Friday, December 30, 2011

Love And Marriage

Okay, someone landed here by searching on the term 

 marriage "resigned to my fate"

I would just like to say that I am sorry your Google-esque cry for help was answered with a blog post comparing a dishwasher to a dead Osama bin Laden.  I'm sure that didn't provide any answers.  If you need inspiration on achieving conjugal bliss, though, you can read about how Larry and I manage to choose paint colors, share toothpaste tubes, and divvy up household tools.
Your marriage looks pretty good by comparison, no?

[marriage picture: Facebook]

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Favorite Tweets of 2011

[The idea for this post was stolen from Where Hot Comes To Die.  I am telling you this so that Suzy doesn't hunt me down and kill me.  She's not the type to fall for that "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" nonsense.]

@Borowitz Report
If you're happy and you know it you're not Jewish.

Note to self. Don't put sunblock lotion near toothpaste.

I have one joke about the Jim Jones Guyana tragedy but it's got a very long punch line.

Jack LaLanne dead at 96. Obviously he wasn't in as good a shape as he led us to believe.

Study Finds Every Style Of Parenting Produces Disturbed, Miserable Adults

Yet more Jobs lost under Obama's watch

Parenting is like manning a control panel with unmarked buttons. You just hope you don't accidentally initiate the bell tower sequence.

Complaining about lack of privacy on Facebook is like complaining about nudity at an orgy.

[Twitter image: ConverStations]

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Praise The Lord And Pass The Chocolate Santas

A couple of weeks ago, Susie said, "Santa doesn't bring enough candy."

"You think he should bring more candy?" I asked.

"Yup.  Fun candy.  Christmas candy!"

People, her request struck me as the Christmas equivalent of a Get Out of Jail Free card.   Just think - an end to hunting for small wooden toys that look to be of elfin manufacture! No more agonizing over buying cheap playthings that will end up in a landfill!

So, instead of searching for thoughtful and age-appropriate presents this year, I went for the edibles.  In a very big way.  I filled the kids' stockings with sure-to-be-consumed Christmas-themed confections - marshmallow Santas, Krisp Kringles, Christmas Peeps - you name it, I stuffed it in there.  Under the tree were 5 wrapped packages of Harry and David Moose Munch (wickedly cheap with my 30%-off coupon at Kohl's), Hot Tamales, and whatever else I could find in my candy-shopping frenzy. 

Oh, and some cheap plastic sleds from Target...which gift has completely jinxed any possibility of snowfall in this region in the coming months.

A side benefit to this surfeit of sweetmeats?  The kids were all too full for lunch.  Now I call that a merry Christmas indeed.

[Moose Munch image: Welcome to Mooseville]

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Does She...Or Doesn't She?

Larry and I went to an honest-to-goodness cocktail party on Saturday.  Oh, yes, we did.  Many of my friends and acquaintances were there, and I sat down next to Cheryl, the lovely lady who teaches my David (along with other homeschooled teens) the basics of high school biology and chemistry.  Needless to say, I adore her.  She greeted me with "Oh, I love your hair! Did you just get it done?"

"Yes! Thanks, I like it, too!" [Oh, wasn't I smart to schedule that hair appointment in time for the party?]

She continued gazing at me.  "That color looks really good."

[Oh, dear, does she think I had it colored, or is she just complimenting my natural shade?  Let's move past this.  Quickly.]  "Thanks!"

Let me note here that I have never known Cheryl to simply blurt out the first thought that comes into her mind.  Ever.  Her naturally reserved demeanor makes me feel as though I am a chattering magpie.  And yet here she was now, continuing to stare at my hair while saying, "Have you had it colored before?"

[What now?  I could lie and let her save face.  But the truth will out.]  "Actually, it's not colored - it's just my normal shade. The encroaching gray looks like highlights!" I ended with a disarmingly lighthearted laugh meant to communicate amusement and a complete absence of umbrage.  [There! That should do it.]

But no.  Still eyeing my hair, she took a page out of my own foot-in-mouth playbook by asking, "Are you sure?"

Um, yes.  Yes, I'm sure.  I'm way too cheap to pay for color treatments.  But I didn't say that.  I just stuffed my mouth full of canap├ęs and nodded amiably.  Because, you know, it's not every day I get to go to a cocktail party.

[Clairol Ad image: I Am Grateful]

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

God Rest Ye, Merry Knitters...

Tonight I scored a sock monkey tree ornament, a snowman cookie plate, and 2 skeins of Happy Feet sock yarn from the Plymouth Sock Company, all from the Yankee Swap gift exchange at my knitting group's annual Christmas party.  Beats my usual evening of editing documents until my eyes fall out, you know?

