Sunday, December 30, 2012


I think I'm in trouble here.  Let's see, I'm hosting a New Year's Day party for the entire neighborhood in 2 days, I have LOTS of cooking and cleaning to do tomorrow, hands and fingers hurt in a really weird way and using my computer mouse seems exhausting.  In fact, sitting up seems exhausting.

You know, it would figure if I dropped dead of the flu the same week I won a very special handmade bowl with cats on it over at Derfwad Manor.  Just my luck...

I'm going to bed.  If you're a praying sort of person, pray I don't get sick until Wednesday.  Thanks.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Twitter Faves 2012

[Annual disclaimer: 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.]

Al Yankovic
Every time somebody tweets "Your an idiot" an irony angel gets its wings.

Laid Off Twinkie
You didn't hear this from me, but Suzy Q's door was always open, if you get my drift.

Honest Toddler
Feel like Tickle Me Elmo should have a safe word.

Just set my clocks back to when I still had perky breasts.

Shari VanderWerf
You pretty much failed life if your death bed is a futon.

Life on Mars
"Ikea" is the Swedish word for "good luck putting this together." 

Tim Siedell
A watched neighbor never showers.

Anna Lefler
Just saw "palazzo pant" in a catalog. Now I know how Michael Douglas felt when Glenn Close popped up out of that bathtub.

Sandra Boynton
If someone begins: "Now don't take this the wrong way..." it's exciting to wonder what's next, from this person I maybe liked till just now.

lisa goodwin
My favorite thing to do at the gym is leave

Suzy Soro
Apparently mothers have to hang up on me when their child is bleeding. Rude.

Danielle Bean
The only problem with vanilla is that it's not chocolate

I'm no fashionista myself, but I offer this 1 piece of advice: Just because they make a bikini in your size doesn't mean you should buy it.

 Uncle Dynamite
I can't see my @ replies. Now I know how Helen Keller felt.

[Twitter image: Higher & Higher
[Boynton image: News Hugs]

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Christmas Miracle

Remember this?  Remember how Larry demolished a main living area of our home at the beginning of December?  Of course, you do, seeing as how that is almost all I have talked about this month.

Well!  Apparently my spouse works most efficiently when a deadline looms - a serious deadline, a "Hey, honey, I invited ALL the neighbors over to our house for New Year's Day!" sort of deadline.  Because the room?  It is finished.  In fact, by last Saturday, all we needed to do was paint it ("we" as in "Larry," of course).  That is, once we agreed on a paint color, a task that usually takes us several months to accomplish.

So we (as in "Larry") spent all Saturday afternoon running back and forth to the paint store and smearing different colored paint samples on the newly primed den walls.  Larry wanted a blue-green.  I didn't.  Neither of us liked any of the colors we tested anyway.  It was a discouraging experience, on a par with shopping for kitchen stoves at Best Buy. 

There were many cans of paint involved.

At 7 PM, we took a break from testing the newly fragile bonds of our marriage in order to attend an honest-to-goodness holiday cocktail party, held at the home of good friends.  Only, now they are VERY good friends, the BEST of friends, because - after we had entered their house and doffed our coats and poured ourselves some (very stiff) drinks - I walked into their living room to socialize.  "Larry!" I said, dragging him away from the bar to see what I had seen, "Look!  Look at the walls!"

He looked.  "That's it!" he said.

"Yes!" I agreed.

"What are the odds they remember the name of that color?" he asked.

"Not very good, but I'll ask anyway," I said, determined to put an end, once and for all, to our latest home renovation nightmare.  I scouted out our hostess and asked if, by any chance, she knew the name of the paint on her living room walls.  Because, really, that's the proper way to behave at cocktail parties...

"That's easy," she said.  "We just painted it this month.  Homestead Green, by Benjamin Moore."

And right there, folks, was Larry's and my Christmas miracle.  Like the "Gift of the Magi," only with a happy ending....

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Where The Guys Are

Let's take a break from madmen and guns and horrific tragedy today, shall we?  Let's discuss something utterly inconsequential -- say, our current home renovation.

Devoted readers (if there are indeed any of you out there) will recall that Larry, seized by the desire to make our holiday season as challenging as possible, ripped all the walls out of the den on our main floor - the den that is connected to the living room by a wide archway and is therefore visible to anyone on the main floor of our lovely townhome.

