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.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bye-Bye, Bob

Excitement?  You want excitement?  For the first time in almost 20 years, I went into a hair salon and did NOT have my still-brunette locks hacked off into a sensible, layered Mom-bob - a hair style that is to my generation what the beehive was to my mother and her parenting cohorts.  That's right - realizing that I have (at best) only a few more years of full-bodied, naturally-colored hair left to me, I decided it was best to flaunt my tresses, as it were.  A bold move for this change-averse, new-hairstyle-wary individual, true - but I didn't even flinch.

After leaving the salon, I stopped to gas up the car.  Waiting at the busy station for my tank to fill, I decided to photograph my grand new 'do, complete with its long layers and its trendy slanted bangs, before I wrecked it up by sleeping on it.  So!  I pulled out my cellphone (even my cheap one has a camera nowadays) and took several photos of myself while standing outside the car.  Several, because it took me a while to get the angle right. "Who knows?" I thought.  "Maybe Larry will let me post one eensy-teensy picture of myself with my fantastic new hair on my blog."  (He won't.)

All this to say that, if you stopped by a gas station on your way home today and saw a petite woman with a kick-ass hairstyle posing in front of a gas pump while grimacing at the cellphone camera that her short arms couldn't really hold far enough away from her face and you wondered what the hell she was trying to do?

That was me.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Old Jokes Never Die

Rachel and Susie have a new hobby.  There's nary a trip in the car I can take without having one or both of their voices pipe up from the back seat:

"Mommy! Stop!  There's a STOP sign!"

"Mommy! Did you put your blinker on?  Did you?"

"Mommy! Why did you turn there?  Don't we go straight?"

Perhaps a better mother than I would find this habit charming. She might even decide that it is amusingly precocious.  As for myself, however?  The backseat driving grates on me to the nth degree.

So! As we were driving David to science class the other day, I had to swerve (twice).  I winced as I did so, knowing that my evasive maneuvers would unleash a torrent of commentary from behind me.  I was right.

"Mommy! Why'd you do that?"

"Mommy!  What's that in the road?"

David, more patient than I ever will be, took over the job of explaining.  "There were some bags of mulch in the road," he told the girls.  "She didn't want to hit them."

"Mommy!  Why is there mulch in the middle of the road?"

Why is there mulch in the middle of the road?  Now there was a question I didn't mind answering.

"Because," I said, "it couldn't get to the other side."

Sometimes?  Life is good.

Image credit goes to ivman's blague - do click on that link, he has a slew of great chicken jokes and a funny newspaper clipping.

Friday, October 08, 2010

7 Quick Takes: Problems

The problem with reading everyone's blogs is that I lose the will to post to my own.  You're sapping my creativity, all of you.  Also?  You're making me realize I don't have a single original idea in my brain.


The problem with being able to do things I couldn't have even dreamed of 10 years ago - like, say, uploading images to a personal blog post - is that now these things take too long.  People, I had to wait 5 whole seconds for that 7 Quick Takes icon up there to load.  Doesn't the Internet know that I AM A BUSY PERSON?


The problem with being a tad OCD-ish is that I have to make sure that there are an equal number of asterisks between each of these pearls of wisdom.  Nothing I can't live with, but still...


The problem with having a husband who made me promise not to post anything here that I wouldn't want every single person in the whole wide world to read? Is that I can't post some really good stuff.  Funny stuff.  Damn.


Sigh - the artist in me is so misunderstood.  My creativity feels stifled.


Censorship is evil.


The problem with complaining online is that no one can hear you scream.

Except Jennifer, over at ConversionDiary - she hears me.  Don't you, Jennifer?  Jennifer?

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Henry Granju's Birthday

Today is Henry Granju's 19th birthday.  Or, rather, it would have been his 19th birthday if he had not died this past May from the brain injuries he sustained during a drug deal gone bad.

That's right - a drug deal.  Believe it or not, Henry could have been any of our teens.  He was raised in much the same fashion we all raise our children - vacations at the beach with siblings and cousins, birthday parties with extended family, school, guitar lessons - all the warm, family-oriented experiences that are supposed to keep our kids safe from the evils of the big outside world.

Sometimes?  That doesn't work.  Bad things happen anyway; they slip in there between the Goodnight Moon readings and the child safety seats and the family dinners.  Despite the love of his parents, the affection of his siblings, and the professional expertise of the counselors who saw him through a residential drug rehab program, Henry is dead.  After 3 years of what must have been an emotional roller coaster for his parents, they received the sort of closure no parent wants.

Click on over to the Facebook group Acts of Kindness for Henry if you feel moved to memorialize his life by paying forward some kindness.  Let Katie Granju know that her oldest child has not simply disappeared without a trace; help his memory live on in the good deeds of others.  As far as memorials go, this idea sure beats a pile of  teddy bears, you know?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

And Your Little Girl Scout, Too!

Whew!  I've spent the last 2 days re-adjusting to life with kids around.  Go figure - I have almost 19 years of living with kids under my belt; yet, after a mere 36 hours off, I forgot how to manage.  What?  You want to be fed?  What do you mean, "Where are my clean clothes?"  And, for heaven's sake, can't you go to the potty without announcing it?

I'll be okay - I mean, I think I'll be okay.  A little chocolate wouldn't hurt, though....

On the bright side, however, the friends Larry and the kids went camping with are planning another camp-out for the spring.  I vote for Mother's Day weekend, myself.  Forget the flowers and the card - just make yourselves scarce for a couple of days.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and all that...

Look - I am a mere burned-out shell of the mother I used to be, and I know it.   Generally, I have made peace with the fact that I am not nearly as fun and optimistic and energetic, parenting-wise, as I was 10 years ago.  Generally.  Unfortunately, we have Girl Scouts tomorrow. 

As mentioned previously in this blog, most of the mothers in this particular scout troop - wonderful women, all of them - are still young enough to be members of the zealously nurturing school of parenting.  I know they must see me as a cautionary tale, a ghost of parenting future, as it were.  I don't get excited about trips to the local fake pumpkin farm, I couldn't care less what badge the girls are working on, and damned if I'm sleeping in a tent just so the 8-year-olds can have what is essentially a big outdoor slumber party.

You know, you can microwave a s'more.

In short?  Going to these meetings, much as I like the other mothers there, makes me feel like a gray-haired old hag.  I swear, I start channeling the evil witch who appeared at Sleeping Beauty's christening. 

Wet blanket, anyone?

[Image credit: Coupon Smarter]

[Image credit: AccidentalMommies]

[Image credit: National Geographic Kids]

Sunday, October 03, 2010

I Heart Camping

Larry took the 3 youngest kids camping this weekend. 

That's right.  Go ahead, be jealous.  I was left home for 36 hours with only a helpful, self-amusing 13-year-old for company.   I cleaned baseboards, edited photos, went out to eat, knitted, and read.  The experience was, in a word, glorious.

Try to understand: no one interrupted me the entire weekend.

And then, as icing on the cake, I wasn't home this afternoon when  Rachel threw up.   Larry - who had just finished hauling all the camping gear out of the car and into the house - had to handle it.

Better than Christmas...

[Image credit: Zazzle]