Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cars Trump Appliances, Apparently

That's Larry, over to the right - or a reasonable facsimile of him, anyway.  (Minus the hat)  You see, that's how you dress after bringing your car in to the local shop because you heard a strange noise from the rear brakes.  Who knew that replacing the entire brake assembly could cost the same amount of money as a new stove and a new dishwasher would have?  And how essential are those back brakes, anyway?  Shouldn't the front ones be enough?

Have I introduced you to our friendly neighborhood mechanic yet?  He's over there to the left.  Nice of him to let Larry keep his shoes...

[Barrel photo credit: Culture Vulture]

[Moneybags image credit: Upgrade Travel Better]

For Your Viewing Pleasure...

Why the British freak me out...

(Gah - can't get it to embed properly - you'll have to click on over - it's worth it)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sick For The Holidays

We had a typically festive weekend for our family - after attending Christmas Eve Mass in all our holiday finery, we came home and watched Rachel throw up repeatedly.  Yes, folks, just as I was getting my appetite back, I got to witness a puke-fest.  That weight just keeps a-droppin'!  The only bright side is that I had just stepped out to deliver a loaf of cranberry bread to our next-door neighbor when the barf machine started up.  Larry had to handle it, thus assuring that he will fall prey to this stomach bug also.

David managed to break our router on Thursday, meaning we have had no wireless for 3 days.  I've tried to be brave for the children, but even the little ones know something is gravely amiss.  No phone, no IPod Touch, no second computer.  It's been hell.  Think Donner Party, but with less food....

And now the library is kicking me out.  I've become a vagabond, having to search for my next wireless fix in order to keep all my Words with Friends games going.  Whither next?  A Starbucks, perhaps?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Weight-Loss Tips

Worried about gaining weight over the holidays?  Follow Suburban Correspondent's handy guide for keeping those unwanted pounds away!

1. Cancel Chanukah party (with its attendant calorie-laden fried potato pancakes) due to best friend's parasite-ridden children.  Whew!  One hurdle jumped!

2. Approximately 10 days before Christmas, contract a cold with a wicked sore throat.  Add in 2 cold sores on the inside of your lower lip.  Voila!  You can't ingest anything without extreme pain!  This should get you through all those pre-holiday pageants and parties quite handily.  Careful!  Wine hurts too!

3. As the sore throat wanes, make sure to pick up a stomach bug from your 10-year-old son.  Perfect for keeping you from tasting any of the treats you still have to bake for everyone else!

4. Fail to recover from said stomach bug within 48 hours.  Lie in bed on the third day and decide you have some sort of intestinal cancer.  Wrap presents for your children (the last you'll ever give them) while weeping copiously.  Burns more calories than wrapping cheerfully!  Stop frequently to blow nose and lament your poor motherless children's bleak future to your confused husband.  That burns more calories, also (the nose-blowing and lamentations, that is, not the confused husband).  You are on your way to becoming one svelte sick chick.

5. Recall that laughter is the best medicine.  Forget your troubles (and your hunger) by reading about how Kenny Loggins ruined one innocent 7-year-old girl's Christmas.  ROTFL.  And, hey, all that rolling on the floor laughing burns extra calories, too...

[sneezing photo credit: Salon]
[photo credit: Hyperbole and a Half]

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Snow Day Directions

Follow these steps:

1. Mittens, snowboots, hats;

2. Sleds and shovels and snowmen;

3. Cocoa with cookies.

Repeat until exhausted.  (The parent, that is - the kids just keep on going...)

[Snowman credit: Ahoy, Hanoi!]

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bathroom Blogging

Hey! I can blog from the bathroom with this new blogging app for my IPod Touch.

No pictures, though...I have to draw the line somewhere.

Now I'm wondering just why anyone would want to blog from the bathroom. Of course, I don't know why anyone would want to use the amazing technology that is the Internet to share dumb pictures of cats, either; but they do.

Says the person who posts pictures of her mouldy leftovers...

Hmmm...I can't seem to find italics here. I don't think I can blog without italics. And boldface - where's my boldface type?

I must persevere, regardless. Because really, this post is a cry for help - an urgent plea from those of us inundated with the plague that is/are stinkbugs. It is freezing cold outside, which means - according to my extensive research - that these nasty creatures should all be peacefully hibernating in my attic.

Apparently, no one has told the stinkbugs that valuable piece of information. They are here in the bathroom. They are in the den. For all I know, they lie in wait for me in the bedroom. Resistance is futile. If you never hear from me again, you will know why. But I will go down fighting.