This is awesome yarn.  Just look at those colors!
And by this time tomorrow, my felted Lopi tote nightmare might just be over.  A Lopi tote Christmas seemed like such a fun idea back in October, didn't it?  That's because in October, December seems VERY FAR AWAY.  But it isn't.  It lies in wait just behind Halloween, laughing at my ambitious knitterly plans.

I swear, I can't even remember November.  Did it happen this year?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Self Awareness

I've realized a few things about myself lately:

I am the only blogger alive who does not care whether or not she learns to take better photos.  No matter how you focus it, a finger up the nose is a finger up the nose.

I am never going to be able to eat whatever I want and stay thin.  It only took me 35 years to figure that one out.

This is me, only I don't have a cat.  Yet.
Without a baby to take care of, I'm nothing but a disorganized slob without a purpose in life.  What's more, I'm okay with that.

If the above thought starts bothering me, I knit until it goes away.

I really don't like to cook anymore.  I used to.  I even baked my own rye bread, for heaven's sake.  I dabbled in yogurt-making, too.  That's all behind me now.  The time I used to spend cooking, I now spend finding coupons for 5-dollar pizzas and buy one/get one free entrees.  Also?  Kids Eat Free deals...those rock.

I know I sound jaded, but I'm not.  I still get excited about rain puddles, snowstorms, and long walks in the park.

Boy, if I were ever to use an online dating site, I guess that last sentence would be a start.  No pina coladas, though.

Larry's not going to like the online-dating joke.  But he's probably still mad about the shirt.  I could write an online-dating blurb for him, too:  

Seeking SWWLP (Single Woman Who Likes Plaid).  Catching your own damn stinkbugs a plus!

I never really understood this song.  Shouldn't they have been mad at each other for secretly posting personal ads?

[Knitter image: The Unappreciated Knitter]

Friday, December 09, 2011

7 Quick Takes: The Anti-Plaid Edition

--- 1 ---

Working on the fifth Lopi tote, folks - I'm getting there.  I think I'll get everything done, so long as I knit constantly between now and December 18th.

--- 2 ---

Theo is home.  I keep forgetting he is here and I get startled each time he walks into a room.

--- 3 ---

Does that only happen to me?

--- 4 ---

Larry, David, and Brian are all going on the Winter Survival camp out for Boy Scouts this weekend.  Sounds  Really.  Guess I'll just have to hold down the (comfortably warm) fort here at home.  I'm okay with that.

--- 5 ---

Oh, yes, Larry and I had a little disagreement this week.  Something to do with a shirt that had gone missing...

Larry: Hey, have you seen my shirt?

Me: Shirt?  What shirt?

Larry: The one hanging on the back of the bathroom door - I was going to wear it to church.

Me:  Oh, the one that didn't match the khaki pants you're wearing?  The ugly plaid one with the blue background and yellow stripes?

Larry: Yeah, the new plaid one from LLBean.  I like it.  Where is it?

Me:  I don't know.

He's cute when he looks confused like that.
--- 6 ---

I'll look like this, only without those lips
I swear, I don't interfere with Larry's wardrobe much.  But I can't look at him in Scotch plaid flannel.  I just can't.  Scotch plaid looks okay on a burly type of guy.  On skinny guys, though?  Plaid looks dorky, no matter how attractive the skinny guy is.  Plus, his dad (a very nice man, may he rest in peace) wore plaid.  With suspenders.  If  Larry insists on wearing that shirt, I'm going to dye my hair orange-ish red, just like my mom and all her friends did in their late 60's and 70's.

"What's with the orange hair?" Larry would ask me.  "Is it an old Jewish lady thing?" 

I don't know, Larry.  But what's with the damn plaid?  Is it an old New England guy sort of thing?  IS IT?

--- 7 ---

Jennifer is way too busy to confiscate her husband's plaid shirt.  For more Quick Takes, visit her at Conversion Diary!

[Woman knitting image: AVBBF
[Orange hair image: Your-Hairstyle]

Monday, December 05, 2011

Letter to NPR

Dear NPR,

Thank you so much for your informative piece on a scientific study of temper tantrums. It fascinated me to learn (after 20 years of parenting) that children have tantrums because they are angry and unhappy.  What's more, your piece informed me that you can't reason with a child having a tantrum.  Imagine that!  You could have knocked me over with a feather on that one.  I am glad to see that our research dollars are being well-spent on studies such as these rather than wasted on searching for silly cures for cancer.

I am hoping you will air more studies of equal value to your listeners.  Might I suggest a few titles for future scientific research segments?

Teenage Years:  Not the Age of Reason

Money, in Fact, Does NOT Grow on Trees

Women Prefer To Hear That They Do Not Look Fat

Thank you again for your commitment to bringing cutting-edge science to the masses.