All. The. Walls.

So here we are, three weeks later, and I will admit that Larry has performed admirably.  The electrician has come and gone, having installed a ceiling fan and the ungodly number of electrical outlets that any household needs nowadays.  The handyman is at our house putting the finishing touches on the drywall and the trim.  Trim, it seems, includes things like baseboards - you know, those white strips of wood that run along the bottom of the walls that you never even notice until you own a home?

There are many, many different types of baseboards, people.  And Larry brought home what, in my opinion, were the wrong ones.  So, there I was, standing in the unfinished den with a handyman who was threatening not to come back until Larry and I resolved our baseboard differences.  In a fit of desperation, I promised him that I would go get the baseboards and the trim for the fireplace myself, while he finished patching the walls.  "I'll be right back," I said, grabbing my purse and Susie and heading for the car.  "Don't leave!"

That's how I came to find myself standing in the middle of the wood trim aisle of Home Depot, dressed stylishly in my cherry red wool coat and chic Danskos, staring at stacks of quarter-round while my 7-year-old did her best to injure herself on the weird-looking cart I had dragged in from outside the store.  What had the handyman said he needed for the fireplace?  2 six-foot pieces and one 8-foot piece?  I gamely grabbed a huge stick and attempted to measure it against the ruler thing plastered on a column.  Only, I was too short to read the darn thing.  Twelve feet?  Was that the same as 2 6-foot pieces?  I voiced this question aloud to a fellow customer who had drawn near with a justifiably concerned look on his face.

"Well, ma'am," he said, "You might have some trouble fitting that in your car."

It's NOTHING like Joanne Fabrics.  NOTHING.
Oh.  Oh, yeah.  "Of course!" I said and dragged the behemoth over to what looked like a cutting table in the middle of the aisle.  Funny, but it didn't look like the cutting tables I'm used to seeing at the fabric store.  The ones at Joanne's definitely don't have saws.  No matter.  I hoisted the stick up there and tried to determine how to measure it for the cut.  Mr. Concerned Customer approached me once again and said, "Can I help you with that?"

At which point, ladies and gents, I just gave up.  Putting my pride in my pocket, I said, "Yes.  Or else, I could just keep on pretending I know what I'm doing."

At least he had the grace to laugh.  After cutting my pieces of quarter-round and watching me stow them (incorrectly) on the weird cart, he asked, "Do you need any more help?"

"Oh, no," I said airily. "Thank you very much. I'm just heading over to the lumber aisle to pick up some wood for baseboards."  Really - I'm so much better at baseboards than quarter-round.  I'm a flipping expert at baseboards.

My savior followed me (discreetly) to the other aisle and helped me find the 1x5 planks I needed (no mean feat), waited patiently while I called an obviously irritated handyman on the phone to check some details, and demonstrated how to sight the length of the boards to make sure they were straight.  He then loaded them - correctly - onto the cart, and I thanked him.  Repeatedly.

I'd like to announce that I DID manage to check out all by myself.  And the baseboards look great.  MUCH better than the ones my house-wrecking spouse selected.  But my main point here is this - all you single ladies looking for pleasant, competent guys with a sense of humor?  I've got a great place for you to hang out.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Look For The Lawmakers

Sorry, just can't bring myself to post some lighthearted banter yet; and I'm sure we have all already read plenty about...well, you know.

Just...if I see that stupid Mr. Rogers quote in my newsfeed ONE MORE TIME, I'm not sure what will happen.  But it won't be good.  I don't mind telling my kids "Look for the helpers" when there's a natural disaster.  But I'm not discussing this incident with my little kids at all.  Because, if I did, I would have to explain to them the scariest part of this whole thing: how we, as citizens, lack the political pull or will or whatever to effect even the smallest of changes in our gun laws.  How, unlike the REST OF THE CIVILIZED WORLD, we can't get our lawmakers to agree to ban semi-assault weapons and rigorously regulate gun ownership.

See, I don't find it difficult to explain to my children that there is evil in this world.  That's easy.  Kids grasp that intuitively.  What's harder to explain is our country's unwillingness to do something to minimize its effects.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Yup, I missed a day.  I'm just SO busy exercising lately, it's hard to find time for anything else.

Okay, not really.  In truth, I had to take a quick train trip to NYC yesterday for my aunt's funeral.  You know, that same quick train trip that I'd been meaning to take for 3 YEARS now to visit my sick aunt while she was STILL ALIVE, the quick train trip I never found time for?  Yeah, that one.