Gah - typing on this tiny keyboard is making me nauseous. Must. Stop. Now.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Santa FAIL

As a bunch of the neighborhood kids were heading downstairs to play the other day, I overheard one 10-year-old girl speaking, uh, carelessly (if you get my drift) about Santa.  I grabbed her by the arm and hissed, "Debbie! Susie still believes in Santa - DO NOT ruin it for her, okay?" Debbie, startled, was nodding her assent when I noticed another neighbor girl - aged 8 - standing next to her, listening to our conversation.  She was looking, I noted with dismay, a tad crestfallen. 

"I still believe in Santa," she said, in what can only be described as a tone of uncertainty tinged with desperate hope.

Way to ruin a kid's Christmas, eh?

[Image credit:]

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards - RIP

Farewell, Elizabeth!  There are many among us who have admired your courage and your strength and, yes, your resilience.  It's not easy to be a woman, especially as we hit middle age and beyond, even without the challenges that you yourself faced.  Women are expected to weather life's disappointments and even its tragedies with an almost super-human grace; so your willingness to share with us the reality of living with the unlucky trifecta of bereavement/betrayal/illness was a much-appreciated gesture of compassion in an often unforgiving world.

Your race has been run, honorably and bravely, dear lady; go in peace.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Yosemite Sam Makes Me Money

Why not?  It works.

I've assigned David, our local computer expert, the task of figuring out search optimization whatevers.  I told him if he made me extra money, he could have half.  Plus, that'll keep him too busy to start hacking into the Pentagon webservers. 

The Boy Who Knew Too Much...I wonder who will play David in the movie?  And is it normal for a 13-year-old boy to be reading Dreaming in Code?  Because I'm getting a little worried.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Bugs Bunny, Tweety Bird, Fred Flintstone, and Me

Well, Sarah has solved for me the riddle of the mysteriously increasing blog stats - apparently, as she informed me in the comments yesterday, everyone on Facebook is searching the Internet for images of their favorite childhood cartoon characters to use for their profile pictures.

Now, a lesser person than moi would undoubtedly try to take advantage of this situation, perhaps even attempt to optimize their search whatevers to extract even more traffic from this profile-picture craze.  Imagine!  Posting random cartoon character pictures on your blog just to attract more "eyeballs," as the Internet folk call it!  And even (on the advice of a certain computer-savvy teen)  listing the character names - Bugs Bunny, say, or Tweety Bird or Fred Flintstone  - all to improve the page's meta http equivalence...or something like that...

I swear, such money-grubbing opportunists are making all us Internet hacks look bad.  How will I ever be taken seriously as an artist again?

On the other hand, I could really use some extra yarn money...

[Bugs Bunny image credit:]

[Tweety Bird image credit:]

[Fred Flintstone image credit:]

The Wonder That Is The Internet

It is nothing short of amazing just how many people are searching for images of Wilma Flintstone.  And landing here...

So much for attempting to write sparklingly witty prose - all I needed to up my stats was a picture that appears on the first page of the Google image search results.  Silly me.


Oh, and since I didn't make it clear enough, our family (fingers crossed) does not seem to be suffering from parasitic vermin.  We were at risk, so I treated all the little kids' heads and washed all our bed linens, etc.  But so far?  So good.   Except for the nightmares , of course...

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Gosh, I'm Fun

I didn't look this happy.
Didn't do much today - just hung around the house and processed 6 laundry loads of sheets and blankets, piled theoretically lice-smothering goop on 3 children's heads in order to smother any (hopefully) theoretical lice which may have taken residence thereon, watched Fiddler on the Roof with the kids to make up for using a hair dryer on my 10-year-old son, and conscripted David to make an extra lasagne for my suffering friend.  Because no matter how bad my day was, hers was worse.

You see, in an unfortunate confluence of events, she discovered lice on her 2 youngest kids' heads the day before her oldest son's college applications were due.  And her 8-year-old daughter spent the day sobbing because her mother cut her (infested) hair.  And her 2-year-old was traumatized by her older sister's screaming during said haircut. The teen daughter hasn't run away yet, but we consider that imminent.

So, yeah - I won't complain.  Not much, anyway...I even made it to Knit Night this evening, where I probably convinced any childless knitters there to get their tubes tied by regaling them with tales of parasitic invasions.  The life of the party, that's what I am...

[Image credit:]

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


We have been running an experiment the past two nights, to see just how many times Larry and I can be roused from slumber by a coughing child before one or both of us goes stark raving mad.

It's not looking good.  I got more sleep during Navy boot camp.