Faithful Listener

Thursday, December 01, 2011

7 Quick Takes: Christmas Crafting Edition

--- 1 ---

I've still got mashed potatoes from Thanksgiving in my refrigerator.  I just wanted to put that out there.  You're welcome.

--- 2 ---

I'm knitting my fourth Lopi tote.  No pictures, because I haven't felted any of them yet.  I figured I would save time by doing them all at once.  It may have been wiser to felt the first one right away, to make sure I liked the way they come out.  But I cannot even consider the possibility that they might all look horrible.  I have no other Christmas gifts planned, aside from some cookies or fudge. 

Christmas Crafting without a net - that's what I"m doing...
--- 3 ---

Larry went away on yet another management retreat.  He says they are "team building."  Is that what Herman Cain said to his wife?

--- 4 ---

Poor Larry - the last thing he would do is philander, if only for the practical reason that he doesn't have the time.  Whenever he hears of an acquaintance or work colleague having an affair, he shakes his head and mutters something about logistics.  We do keep him busy around here.

--- 5 ---

Fare thee well, oh cheesy goodness!
Theo is coming home Tuesday night (oh, glory, hallelujah!); as per usual, David has been frantically cooking anything he can think of that involves cheese before we have to clean the dairy items out of the refrigerator.  Pizza last night (and leftovers at lunch today), lasagna tonight...I'm feeling a tad ill.  David, being our sole vegetarian, feels the loss of dairy in our diet much more keenly than the rest of us do.  I expect to see him standing by the side of the road in another few weeks holding a sign saying "Will Work For Cheese."

--- 6 ---

But I'll be happy, so long as I can convince Theo to prepare us his Chinese stir-fry and his Christmas lemon bars.  It's the least he can do for his doting (and tired) mother, right?  Think he'd like a Lopi tote for Christmas?

--- 7 ---

If you'd rather read some Quick Takes that don't involve handmade gifts, visit Jennifer at  Conversion Diary!

[Mug image: Zazzle]
[Lasagna image: thepassionatecook]

Monday, November 28, 2011

Of Nooks And Books (And Turkey)

Not as intuitive as it looks...
I don't know how you folks spent your holiday weekend; but I spent mine attempting to teach my father how to use a Nook e-reader.  I swear, I have never seen anyone have so much trouble with a touchscreen device.  Steve Jobs was turning over in his grave, I am sure.

Oh, and yes, there was the turkey thing, complete with stuffing and mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce that mysteriously refused to gel for the first time ever.  And there was Anna being annoyed because she had to give her room to Grandpa for 4 nights.  It's not as if we had her sleeping on the couch, either.  She took Susie's bed (which has a better mattress than mine); and Susie stayed in our bed (because that is where she ends up every night anyway).

Yes, I do know Susie is 6.  Six and a half, actually - but we are lousy parents.  I can only assume she'll be in our room until she graduates high school.  And I don't even care anymore.

Maybe I'll write a book - How To NOT Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems.  Not catchy enough?  Then how about Sleep Schmeep - Forget About It Already!

All you imaginary book agents who didn't bother to contact me about my How To Talk So Kids Will Shut Up, I'm giving you another chance to email me.  We've got a winner here. 

[Nook image: CNET]
[Book image:  Mad Professor]

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Watching this video has become a Thanksgiving tradition in these parts:

I'm not sure I'll survive, however.  It's only 9 AM and we've already experienced both a cranberry sauce emergency and a potato-peeling injury.  Who knew holidays could be so fraught with danger?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Belated Parenting

Thanksgiving is upon us, and I am elbow-deep in dry bread cubes, cranberry loaves, and all the other major characters of this particular holiday.  This is our first Thanksgiving without Theo, and I'm just now realizing that I will have to cook the gravy and mash the potatoes myself.  If I had thought of that sooner, I would have paid for the darn plane ticket, you know?

Theo, in the meantime, will be a guest at one of his fellow cadets' homes for the holiday weekend.  This situation has precipitated a cascade of worries on my part. And, of course, numerous texts to my hapless son:

Remember, you're in the South.  They EXPECT you to say "ma'am" and "sir."

On the drive down, pick up some flowers for his mom.

Offer to help in the kitchen!

How did my eldest reach the age of 20 not having ever been a house guest?  You'd think we would have covered this ground before.

[Miss Manners image: Confessions of a Crafty Housewife]

Thursday, November 17, 2011

If The Shoe Fits...

3 boys, 3 girls - our household is like a laboratory for an investigation into the personality differences (or lack thereof) between male and female.  And up until today, I would have sworn (after 2 decades of careful study) that one HUGE difference is that boys, unlike the fairer sex, have a built-in aversion to trying on clothes.  Actually, just standing in a clothing store is often enough to give them hives.  Both Theo and David, for example, when dragged to the shoe store will stand there and say, "Okay, that looks good."

