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: Treehugger.com]

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 years...man, 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 lunch....it'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]