Seasoned parents know that by the 3rd night, the child is coughing less.   I was looking forward to being able to lay my tired head down on my pillow and sleep a deep, dreamless sleep tonight.  All day, as babysitting plans and carpools were laid waste by children with sore throats and tummy aches and who knows what-all, I comforted myself with the thought that - once evening fell and this whole messed-up day was finally put to rest - at least Susie would not be waking us with her coughing.

My friend called me at 9:15, as I was embarking on my last stint of the day as family chauffeur, driving David home from Civil Air Patrol.  The friend, I might add, who was generous enough to let me bring my sick Rachel to her house this afternoon, where Rachel (and her germy pillow) lounged on this friend's couch while I ran to a doctor appointment.

Me: Hey, what's up?

Friend: I'm heading to Target.

Me: At this hour?  Why?

Friend: Oh, just picking up some hair things...

Okay, right there I should have understood what was happening.  But it had been a long day.

Me: Well, that's nice.  I'm going home.  Time for bed!

Friend:  You see, I noticed my eight-year-old scratching her head today...

So I headed to Target and we stood in the aisles and discussed the merits of various lice-killing methods (with her teen daughter standing there saying, "Could you guys keep it down?").  We even reminisced about a similar episode 2 years ago, and then the one 4 years prior to that.  Ah, nostalgia...

And could someone tell me why, of all nights, Rachel picked this evening to fall asleep in MY BED? 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Not Dead Yet...

...just busy cooking.  Cranberry bread  today, stuffing and cranberry sauce tomorrow, turkey and potatoes the next day.  Also?  Food shopping - I managed to visit 2 grocery stores today, one yesterday. 

If Thanksgiving were some sort of athletic event, I would definitely be a contender.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Technical Difficulties

I'd like to blog, but my eyes are doing something weird and producing flashing lights when I try to focus on the computer screen.  I assume it's eyestrain.  Either that, or some sort of fatal retinal dysfunction...

On the bright side, this new infirmity renders me incapable of researching my symptoms online - meaning, I can't fan the flames of my ever smoldering hypochondria.  Aren't I lucky?

Anywhoo, off I go to commence my pre-Thanksgiving fridge cleanout - I need to fit a turkey in there somehow.  See you tomorrow (I hope)!  With pictures!

[Image credit: EHow]

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Get Thee To ITunes

I can't embed it here, and I can't even find a way to make a link; but ITunes has the video of the Beatles playing their first US concert (at the Washington DC Coliseum in February of 1964).  You can watch it for free on the ITunes site.  It's unbelievably poignant to watch - the youth of the singers, the innocence and excitement of the audience, it's all just incredible and so long ago.  All 4 Beatles are wearing suits and ties, for heaven's sake.  The close-ups of Ringo playing the drums and of the teen girls in their plaid skirts and cardigan sweaters and cat's-eye eyeglasses screaming in the audience make it worth watching, never mind the rest of it.

And FREE - did I mention that?  Get on over to ITunes and type in Beatles - you won't regret it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What's Bugging Me...

Today, talking to another mother at Girl Scouts, I flicked my hair back over my shoulder and a centipede fell onto my hand and onto the floor.  After rushing to the bathroom and disinfecting my hand and waiting until the urge to throw up subsided, I returned to the scene of the crime and calmly carried on, my conversation-mate eyeing me a tad uneasily.

Then, in a desperate attempt to find the missing Harmony 8" DPN (size 5) required to knit Rachel's hat, I emptied my knitting bag onto the table between us.  No DPN was found, of course, as they never come when you call them.  I returned all the flotsam and jetsam (including a granola bar, 2 measuring tapes I can never find when I need them, and a misbegotten practice pom-pom) to the bag, leaving behind on the table one hitherto-undiscovered dead stinkbug.

"What's THAT?" my friend said, staring at the motionless creature lying Kafka-esque-like on its buggy back, legs up.

"What?" I said, pretending I saw nothing.

"THAT!" she said, pointing.  "It looks like a dead stinkbug."

"Oh, heh-heh, I guess it is," I said, excusing myself to go throw up again.

I feel like the Typhoid Mary of bugs.  An entomological leper, if you will...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Alone Again, Naturally...

Larry left me...again.  You know, this gets old.  You'd think he'd know better, considering how I managed to spend about 1500 dollars last time he took an extended business trip.

I'd better be getting some decent chocolate out of this abandonment, that's all I can say. Ghirardelli, maybe?

[image credit: Adorable Gift Baskets]

Friday, November 12, 2010

Take My Chocolate...Please

My best friend brought me a bowl of fun-size Snickers that she raided from her kids' Halloween stash. Apparently, she hates me.