"But you haven't tried it on!"

"I know my size.  It'll fit.  Let's go."

Today, however, I had to take Brian to Payless for some form of hiking boot.  So!  He cheerfully tried on 2 different hiking boots, 2 sizes each, and proclaimed all of them too "high."  Exasperated, I told him he would just have to wear his sneakers on this weekend's Boy Scout hike.  At which point I noticed said sneakers were falling apart. So then (again cheerfully) he tried on 3 different pairs of sneakers, 2 sizes each, and determined that the heels were all too "slippy."

As he struggled with the last pair of laces (about 45 minutes in), I began to lose it.  "What are you doing?  Can't you even tie your own shoes?  For heaven's sake, people are going to think you're homeschooled or something!"

Brian giggled and chanted, "I'm homeschooled, I'm homeschooled!" as he continued to fuss with his 2 bunny ears.  He has an awesome sense of humor, people.  Just awesome. But that doesn't change the fact that he trashed the results of my 20 years of painstaking research into gender differences.  My other boys don't giggle in shoe stores.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bunko and Spanx - Great Combo!

I spent yesterday ignoring my kids while making my home presentable  for Bunko.  I spent today eating all the leftover candies from the dice tables while nursing a housecleaning hangover.  I've been feeding my children "Bunko food" for 2 days.  I cannot understand why I am allowed to be in charge of other human beings.  It makes no sense.

I'm finding, lately, that my jeans are way more comfortable unbuttoned.  I believe that is a bad sign.  But at least I'm not trying to wear Spanx.  Really, if you think you have ever been embarrassed in your life, watch this video.  You'll feel much better about yourself.

That is all.  Nothing else to see here but a middle-aged housewife finishing up the almond Hershey kisses.  Move right along...

[Bunko image: Cheyenne Crossing HOA]

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Catching Up

Let's catch up, shall we?  Just pour yourself a cup of tea and have a seat...

I gave up on trying to make the beloved flowered slipcover whiter and put it back on the chair.  It's not as yellow as it was, anyway; so that's progress.  And today I picked up some OxiClean at the commissary, so maybe I'll try that out when I have some time.  After New Year's, say...

Theo turned 20 this past week.  Meaning, I've been a mother for 2 decades, a fact which strikes me as sort of awesome.  Of course, that also means I'm 20 years older than when I started this parenting gig, a fact which is not quite as awesome. 

Just the right amount of chewy...
The Halloween candy obsession has continued apace.   I thought I had gotten rid of most of it when I sent it to the office with Larry, but I keep stumbling over little caches of it EVERYWHERE.  I just found some more peanut M&M's in my purse.  So I ate them, just to make them go away.

Swedish fish are pretty good.  I'd forgotten.

I'm hosting Bunko Monday evening, and the house is a mess. The next 2 days are going to be one long cleaning marathon.  I think I need more candy just to keep up my strength.

I have to finish a pair of socks and knit 4 more felted Lopi totes.  Which means that I felt it that last night was the perfect time to start a hat for Susie. Knitting can mess with the time-space continuum (or, at least, my perception of it) in a very big way.

[Oxiclean image: Busy Mom Blog]
[Swedish fish image: The Chocolate Review]

Monday, November 07, 2011

Technology - Ain't It Amazing?

Well, we survived the change from daylight saving time to standard time, but it wasn't pretty.  Larry and I made a pact sealed in BLOOD (well, almost) that neither of us would change any of the gazillion time-keeping objects in our house until AFTER we woke up Sunday AM.  That way, we wouldn't get all confused and sleep in until 8:30 (as if!), thinking it was only 7:30, but it was really 8:30 because some efficient doofus moved the clock back before bed.

Not that that would ever happen or anything...

Anyway, we had this agreement.   I was up and out of bed on Sunday and the clock read 6:30 AM.  Meaning, it was really 5:30, new time.  Awesome!  Boy, going to sleep early on Saturday evening sure paid off - here I had all these extra hours before the kids even stirred.

And then I noticed that the sun was up.  And I knew I had spent the previous week cowering in bed under my covers at 7 AM, because it was still dark outside.  "You changed the clock!" I yelled at my startled, still abed spouse.

"I didn't touch it!" he insisted.

"You had to!  Look at the sun!"

Larry glanced at his watch.  "You're right - it's 7:30.  Or should be 7:30."

We stared at our alarm clock radio like startled savages.  Who did it?  When?  And then we realized - I had bought it for Larry on Father's Day, unaware of its special powers until now.  It changed itself.

 Shades of HAL 9000, if you ask me...

