream.

Again, thank you all for participating. It's good to know that I am not the only blogger inspired to poetic meter by my electronic house servants.

The poll! Don't forget the poll!