I should be helping my kids finish their schoolwork from this past week; but instead I am letting them play Monopoly in the family room while I blog and tweet (and, um, eat fun-size Snickers) upstairs.  That is just all kinds of wrong.


Did I mention I let them have candy when they land on Free Parking?


Maybe I should give them the Snickers.


I've been indulging my inner crocheter lately, in a desperate attempt to finish a newborn baby blanket for a grand-nephew who is already over 2 months old.  So my friend Carol (she of the ascerbic wit) went all knitting-snob on me and accused me (ON FACEBOOK) of succumbing to the lure of crocheted toilet paper covers.  Now, tell me - was a public shaming really necessary?


Just wait 'til she sees this crocheted cow toaster cover I'm making...

That bucket is a nice touch, isn't it?  Lends authenticity to the crochet motif, I'm thinking.  But why does it say "Moo?"  In case we didn't realize we were looking at a cow?  And since when does a cow milk herself anyway?


Okay, don't google crochet toaster cover images - things get really weird really fast.  Maybe Carol is right and I should pull myself back from the brink before it's too late.

[Cow credit: Cute Crochet]

[Car credit:]

Thursday, November 11, 2010

No Thanks!

There's a lot of talk on a day like today about how selfless military people are.  People left and right in the blogosphere are thanking veterans like me for our service.  So I just want to set one thing straight.

I joined the Navy because I needed a job.  I had student loans to pay; I was ashamed of not being on my own (unlike many "kids" in their 20's nowadays); and no one wanted to pay a fresh-faced History major anything close to a living wage.

In other words, I joined the military for totally selfish reasons, as do many in the armed forces.  I joined for money, I joined to gain my independence, I joined in the hope I would get a chance to travel.

What I got was a lot more.  For the first time in my life, I worked and lived alongside people of another skin color.  For the first time in my life, I saw African Americans in positions of power.  And I came into close contact with those heretofore exotic people known as "Southerners" and "Texans." (And I learned very quickly the difference between the two.)  I met people who were from comfortable backgrounds and people who had signed up because they were tired of crashing at friends' houses and getting food from dumpsters.  I met people with college degrees like mine and people who had never even considered college as an option.  I also encountered people like my husband-to-be who were taking advantage of the tuition subsidies the military gave them to earn their degrees.

I learned in the military that America is a lot bigger than any one of the segregated social bubbles in which we live and are brought up.  I learned that an organization as hidebound and conservative as the military could still be in the forefront on issues such as equal opportunities for minorities and for women.  Most importantly, I learned that people of different races, religions, and beliefs are able to work together toward a common goal.

I think that last is a lesson that a lot of people in our country today have forgotten.  Maybe they've never even learned it.  It's easy in this country to stick with your own kind, easy to become convinced that your reality is the only reality.  You can watch "your" channels, read "your" news, listen to "your" radio stations.  But the truth of the matter is, this is a really big country with all sorts of people in it.  And none of them are better or more "American" than any of the others.

Go ahead and thank me for "serving."  But realize that I benefited from my service to my country more than anyone else did.  I hated a lot of what I had to do, and the military does have its own particular brand of crazy; but I came away knowing a lot more about my fellow citizens than I could have learned by staying in the familiar bubble of my particular upbringing.

Would you believe that lately I have actually had people say to me, "How could you let your son go into the Army?"

How?  Tell me, how could I not?

[Yes, this is a repeat from last year.  It's still relevant.  More relevant, even....]

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Free Lunch

I took yesterday off.  It was the 19th anniversary of my induction into that group of persons known as "mommies," and I wanted to savor every minute of the occasion. 

19, that went by fast...

And I'm spending today planning my freebies for tomorrow - so many places are offering veterans and active-duty military free food, I'm needing a spreadsheet to work out my collection schedule.  Let's see...a Krispy Kreme doughnut for breakfast, ChikFilA for's sort of a trick-or-treat for the military, I guess.

 Oh, hey, what's this?  A free bloomin' onion at Outback Steakhouse?  Cool!

I'm figuring if I collect enough food, I can bring it all home and serve it to the kids for dinner.  I'll let you know how that works out.

[image credit: These Words Are Mine]

Monday, November 08, 2010

What Every Mom Wants To Hear

Okay, I'm working on that music thing.  Thank you all for your suggestions, particularly this list of the top 100 songs of the 90's.  A lot of you listed groups; specific songs would help, since I've got more to catch up on than I thought.  Some of the earlier stuff I've heard, as I was still working and in the vicinity of a radio for most of 1991.  And some of the music lingered long enough into this past decade that I've caught snippets of the later songs, also.  Most of it, however, was new to me.