[Clock image: Info Puck]

Friday, November 04, 2011

A Cry For Help

My beloved Ektorp
Long-time readers of this blog already know about my love affair with my beautiful flowered Ektorp.  But what they don't know is that, since I acquired this longed-for chair almost 4 years ago, no one has thrown up on it.

I know!  It's magical.

But because no one has thrown up on it, I've never bothered to wash the removable (flowered) slipcover.  Until today - today I glanced over and noticed that, while half the slipcover was still a beautiful antique white, the other half had become an ugly antique yellow. On the arms and the seat, mostly...

So I immediately threw the slipcover in the washer.  And when it came out, half of it was still ugly yellow.  Heloise that I am, I spritzed the yellow parts with Shout and poured non-chlorine bleach in the washer and washed it again.

But the ugly yellow parts are still there.

I can only assume that any one of you has more laundry knowledge than I do.  I mean, I don't even separate darks and whites.  True story. The fact that I had non-chlorine bleach hanging around my house amazes me.  So, please, someone tell me how to make my flowered Ektorp beautiful again.  Because I don't think Larry would be overly enthusiastic about spending money replacing a slipcover that hasn't even been vomited on.

[Ektorp photo: IKEA]

Thursday, November 03, 2011

The Sound of Silence

Our world is a little quieter today, and my kids have one less person to admire.  RIP, Tom Keith; I'm sure Heaven is quite a bit more interesting with you there.

Old sound effects masters don't die.  They just get really, really quiet...

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Knit 2, Purl 2, Eat 2

Who knew that it would be so easy to simultaneously knit and eat leftover Halloween candy?  It's not often that one is able to so easily meld two seemingly unrelated hobbies.  Those candies to the right, my friends, are my downfall this year.  Oh, heavens, they are tasty.  I only stop eating them in order to consume some bite-size Snickers.  I don't want the chocolate bars to feel left out.  Also?  Peanut M&M's...

My socks are coming along swimmingly, even though I didn't manage to finish them by the end of October.  My new deadline (as unrealistic as the first) is Thursday morning, as I want to wear them to our first day of ice skating.  I might be able to pull it off, if I do nothing tomorrow but knit.  And if the Halloween candy maintains its entertainment value for the children, an all-day knitting spree may be a practical proposition.  Although I do seem to be developing the precursor aches and pains to some sort of needlecraft repetitive motion injury...

Well, if you'll excuse me, I'm due for my next dose of candy.  I don't want my blood sugar level to drop too precipitously, you know. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

I Am The Queen Of Halloween

We only had three trick-or-treaters this year in our household (David didn't think it was worth it to hop around the neighborhood on a crutch when he could just pilfer his younger siblings' candy).  I'd like to tell you what the youngest 3 kids' costumes were; but every time I try to do just that, I end up typing, "A witch, a pirate, and a Viking walked into a bar...."

Brian made his own Viking hat out of craft sticks and duct tape and it was AWESOME.

I realized tonight that Larry has taken our kids out trick-or-treating 18 years in a row.  No wonder it seems a tad repetitive at this point...

We had 30 trick-or-treaters come to our door (including my 3).  Not bad, but still nowhere near our counts of 65 that we used to get years ago.  The problem is these stupid church parties and "trunk-or-treats" that well-meaning adults are sponsoring on Halloween night.  People, listen to me.  The fun part of Halloween is doing stuff that you normally don't do - including (but not limited to) wandering around outside after dark in weird costumes, knocking on people's doors, and taking candy from strangers.  Driving your precious offspring to your well-lighted church or school gymnasium and letting them grab candy from one large receptacle is not Halloween.  It's coddling.

NOT a Halloween treat
And don't even get me started on the neighbor who hands out apples every single year.  Honey, get with the program.  As stated in this blog before, the "H" doesn't stand for "healthy."

Someone this year was handing out leftover Easter candy.  That's just plain tacky.

And, no, I don't know who died and left me in charge of Halloween.  But I'm taking to the role just fine, thanks.

[Jack-o-lantern image: Cyber Cauldron]
[Apple image: Long Island Press]

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Gone Knittin'

Way back last summer, I decided that I could knit a pair of socks each month.  Now, I'm not quite sure how I reached this decision, seeing as how my previous sock knitting rate has been approximately 1 1/2 pairs per year.  Maybe I was just seized with the desire to be like all these knitters in the blogosphere who actually complete projects regularly.  And, surprisingly enough, I have managed to knit 2 pairs since the beginning of August.  Meaning I'm right on track, so long as I finish the pair I started yesterday by...let's see...

August...September...October... week!  Monday, to be exact...

Of course,  I wouldn't have fallen behind if I hadn't become so immersed in my felted Lopi totes.  You know how it is...the ol' knitting switcheroo.

No?  You don't?  Well!  I don't even know what to say.