So I'm pretty much hating myself right now.  Life is short, people.  Whatever you've been meaning to do, DO IT NOW.

And that's my PSA for the day.  Over and out...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Iron Woman

You know, I haven't shared this with y'all yet, because I didn't want to jinx my efforts; but, since mid-September (or, more accurately, since the soul-sucking summer humidity finally left our region), I've been walking on average an hour a day.  Sometimes I split it up, sometimes I do it all at once; but I walk. 

I look like this, only less elegant.
There you have it - for the past 3 months, I have secretly been doing what is -- for me -- the veritable equivalent of Olympic training.  Sometimes I even jog a few steps, just to show I can, now that I have my nifty new athletic bra that costs way too much money.  I know!  Raising the bar...

You see, I'm turning 50 next year; that imminent milestone has made me realize that "later," as it were, has arrived.  I've also realized that I will never find a form of exercise I really love, so I need to stop waiting for that particular miracle to happen.

Apparently, exercise is like flossing your teeth, people - just do it.

So!  I'm announcing this in order to give some trendy athletic company the opportunity to pay me to represent them.  Just think what an inspiration I can be to legions of middle-aged, exercise-averse bloggers!  And I need money if I'm going to keep buying these brassieres, you know.

[Downton image: GirlsGoneGeek]

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Shopping Well Is The Best Revenge

Ah, IKEA, how I love thee!  I took the girls there on Saturday, because they are of the female persuasion and LOVE to go there and because Larry was busy doing whatever it is you do to insulate a room once you've recklessly ripped out its drywall and exposed the crumbling cinder block behind it.  I bought my bed frame; and I finally found a corner computer desk there, so I bought that, too.  And 2 more Toftbo bath rugs and the girls' Chanukah present from Grandpa (down comforters with pretty duvet covers that they picked out themselves and boy, did that take a while), because there is no way we will ever get around to insulating their bedroom in time for this winter.

Also?  A napkin holder, because it was cute.

Oh, wow, I searched for an image of the napkin holder and stumbled on IKEA Hackers, a website devoted to finding other uses for IKEA products.  People, I'm in love.  Just look at this Expedit storage unit repurposed as a sewing table:

It's a beauty, isn't it?

Right now our bedroom smells like IKEA, because I have all the flat packs piled up in there until Brian has time to use his Lego construction skills to put them together.  He loves to build things.  In fact, I'd buy IKEA items just to keep him busy.

Now Larry is talking about painting the den a new color when he's done, even though I like the nice dark gray we already have (well, had); it accentuated the white brick fireplace and white trim and made the room feel bright and cozy.  "Fine," I told him.  "Just tell me what color you pick out - I'll need to buy some new EKTORP slipcovers to go with it."

Really, who does he think he's messing with, anyway?

Thursday, December 06, 2012

In Which I Fail At Acceptance

I would love to write something interesting here, but you know what?  All I can think about is the way my husband has WRECKED OUR HOUSE.  I'm trying to be all Zen about this, you know, I really am.  I keep telling myself that, hey, SOMEDAY the room will be finished and who CARES if the New Year's party I throw EVERY YEAR doesn't happen this time, it's not the end of the world, for heaven's sake, there are people starving in Africa, etc., etc...

But then I get to the part where I remember that Larry TORE ALL THE WALLS OUT OF OUR OPEN DEN, leaving only bare cinderblock and a fireplace mantel ripped from its moorings; and I see all the den furniture crammed into our tiny townhouse-sized living/dining room and I realize that it's DECEMBER and there's NO ROOM FOR THE CHRISTMAS TREE; and I note that there doesn't seem to be any sort of daily renovation progress happening, because Larry thinks it's OKAY to destroy the house on one weekend and then wait for some other weekend to fix the mess, and then...

Well, then, I sort of flip out all over again. 

I am SO going to IKEA this weekend.  Because, really, what we need right now is MORE FURNITURE.  And bath rugs - lots of bath rugs.  

Never underestimate the soothing powers of TOFTBO.

Don't even try to reason with me on this one.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Tim Allen, Where Are You?

Let's see, we've passed the 48-hour mark and my den is STILL TORN APART.  I swear, Larry is trying to break me.  "So," I said to him last night at dinner, "what's next?" 