But here's the real question:  I'm wondering how much of the appeal of a decade's music lies in its intrinsic worth and how much actually depends on your life at the time?  Do you think that we all are prone to prefer the music of our teens and 20's?  

Discuss, while I try to catch up on all the stuff I didn't do this weekend.  Also?  My Anna had an epiphany yesterday, which in itself was music to my ears:

Me: What are you planning to do this afternoon?

Anna: I'm cleaning my room.  It's a mess.

Me (acting as nonchalant as possible): You think so?

Anna: Oh, yeah - there's all this junk in there!

So she spent a few hours sorting out her hoodie collection and discarding the flotsam and jetsam of the past 4 years while I contemplated the truism that the kids really do grow up.  Not a bad way to spend a Sunday, really...

Friday, November 05, 2010

The Lost Decade

Could y'all do me a favor?  At least those of you who were not immersed solely in childbearing throughout the 1990's?  That is my lost decade, musically speaking.  Apparently I spent those years listening to my cassette tapes from the 70's and 80's while reading interesting fiction such as Siblings Without Rivalry and How To Talk So Your Kids Will Listen.  Could you help a girl out by sharing your favorite 90's songs in the comments?

Yes, I know, 10 whole years.  It's ridiculous.  But so many of my friends who are younger than me have all these musical references I don't recognize.  Help me act hip.  Thanks.

(I missed all of Seinfeld, too.)

[image credit: AnOnlineIndia]

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Fridge Follies

Only 10 days have gone by since my last refrigerator purge, and here I am, at it again!  Faced with the scene to the right, I realized I would have to act quickly to avert a chilled foods disaster.  Never one to shy away from reality, I dove right in.

Please note that I have an apple problem.  Not only are those 2 bins filled, but there are also two (count them, TWO) 1/2 bushel bags of apples lying on my kitchen floor.  We did attempt to make a dent in this bounty by cooking up homemade applesauce in the crockpot yesterday.  After peeling and chopping approximately 16,000 apples (which yielded a pitiful 3 quarts of sauce), we were left with two almost full bags of apples still lying on the floor in front of the pantry.

In other words, Apples 1, Suburbancorrespondent 0.  Alas.

I've found it pays to clean out one's fridge more often than, say, once every 6 months.   This exercise in domestic responsibility took me a mere 15 minutes (minus the photography sessions).  What did I find?  Well!  Feast your eyes below:

Yum!  This, my friends, is what happens when you trust perfect strangers that you meet on the Internet.  Jennifer Jo, over at Mama's Minutia, raved the other day about a sweet-and-sour lentil dish she had discovered at a potluck and subsequently prepared for her own family.  Even her husband, an avowed lentil-abstainer, gave the dish a thumbs-up.  Or so she claimed....

Upon reading this testimonial, I jumped up from my computer, grabbed the bag of lentils that always seems to be hanging around in my pantry, and immediately prepared them according to her instructions.  Only, because I was so sure that I could trust Jennifer Jo, I doubled the recipe.  So now I have about a quart and a half of lentils to try to pawn off on the vegetarians next door.  Wish me luck.

Yes, Jennifer, I did act boldly by adding sliced carrots.  I thought the meal would need a little color.  Particularly since I was planning on serving the (brown) applesauce for dessert.

I also found the items over there to the right.  Perched atop the pile of Pyrex is a bottle of acidophilus which expired in September of 2009.  No, I do not know what my problem is.

The glass dish on top contains rice.  But not last night's rice, left over from the lentil debacle.  David was busy preparing fried rice with that.  So this particular specimen must be older.  But neither of us remembers cooking it.  Meaning, someone is coming into my house and leaving old rice in my fridge. 

Makes sense to me...

The other two dishes contain grilled chicken (from Sunday) and salt potatoes (same day).  They represent my desperate attempt to prepare some healthy food on the High Holy Day of Candy.  Only Larry and Anna and I ate any.  The younger set eschewed my nutritious dinner offering in favor of Twizzlers and Rolos.  And who's to say that they made a bad choice?  I mean, aside from our dentist...

Anyway, I consider 5 days to be the max to keep meat.  So I had these for lunch today.  Didn't taste too good, though.  Maybe that should only be 4 days?  Please comment.

So!  Final product there to the left.  Not too bad, eh?  Please note: I've reassigned the celery to the bottom shelf, under the cheesestuffs drawer.  The eggs have been moved to the middle shelf so I can see when I am running out.