My yarn, but definitely NOT my socks
Larry's muttering something about maybe I should put down the needles and cook a real meal every once in a while.  I don't see what his problem is - the kids seem perfectly happy on a steady diet of pizza and franks 'n' beans.  Why should I neglect my knitting to cook food they'll hate?  I just can't see the sense in that, can you?

Don't even answer that.  Of course you don't.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a date with some sock yarn...

[Gone Knitting image: Midnight Knitter]
[Sock yarn photo: A Bluestocking Knits]

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Florence Nightingale Fail

Judging from my blog stats, I'm attempting to entertain a mass of strangers who are here only because they were doing a Google Image search.  Everyone, everywhere, needs pictures of Tweety Bird.  Also?  Yosemite Sam.

When David was 2, he looked like Tweety Bird.  He had this big round head and skinny body, and he had the same speech defect going on ("tat" for "cat") AND he was very attached to a stuffed Tweety Bird that someone had given us.  Weird coincidence, that.

This is not me.
Well, now he is 14 and doesn't look like Tweety Bird (much) and is way taller than me and managed to sprain his ankle on Sunday.  Usually, David does everything for himself - laundry, cooking, homework, whatever.  And now, suddenly, he can't. Which infirmity has made me realize that it is a good thing my older kids are somewhat independent, as I have no idea whatsoever how to take care of someone bigger than me.  Actually, I have no idea how to take care of anyone older than 5, say, short of throwing some food at them and making them go to bed by a certain hour.  

So, deciding to make this a community-service opportunity for his younger siblings, I delegated David's laundry to Brian.  I made Susie his official water-cup carrier.  I've tasked Rachel with trying to keep the floor clear so that David doesn't break a leg while maneuvering his sprained ankle around on crutches.  And I'm off the hook.  Because it just feels downright weird to be pouring water for my 14-year-old.

[Tweet Bird image: Wallpapers]
[Florence Nightingale: Nursingcrib]

Monday, October 24, 2011

Stinkbugs Like Camping

Remember that spiffy used pop-up camper that Larry and I impulsively bought?  The one Larry was calling my "vacation home," the one we were so excited about because now we could go anywhere with the kids and still have an affordable place to stay?

It turns out anywhere means "anywhere EXCEPT where there might be large numbers of stinkbugs waiting to infest an unsuspecting tent trailer..."

My vacation home, before stinkbugs
You see, on that group camping trip a couple of weekends ago, stinkbugs found it easy - nay, IRRESISTIBLE - to crawl between the snaps that attach the canvas trailer cover to the trailer box. Larry, who usually pooh-poohs my drama-filled accounts of stinkbug encounters, regaled me afterward with tales of how he spent hours shoveling stinkbugs up with the dustpan and throwing them into the fire.

Under the mattresses!

On the ceiling!


Our camping friends, meanwhile, had hardly any of the pests infiltrating their unpretentious zipper-sealed domed tents.  Hello, Livin' Lite?  I have some redesign recommendations to make.

Isn't it funny that I bought the pop-up camper in part to prevent the insect PTSD I would suffer by staying in possibly bedbug-ridden hotels?  Joke's on me!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Statistics Will Be The Death Of Me

Not-so-grim Reaper
I'm just popping in to thank Murr for pointing out  (in the comments on my last post) that "death risk" is always 100 percent.

Thanks, Murr.  Now go away and leave the rest of us alone with our comforting conviction that we can avoid the inevitable, all right?  Sheesh.

By the way, doesn't that guy up there look a tad too cheerful for his job description? 

[Grim reaper image: FishbowlNY]

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Paging Angela Lansbury...

Where's Angela when I need her?
I came home from Bunko (a trifle sloshed, I'll admit) to find that my husband left this interesting health item up on the computer screen. For those of you too busy to click, the headline reads Vitamins Linked With Higher Death Risk in Older Women - which makes me wonder...

Did Larry leave that up for me to see because he is concerned about my health and longevity?


Did he forget to hide evidence of a nefarious plan concerning my future well-being?  In other words, will he be assiduously offering me a multi-vitamin every morning?

[Angela Lansbury photo: Mislabeled]

Monday, October 10, 2011

In Which I Pretend To Be A Recipe Blogger

Because I am a parent, I have learned that there is a series of children's books set in a fictional New-Englandish place called Cranberryport. 

I do hope you didn't think the second half of that sentence was going to be profound.  You're reading the wrong blog for that.

Anyway, the titles are Cranberry Valentine, Cranberry Birthday, etc., and each book has a cranberry recipe on the last page.  One of those books (I no longer remember which) contains the recipe for the birthday cake we make for Larry every year, if only for the reason that he grew up next to a cranberry bog.  As stated in a prior post, we have no idea whether or not Larry actually likes this cake; it may be that he loathes it but is keeping mum in order not to ruin our hallowed birthday traditions.