TRANSLATION: When are we (as in, YOU) putting that room back together?

"Well," said Larry, "I have to do a little research."

TRANSLATION: I'm not sure I know what I am doing yet.

"Research?" I asked.

TRANSLATION: WTF? Shouldn't you have done that BEFORE you trashed my favorite room?

"Why, yes, it's complicated," he explained patiently.  "You can't just slap the insulation up or you risk mold problems down the road."

TRANSLATION: This will take way longer than I let on.

"So, um, should I call the electrician in the meantime?" I asked, trying to garner some reassuring indication of progress. "You know, for the ceiling fan and the extra outlets?"

TRANSLATION: Can we get moving on this?

"Oh, no, that's all done AFTER the insulation," said the man formerly known as my beloved.


"Okay, so when are we (YOU) putting up the insulation?"

TRANSLATION: Look, buddy, I need some sort of a timeline here.

"Well, first I have to [a lot of mumbo-jumbo about ceiling joists and Internet and wall sealants here]...and THEN we put up the insulation and THEN we call the electrician."

TRANSLATION: Not nearly soon enough.

Excuse me while I blow into this paper bag for a bit.  No, I'm fine, really.  Just because we have NO PLACE to put the Christmas tree and I am going to take an axe to the ugly IKEA computer cabinet that has been displaced into my living room and have I mentioned that I am STILL MENOPAUSAL?

OMFG.  Really.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Return Of The Rodent

Coming soon, to a living room near you
Remember this guy?  I still hear him periodically, but - as he is polite enough not to start pooping in my silverware drawers - I haven't found it necessary to burn the house down to get rid of him.  I've gotten used to hearing him run around above the ceiling of the den every once in a while. Conveniently (for my husband), it always happens after Larry goes to sleep, so no one believes me when I say that that darn mouse is still there.  Even my exterminator boyfriend looks at me funny when I talk about it.

So, as I sat in my overcrowded living room late last evening, trying to figure out where the heck we could put the Christmas tree this year (answer - NOWHERE), I heard that familiar patter above the den ceiling - you know, the den that no longer has any drywall to prevent a rodent from escaping into the room.  The den, in fact, that does not have any door whatsoever, just a large open archway separating it from the rest of the main floor living area...

Reader, I panicked.  Grabbing my knitting, I hastily decamped to the (hopefully mouse-free) bedroom area upstairs, where Larry lay peacefully aslumber, ignorant of the danger his long-suffering wife had faced just one floor below.  Give me some credit - I let him sleep, having no desire to watch him stumble dutifully around in his underwear, in a half-hearted attempt to find a rodent which refuses to reveal itself to anyone but me.

But I sure hope that man doesn't think he's getting a Christmas present this year.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Too Good To Last

I guess Larry doesn't like this.
Remember this day?  The day I cleaned up my house?  And remember how, for the past 2 weeks, I have been enjoying the fruits of that labor?  How even my knitting has benefited from my living in a tidy, clutter-free environment?

I was happy, people.  Happy!  And, obviously, that bothered Larry.  Why else would he announce -- bright and early this morning -- that NOW it was time to rip out, insulate, and rebuild all the walls in our perfectly serviceable (and tidy) den?

My apparently passive-aggressive husband lost no time in moving every piece of furniture out of the den - computer desk/cabinet, old-fashioned slant-y desk (what do you call those things, anyway?) that the former owner left behind, the beloved flowered Ektorp, my longed-for Expedit shelving unit, and a gorgeous drop-leaf table given to us by a neighbor.  He moved ALL of this (plus 2 lamps) into the standard L-shaped living/dining room you'll find in any old townhouse.  A living/dining room that was already amply furnished, of course...

Anyone else recall how Larry decided to rip up our kitchen floor 2 days before I was to host a Pampered Chef fundraiser?  Like I said, passive aggressive...

Let's see - our annual New Year's Day party for the neighborhood is in exactly 30 days.  Apparently, Larry is willing to bet our marriage on his being able to pull this off (insulation, drywall, new ceiling fan, PAINT) in less than a month.  Considering it can take us 5 MONTHS just to choose a paint color, I'm not feeling that optimistic.   

Extreme Home Renovation, that's us.  Stay tuned...