I put a lot of thought into these things, people.

The more eagle-eyed among you will notice that I've allowed some Kraft deli meat to infiltrate the cheesestuffs drawer.  I'd rather not let that happen; but it is tough to stay pure in this world.  I did, however, kick out the tortillas that sneaked in there.  And now I can't find them at all.  Alas!

That open jar of tomato sauce on the leftover shelf?  Look for it in the throwaway pile next week.  It is doomed.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Men Are From Sparta

I've been a bit under the weather the past few days; but I have soldiered on nonetheless, fashioning costumes, cleaning bathrooms, eating Snickers. You would think my stoicism in the face of illness would be appreciated around here, no?  Maybe even generate a little sympathy? 

But no - this morning I came downstairs to find that my beloved has left this article on my browser:

Exercise 'can prevent a cold', a study shows

I'm thinking Larry just likes to kick me when I'm down. 

[image credit: Positive Nation]

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Let The Festivities Commence

6 PM on Halloween and the sugarfest, it has begun...

Halloween fairy wings?  Made, thanks to all you lovely commenters out there.  Although, when I showed them to Anna, she started laughing.  I'm happy to see this particular teenage girl regaining her sense of humor, even if it does tend to be at my expense.

No matter, Rachel likes them.  And, fortunately, Larry is the one stuck with the job of affixing said wings to the girls' backs.  He's not a happy camper right now.  I just caught him muttering something about staples.

David is working frantically to put the finishing touches on the IPhone costume he is creating for Brian.  It comes complete with Halloween-themed apps.  David is going as Steve Jobs, which would have been the easiest costume ever if Target or Kohl's had seen fit to stock black mock turtlenecks this fall.  As it is, I've been running all over town in search of this particular piece of wardrobe holy grail.

And now?  It is time to roll up our sleeves and start sampling Snickers.  Yes, we can...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Parental Trickery

Jillybean commented on the failed-kale post  2 days ago that I should make the kids cook.  That way, they wouldn't be so critical of my cooking.

What she doesn't realize is that my teaching them to help in the kitchen is precisely the reason David was weighing in with his seasoned (no pun intended) opinions on how to improve my kale cookery.  That particular young lad can cook pizza, lasagna, szechuan broccoli, and quesadillas with the best of them. 

No meat, though - he's an ardent vegetarian.  And therein, my friends, lies my secret to getting him to help out in the meal-preparation department:

Me: (loudly) Gee, I wonder what I should make for dinner tonight?  (Opening fridge) Hmmm, there's some ground beef - I'll throw together some sloppy joes.

David:  Let me cook!

It's that simple.  

[image credit: Groovy Layouts]

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Wind Beneath My Wings...

....Halloween fairy wings, that is. 

You see, over a month ago, I had what seemed like a fantastic idea.  I spotted these sparkly orange tutus in Target and told the girls, "Hey! You can be Halloween fairies!  We'll put these with a black shirt and black leggings and you're good to go!"

"A wand," Rachel reminded me.  "We need wands."

"You can make those - that's easy!"

"And wings, Mommy - we have to have wings."

"Yes, yes," I said, too busy paying the Target cashier to really think about what I was saying.  "I'll think of something for that, too.  Don't worry."

I'll think of something. 

Don't worry.

Oh, what a fool I was.  Here we are, T minus 4 days and counting, and I have most certainly NOT thought of something.  Please, someone - anyone - out there, tell me how to create 2 simple pairs of fairy wings.  I am beyond desperate.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kale Safe

Having had Mrs. Ohtobe throw down the gauntlet, as it were, by saying that she was looking forward to seeing that bag of kale again on my next fridge clean-out day, I thought, "I'll show her!  I'll cook the darn thing and feed it to my unsuspecting family."  Forgetting, of course, what I always tell my children: never take a dare.

Folks, that stuff was so bad, the children didn't even cry.  They just sort of sat there, puzzled.  I made a game attempt to eat my portion, but it took me forever to finish the first mouthful. 

Chewy.  Limp, but chewy. 

I tried a second forkful and started to gag. 

"Maybe you should have cooked it some more," suggested David.

"It looks cooked..." I defended myself.  Sheesh, everyone's a critic...

"More garlic would be a good idea, too," he said.  "And add it at the end, so you can really taste it.  What sort of oil did you use, anyway?"

Who does that kid think he is, Emeril? 