The moral of this being...speak up right away if you don't like something, lest you be saddled with it for the rest of your life.

Unfortunately, I look nothing like this.
 So!  Although I am most emphatically not the Pioneer Woman (cooking-wise or photography-wise),  I am giving the recipe here (because you asked for it, people!).

Wait, I have to find it.  It's scribbled on an index card, as we discovered this cake way before I was computer-savvy (relatively speaking, of course).  Be right back.

Okay!  Got it!  And it's only 4 steps (5, if you count preheating the oven).  I'm putting all the ingredients in bold face, because I'm clever like that.

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice and place 1/4 lb (one stick) (half a tub) butter or margarine in the bottom of a 13x9 pan (sometimes I just use canola oil, because I'm lazy)

Sprinkle 1 cup of walnut halves over the margarine/butter/oil.

Mix 2 cups sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, and 2 bags of cranberries and spread it over the walnut layer.

Prepare 1 box yellow cake mix and pour it over everything in the pan.  Bake 40-50 minutes.

Whipped cream optional, but why not?

 Really, that's it.  But here's the most important part - do you see the name of the cake?  The "upside-down" part of it?  Well, I didn't.  In fact, it took me years to understand that I needed to flip the cake onto a plate when it came out of the oven. It looks much more attractive that way.  Also?  It's way easier to stick the candles in it.

[Cranberry Valentine image: Open Library]
[Pioneer Woman photo: Woman's  Day
[Cranberry cake image: My Recipes]

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Cranberry Sunday

I wrenched my back today by doing...well...nothing.  One minute I was fine, the next I was trying not to scream.  I went to work anyway, as it wasn't absolutely the worst pain ever - I mean, so long as I didn't try to buckle my seat belt, say, or turn a steering wheel, or breathe.  And then I realized (while sitting in Starbucks and attempting to recover from lifting my laptop onto the table) that my work website was down.

Mine's not a circle, though...
Hmmmph.  So I drove (slowly) home and baked Larry's cranberry-upside-down birthday cake instead, because I'm a good wife like that, despite my apparent physical infirmities.  I hope he appreciates that I didn't simply take to my bed instead.  And after that?  I made pizza dough, so David would make us pizza tonight.  And then?  I goofed off.  Because Larry has the kids away camping and it was quiet in the house.  You know, some people pay good money to go to a spa and feel the way I did this afternoon (I mean, minus the wrenched back) in my blessedly peaceful house. 

I highly recommend family camping.  Sans mom, of course...

[Cranberry cake photo: Playing House]

Friday, October 07, 2011

7 Quick Takes: Post Steve Jobs Edition

--- 1 ---

(Photo credit: Johnathan Mak)
We walked by our Apple store this morning (a pilgrimage!) and saw all these bouquets of flowers just lying there.  Hello, Apple employees?  Put those in water or they'll just die.  Duh.  Maybe I'll go back later with some vases and look like a crazy old lady fixing up all the flowers.

There were also a lot of apples left there, including one with a bite taken out of it so it would look like the logo.  Mac users have always been the artsy type, you know.

--- 2 ---

Check out the photographer's name on that image up there.  Both his names are types of apples.  Coincidence?  I think not.

--- 3 ---

I haven't been blogging about my kids much because they just don't do anything amusing anymore.  I'm thinking the batteries ran out.  All they do is play and read and fight with each other.  What's up with that?

--- 4 ---

Of course, I bet they don't find me too amusing, either.

--- 5 ---

Larry is taking the 3 youngest camping early tomorrow until late Sunday.  I am supposed to get a month's worth of editing work done in that time.  I'll try to fit it in around all the sleeping-late, eating-chocolate, not-cleaning-house activities I have planned.  It will be like Rumspringa for SAHMs, but squeezed into 36 hours.

--- 6 ---

That image up there is the only decent one I could use.  Take it from me - don't bother Googling images for "Wild Moms" or "Wild Housewives" unless you are looking for something you wouldn't show your kids.

--- 7 ---

Jennifer, being way more computer-savvy than I, would definitely know better than to Google either of those terms.  For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

[Wild Moms sign:]

Thursday, October 06, 2011

RIP, Steve Jobs

This was a magic box.
I hate to brag, but I was one of the first people to use a Macintosh.  Really.  Apple made a deal with a number of large universities around the country to let them install Macintosh computers for student use in "computer centers" on campus.  You see, young 'uns, no one had their own computer in 1985.  No one halfway normal, that is.  Myself, I was still clinging to my electric typewriter when a friend dragged me, kicking and screaming, to the computer center.  "I don't understand computers!" I complained.  "You'll understand this one," she said, shoving a floppy disk into my hands.  And she was right.