[Happy face image: Business Networking]

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Temporary Bliss

I've been swept up by my typical December knitting jag.  Socks! Scarves! Cowls!  It might be because Anna moved out and I have realized (a full 4 months later) that I now have an extra dresser.  A dresser that might be useful for, say, holding all the yarn and knitting notions I've been keeping stacked along my bedroom wall and hidden under a blanket.  A dresser that Larry, in his innocence, would assume was full of clothing....

Apparently, I'm not the only one who has thought of this...

 So, one happy day, I managed to sort through my entire stash and reorganize it and, well, hide it.  And then, as I have already related, I accomplished the Herculean task of cleaning up my house to host Bunko (permanently traumatizing my children in the process).  So now, not only can I find what I need in order to knit what I want, but there is also a nice tidy living room in which I can sit down and do just that. 

Allow me to gloat - I know that it isn't going to stay that way.  I just need to live inside this fantasy of mine for a little bit.   Reality can wait.

[Yarn image: Living Large With Less]

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

November? Still?

My leftovers didn't look this tidy.
Oh, hi.  Tuesday, you say?  I've been so busy making the kids cry by forcing MORE Thanksgiving leftovers on them, I sort of lost track of the time.  Used the last of the turkey today.  I think there are still a few mashed potatoes lurking somewhere in that fridge of mine, though.

KIDS! DON'T MESS WITH ME!  I have leftovers, and I know how to use them.

I am completely discombobulated by the fact that it is 5 days post-Thanksgiving, but it isn't December yet.  Also, by the fact that I used the word "discombobulated..."

Larry and I found a bottle of white wine in the freezer yesterday.  That's normal, right?  Wine-sicles, anyone?

If I sound distracted, it is because I am typing this in Starbucks, where I am surrounded by a veritable bevy of Norwegian-looking au pairs.  These girls are beyond gorgeous.  I'm thinking I was wise to avoid ever hiring one, seeing as how I really didn't need my lovely postpartum self to look even worse by comparison.

That's all I got tonight.  I have to head home now and yell at the kids for messing up my Bunko-clean living room.  Maybe I should get a live-in maid.  An old, unattractive one, of course...

[Leftovers image: The Weather Up Here]

Sunday, November 25, 2012

What Would Hillary Do?

Easy to use, no training required
My 10-year-old Rachel is enjoying her longed-for tennis lessons this fall; but I was having a hard time that first week watching the 2 girls in the class pick all the balls up off the court, while the only boy practiced his baseball pitches against the court fence.  The instructor was busy talking to Mr. Hot Shot's father, so neither of them said anything to the kid about his shirking.

"Rachel," I said, on the way over the next week.  "Don't let him get away with that this time.  Hit him on the legs with the ball picker-upper tube and tell him to help."

I sensed a doubtful silence emanating from the seat behind me.

"Never mind," I told her.  "I'll show you how it's done."

I fumed about the unfairness of the situation all the way through the 2-mile walk I took during the first part of Rachel's lesson.  If any puffed-up blowhard of a dad thinks that MY DAUGHTER should pick up after HIS SON, I told myself, then he's going to hear about it from me.  I arrived back at the court fired up with righteousness, a post-menopausal avenging angel for all the indignities ever visited upon the fairer sex. 

Hillary would have known what to do.
No wonder Hillary Clinton didn't care about all that crap that was spewed at her in 2007/2008.  No wonder Nancy Pelosi can get through a day without heavy drinking.  They're not at the mercy of their hormones anymore.  And now?  Neither am I.  FIRST I'd tell the kid to pick up those balls.  And THEN I'd tell that dad what I thought of his son AND of his parenting.

My plans were laid.

But, wouldn't you know, that wily kid was actually doing his fair share that day?  I'm thinking that, in typical male fashion, he vaguely sensed the feminine fury headed his way.  So there I was, left with noone to instruct on the nature of true gender equality. 

What happens to a diatribe deferred, anyway?

[Tennis ball tube image: ExpertLaw]

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cranberries Redux

Because SubWife has requested it, I am sharing the recipe for my cranberry muffins (featured at my latest Bunko extravaganza).  No dairy!  No eggs!  Tastes great!