[Emeril photo credit: VittlesVamp]

Monday, October 25, 2010

Refrigerator Frenzy

The comments on yesterday's post were frighteningly enthusiastic.  Concerned commenters offering kale recipes, Marinka demanding a poster-sized photo of the clean refrigerator (I assume to hang in the front of hers, to make it look neat and organized), franzi wanting to trade fridges (but, no, Franzi - we've discussed this previously - you Europeans have fridges that are too small for the typical overfed American)....things were getting a little weird.

You know, I had no idea that the refrigerator posts were so missed.  2 of you even inquired, rather affectionately, after Elijah's half of an egg sandwich, a staple of previous fridge posts.  People, you are scaring me.

And AlisonH won for the punniest comment, as usual.  Kale 'em with kindness, AlisonH?  Really?  You should be ashamed of yourself. 

For those of you who, like Marinka and Sarah, did not understand why I would store raisins (and other baking goods) in my already overloaded refrigerator, the answer is in this post here.  Read at your own risk.

[Kale image credit:]

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Don't Blink Or You'll Miss It

I clean my refrigerator once every year and a half, whether it needs it or not...

Feast your eyes on that picture over there to the right, will you? Take note of the gleaming glass shelves, the crisper bins filled with not-yet-past-its-prime produce, the baking goods aligned neatly on the top shelf.  Marvel, if you will, at the drawer  filled with all our cheesestuffs and only our cheesestuffs, the sanctity of the string cheese and the cheddar cuts no longer violated by the presence of an open pack of hotdogs.  Admire how the butter and the cream cheese(s) and the sour cream are gathered in one place, rather than hiding behind the sauerkraut, say, or the minced garlic - items which now stand in an orderly row on the right, waiting to serve the whims of my cooking muse.  And do not fail to appreciate the bottom shelf, reserved for eggs and edible leftovers only.  Edible being the key word here, of course...

Ah, an organized icebox is a thing of beauty and a joy for...well, for approximately 48 hours, anyway.

See that healthy-looking bag of kale next to the sauerkraut?  I bought it at our local  farmers' market yesterday, having convinced myself that I would find the time to sautee it with butter and serve it to my theoretically grateful children.  Who wants to bet it will be showing up in liquefied form a few weeks from now?

You know, the road to disgustingly putrefied vegetables is paved with good intentions.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Post...

Hey! If there is a blogger you just can't wait to check in with each day, who makes you feel as if she is a part of your life, whose kids you might worry about while you are sitting waiting at a red light (what? I'm the only one who does that?) - give her a shout out over at MamaPundit's today.  A lot of the comments there so far name the usual suspects: Dooce, Mir, Amalah, great bloggers all, of course.  But the list should reflect the enormous breadth of talent present in the mommyblogging community, rather than focusing only on those talented bloggers who have managed to hit the big time. 

Please note: I am not asking this to get votes for myself!  (And really, would it matter?  I have about 10 readers on Saturdays.)

 And...people...inspired by this post from last year, I used my sick day to clean out the fridge.  It's so beautiful, it brings tears to my eyes.  Picture tomorrow...

[voting booth image: Tales Teachers Tell]

Friday, October 22, 2010


The most beautiful October weekend ever in the history of the world is approaching - temps in the low 70's, blue skies, fresh fall breezes.  So, naturally, I am coming down with some horrible upper-respiratory scourge that has already made the rounds of my friends' families.  But hey, who needs to take invigorating walks with the children and  frolic through piles of freshly-fallen leaves when she can sit inside popping Sudafed and rubbing her nose raw with generic Kleenex?  Not me.

Enjoy the weather, y'all.  No, really...I don't mind...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Poor Planning

Have I mentioned how much I hate these things?
One would think, after almost 19 years of parenting, that I could handle having 2 fun kid outings scheduled on one day.  One might reasonably surmise that I wouldn't lie in bed wide awake in the wee hours, having panic attacks because I have to take the kids to a place I've never been, find the person who has our tickets, and then not lose 4 children in a crowd of people drunk on fresh fall breezes and free apple cider.  One might even suppose that I would at least have had the sense to both make the lunches and gas up the car last night; that way I wouldn't have to squeeze those chores in between our ice skating lessons and the dreaded pumpkin farm visit.

 But one would be wrong.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sharia In A Bowl?

Remember Pamela Geller?  The gal who stirred up the GroundZero Mosque controversy, even though the proposed building was not at Ground Zero, was not a mosque, and had been approved by the local community association (i.e., the people most affected by 9/11)?  She's baaaaaaack - and madder than ever.  This time?  Ms. Geller is taking aim at Campbell's Soup, for issuing a line of halal soups in Canada.  Or, more correctly, she has nothing against halal foods - but she claims that the company providing the halal certification funds terrorist organizations and is tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.  All this, despite the fact that, according to the Washington Post,

ISNA has denied any ties to Hamas or to officials of a defunct charity called Holy Land Foundation, who were convicted in the conspiracy case. It has specifically condemned religious extremism and violence. In the wake of the conspiracy trial, Jewish and Protestant organizations issued statements in support of ISNA. 