Primitive thumb drive
By the way, we used to have to sign up and WAIT to use a computer, believe it or not.  And then?  We waited to use a printer, too.  How quaint.  Oh, and we didn't have these cute little thumb drives that fit on a key chain.  We had these 3.5-inch square plastic things called floppy disks (even though they weren't floppy) that we lugged around in our heavy backpacks.  The backpacks were heavy because we had to carry things called "notebooks" and "textbooks." 

No ebooks, no computerized notes, nothing.  It was like the Flintstones, only more primitive.

What I'm saying is, computers would have happened no matter what.  But until Steve Jobs came along, they were exclusively the province of computer geeks; and the Internet was a sort of Wild West, populated by coders and music pirates.  Jobs took this frontier and turned it into DisneyWorld.  He put the Internet literally in our pockets and transformed it into a playground for everyone, even technophobes like myself.  He connected the world.  It's awesome, the changes that have happened in 30 years. 

This didn't used to be a cool look, you know...
The other thing Steve Jobs did was make the world safe for geeks.  He made them seem cute, even, with that black mock turtleneck and blue jeans ensemble.  In high school, we avoided them, those asocial weirdos who walked in and out of the computer room with punch cards and talked to each other in some sort of code.  If we could have, we would have put "Least likely to ever get a date" under their yearbook pictures.  Now?  Geeks are hot.  Just pull on a black mock turtleneck and shove an IPhone in your Jeans pocket, boys, and watch those girls swarm.

Except you, David - don't even think about it.

[Mac image: Vintage Computers]
[Floppy disk image: Chris Pirillo]

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Some Light Whining

If I had extra cash lying around (which I don't, as we just blew it all on a pop-up camper), I would hire someone to come in and figure out how to light our living areas in such a fashion that I no longer feel as if I'm going blind every time I sit down to knit.  Maybe that person would even be able to explain to me how any lamp can survive unscathed in a household with children in it.  Our lamps all have shades hanging askew, messed up cords, stupid switches that don't work unless you turn them exactly right - all from being knocked over one too many times.

But you know what would be cheaper than a personal lighting designer?  If each of us just wore a hat with a headlamp on it.  Wouldn't that make more sense?  Light where you need it, every time!  No fragile lamps, no ceiling fixtures with breakable parts...just some simple headgear that we would put on first thing in the morning and take off when we go to bed at night.  Sort of like tefillin, only not sacred...

I Googled images of tefillin, so you would understand that they are prayer phylacteries , traditionally worn by Jewish men during prayer services, and I stumbled on this:

We've come a long way, baby...

I'm a bit out of the loop, but I'm guessing this is Judaism 2.0.

Monday, October 03, 2011

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...

Now I'm sick.  Just regular virus sick, not deadly-listeria sick.  I'm thinking the bout of food poisoning weakened me to the point where I was able to catch the common cold.  So I still blame the lettuce...

I suspect mine won't look this good.
I'm currently obsessed with the felted Lopi tote.  If you do not knit, you will not understand.  DO NOT TRY.  Just nod your head and smile.  Move on to the next blog, if you must.  Myself, I will remain happily ensconced among the 8 skeins of bulky Andes wool I purchased for what will theoretically become this year's Christmas presents for all the women in my family.  Never mind that I have not felted anything before.  Disregard that bag of yarn meant for last year's Christmas presents,  unknit and forgotten in the back of my closet.  Hope springs eternal for this particular knitter, who persists in allowing visions of homemade Christmas gifts to dance in her head.

This will not end well.  That is why I choose to live in the present.  It's happier here.

[Felted tote image: Spinning Fishwife]

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Produce - The Silent Killer

This is the one that got me.
The cantaloupe has been exonerated, and I offer my apologies to all melon lovers out there.  The produce item that almost spelled my demise last week?   Romaine hearts, my friends - never trust a leafy green.  An entire bag (well, half a bag - that was the problem) of listeria-ridden lettuce was in my fridge.  I had been chowing down on it all week because - get this - I thought it was healthy.  Silly me.

These people were NOT helpful.
What kills me (aside from the listeria) is that all the recall articles state that no illnesses have been reported.  Well!  I attempted to report mine - I figured the CDC would have a webpage for such a thing, or maybe my local health department.


I would have had to go to my doctor (at a time when I couldn't be more than 3 feet from a toilet) who would have then required a stool sample, etc., before he'd report to the health department. In case you ever thought that food poisoning cases in our country are massively under-reported? You would have been correct.

So now I"m scared to eat produce.  But ice cream is still safe, right?  I'll just eat that instead.

No cherry on top, thanks!

[Oh, and - unlike eating fresh produce - it's not life-threatening to  vote for me.]

[lettuce image:]
[sundae image:]