Cranberry Bread/Muffins
(makes 4 loaves/48 muffins)

Santa loves me
Step 1: Buy a KitchenAid Mixer.  No, seriously, I went 19 years without one, all while having to make our baked goods from scratch due to my oldest's dairy allergy.  19 years of baking without the aid of simple technology -- that was all I knew, people.  That changed 2 years ago, however, when Larry surprised me with a stand mixer for Christmas.  I had never dreamed of receiving such an expensive and useful gift, not least because Larry's familiarity with kitchen tools extends only to his little pizzelle maker.   Turns out a friend of mine heard me talking about my penchant for entering the numerous online raffles for a KitchenAid; and, shocked that I had gone all those years without one, she told Larry he had to buy it for me.  She even got the color right.

Best. Christmas. Ever.

Step 2: Gather your ingredients:

4 cups white flour
3 cups whole wheat PASTRY flour (can also be white, if you so desire)
3 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder

1 cup oil (or butter, if you wish)
2 cups liquid (milk/soy milk/water or any combination thereof)
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup applesauce
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla extract

Step 3: Combine all the above.  Really, it's that simple.

Step 4: Fold in 2 bags of cranberries (preferably frozen, so they don't get mashed). This is the part that used to make me cry when I was doing it by hand.  I guess I should work on my upper body strength more.

Step 5: Pour batter into greased loaf pans and/or lined muffin tins.  Remember to let the children fight over which color muffin papers to put in which tins.  Rituals are important.

See?  It works.
Step 6: Place in preheated (oops - forgot to tell you to do that) 350-degree oven for about an hour (bread) or 20-25 minutes (muffins).

Step 7: Neglect to set timer and spend the next hour obsessively checking with a toothpick to see if the bread/muffins are done.

You're welcome.  You can halve the recipe, of course; but we use the extra loaves as Christmas gifts for our long-suffering neighbors who have put up with the myriad inconveniences inflicted on them by our family for the past 15 years. 

[Mixer image: Everything Kitchens]

Thursday, November 22, 2012

You Can Have Anything You Want

...except a singing turkey, I guess.  You see, it's a Thanksgiving Day tradition on this blog to post the video of the turkey singing "I Will Survive."  But this year, due to some copyright thing-y, I am not able to do so. I don't really understand it. I mean, if someone wants me to pay them so that I can post that thing, I will. But there doesn't seem to be any option to do that.

So, I sulk.

I guess I could dress up in a turkey costume and sing the song and have someone film it, if we possessed either the tools or the talent. But we don't, so we shall have to go with a different Thanksgiving tradition this year. You know, the one involving Alice.

Remember, if you want to end war and stuff, you gotta sing loud.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bunko Clean

Sorry I went missing the past few days.  I had to host Bunko last night, which entailed a marathon cleaning session all day Monday.  Despite the daunting task before me, I tried to stay hydrated and calm; I even managed to institute a sort of relay event, wherein I would spot stray items in our living areas (the entire main floor) and call out a child's name, the name of the object, and the room to which said child should relocate said object.

ALL DAY, I had to do this.  I swear, we live like pigs.

Delicious, if I do say so myself...
Add to that the necessity of cleaning the top of the fridge (it was bad), clearing off the kitchen hutch, scrubbing the burned whatever off the stove top, and - oh, yeah, - PREPARING THE FOOD, and you can see we had the makings of a major housekeeping athletic event on our hands.  And I'd like to take a bow here - I still let the kids help bake the brownies and the mini cranberry muffins.  I did.  I am awesome.

Come to think of it, having been revved up to top speed since my feet hit the floor in the morning, I might have come off as slightly maniacal to my lovely guests.  The four Bunkos that I rolled didn't help.  Yup, the hostess won.  What a fantastic evening.

And my fellow slobs know the best part, right?  I woke up this morning to a CLEAN HOUSE, albeit with a kitchen littered with Bunko leftovers.  I fed the kids those leftovers all day.  Believe me, after yesterday?  They earned it.  And I sat around in my clean living room, gazing lovingly upon my uncluttered dining room hutch and yelling at the kids if they so much as left a pencil lying around.

They might as well get used to it -- no more Mrs. Nice Guy.  I'm not going back to that mess we were living in.  At least, not this week...

[cranberry muffins image: Fit WebMD]

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Love Among The Waffle Fries

After her tennis lesson today, Rachel and I dropped by a crowded ChikFilA for a snack.  It was so crowded, in fact, that we had to grab 2 seats right next to a middle-aged couple, at what would normally be a table for 4.  At first, we were too busy breaking open our portion-control-size condiments to pay attention to our new neighbors; but I became aware of their conversation when I heard the woman say, dismissively, "He's just obsessed with his car and his motorbike."