In addition,

Campbell investigated ISNA's background and found "no issues of concern," according to Faulkner.  The group was referred to Campbell by a Canadian trade organization whose member companies have used ISNA for their halal certification for years. "We point out to the people supporting this [boycott] that they are a very legitimate entity," Faulkner said. "We feel very comfortable working with them." 

Yet Ms. Geller keeps repeating her accusations, as if the simple repetition of such will make them true.   And, for once, she is correct - you repeat something often enough, people accept it for fact.  Remember Death Panels?  Or Obama's secret Muslim identity? 

This woman is certainly entitled to her own opinion, but (to paraphrase the late Senator Moynihan) she is most certainly not entitled to her own facts.  Unless, of course, our silence gives tacit permission for her to keep peddling her fearmongering falsehoods to a gullible public...

Speak up, people.  Speak up.

[Soup image credit:]
[Panic image credit: MySpace Forums]

Sunday, October 17, 2010

It's The Real Thing

Long ago, I suspected that diet soda was a self-perpetuating market.  After all, how many skinny people do you see drinking it?  Well, now I have scientific proof that diet soda makes you fat

Ah, nothing like science to justify my high-fructose corn syrup Coke habit.  Pass me that bottle, will ya?

Just in case you had forgotten just how dippy 1970 was...

[Image Credit: InfoBarrel]

Friday, October 15, 2010

7 Quick Takes: Multitasking

RobinH used some of her valuable time to tell me a new way to paste that 7-Quick-Takes image up there.  Of course, she didn't hesitate to use complicated terms like "Picasa web album" and "photo code" in her explanation; she even threw the phrase "memory buffer" at me in a naked attempt to finish me off.  Ruthless, she is...

But I don't scare easy;  and there the image is, in all its shining glory.  Apparently, one can teach an old dog new tricks.  Or, at least, RobinH can.

I'm trying to work at my paid employment, I swear it.  But the wifi in this place is so slow (how slow is it?), I'm thinking there is a circa 1995 modem involved, maybe powered by an underpaid Central American pedalling away in the back of the store.

 You know, if I used one of those bike generators to power my monitor, I wouldn't have to do this Weight Watcher's nonsense.  And every time Larry would complain that I am spending too much time blogging,   I could just say, "But I'm exercising!"

Just now, I almost bid 500 dollars for a pair of pants and a shirt (girls size 8 slim).  I'm thinking I need to pay more attention to what I am doing.  Multitasking is not necessarily my friend.

 Speaking of which, I almost burned down the house today trying to cook popcorn on my 2-burners-in-the-grave, not-dead-yet stove.  I walked away for a moment to do I-know-not-what, and the next thing I knew my kitchen was filled with smoke.  It wasn't a good moment.

Incidentally, I think I managed to finish off a third burner.  Silver lining!

Maybe I should buy something here before the baristas kick me out.  Too bad I don't drink coffee.  I've got my eye on a fetching little Walker's shortbread cookie, though.  


Over and out to you, Jennifer! Odds are, you aren't so shallow as to rhapsodize over buttery baked goods in your 7 Quick Takes

[Bike Generator image credit: PedalPowerGenerator]

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Day

I  took the youngest 3 ice skating today, despite the fact that it was raining to beat the band.

I don't know what that means, either.

David and I made  Ree's Scrumptious Apple Pie. The caramel topping is sheer genius.

No, my diet isn't going too well, as a matter of  fact.

I have tried but failed to style my new hair correctly.  It was beautiful while it lasted, though.

It rained some more.

We watched 2 I Love Lucy episodes and laughed our heads off.  Remember the one where Fred and Ricky leave Ethel and Lucy at the restaurant washing dishes?  How did I never notice that Fred gets the funniest lines?
See all those dishes?  That's me, every single day.  All because of my broken piece-of-crap dishwasher...

The kids cleaned up the family room while I threatened to throw out all their possessions.  Good times.

I'm trying now to work on my editing at the bookstore, but I've been forced to sit within earshot of a local book club discussing Dave Sedaris's latest: Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk.  I keep hearing tidbits like "How do we know this book isn't autobiographical?"

Tell me, where is the Geneva Convention when I need it?  If this isn't torture, I don't know what is.