Whereupon her husband said, "Well, when you're not married, you can do what you like."

I froze.  Wouldn't you have done the same?  When you're not married, you can do what you like.  Them's fightin' words, buddy.  Even though you don't realize it...

Without missing a beat, his wife said, "You don't get to do what you like?"

Why do I want to mention here that she was wearing a snowflake sweater?  She was.

...and agree with their wives.
Her husband, seemingly unaware of the danger, said, "I just meant that, if he wants to up and move to California and live in a shack, he can do that."

Snowflake Sweater Woman, with an edge to her voice that even Mr. Clueless next to me could identify, "Do YOU want to move to California and live in a shack?"

Rachel, blissfully unaware of the marital drama being enacted less than 2 feet away, continued to eat her waffle fries. 

Mr. Clueless, standing his ground, "Well, maybe I do.  That's not the point.  I'm just saying he doesn't have to ask his wife."

"Because you're free to go do that," said Snowflake Sweater Woman, stiffly. "You can do what you like. But I'm not going to live in a shack."

Whereupon her husband, obviously a married person of great experience, changed the subject of the conversation.  But he knew he was right.

Kleenex Is My Friend

Way too tired to write coherently tonight.  That cold/sore throat thing Larry brought back from Chicago has more lives than a cat: I seem to be suffering a relapse, Susie is now hacking away all night, David was laid low for a day or two and thus couldn't work on persuading our new printer to get along with whatever weird Linux software he installed on our old desktop, and -- somewhere in there -- Brian was sick also.

Larry's fine now, though.  I know, you were worried.

To top it all off, today I left the kitchen table for only a few minutes (after watching Susie giggle through her lunch, despite her sore throat), only to hear Brian announce that Susie was standing in the bathroom and feeling sick.  Gingerly patting her on the back as she vomited into the toilet, I shouted, "WHY are you throwing up?  You aren't sick that way!"

We're using a lot of these.
Not one of my finer parenting moments, I'll admit.  And I do wish we hadn't had tuna for lunch.  

I have to try to get to sleep, although I'm sure Susie will wake me with her coughing in an hour or two.  (Although, let's face it, as long as she isn't vomiting, I shouldn't complain.)  I need to take Rachel to her tennis lesson tomorrow morning.  SHE's perfectly healthy, which makes me think she's made a deal with the devil.  I wouldn't put it past her...

[Kleenex image: IHeartKroger]

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Twix Me Maybe

Contrary to how it may appear, I'm still here.  I've just been busy with this, and that, and the other. 

That leftover Halloween candy isn't going to eat itself, you know.

Don't judge.

Also?  Someone has to get to the bottom of this Petraeus business.  Citizen investigative reporter, that's me.  Amazing what one can learn on Twitter.

Anywhoo, in between Twix bars and Twitter updates, I managed to escape (ALL BY MYSELF) this past weekend to visit some neighbors who had moved a few months ago.  I drove up to their independent living community (or what they somewhat fondly refer to as their Adult Detention Center), where I spent an enjoyable day or so in the company of lots of people so much older than me that I left feeling rather spry and spring-chicken-ish.

Then I looked in the mirror.

On my way back, I visited my dad in NJ.  Let me just say that I have never seen so many downed trees and cut up tree trunks and branches in my entire life.  People, things were pretty darn serious up there.  They still are, in fact.

Donate to the Red Cross, will you?  I don't know what we would do without those people.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Here is our President's acceptance speech, for those of you who might have missed it.  Or maybe you'd just like to hear it again.  I never get tired of it, myself.

Really, there's nothing more to add, is there?  Congratulations on your re-election, Mr. President! 

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

There's Got To Be A Morning After

Went to bed at 2:30 last night.  Exhausted.  Just popping in to say hi, since I have to go clean up the wreckage that is my household after I neglect it for several days to get out the vote.  If something ever happens to me, Larry is so screwed.  I don't think he makes nearly enough to pick up a trophy wife willing to raise his 4 youngest children and manage his household.

God bless America!

Monday, November 05, 2012


Miracle Cure
I'm not talking to Larry any more, because he gave me his stupid cold.  21 years of marriage, and he does this to me.  I swear, it makes me want to holla.  Except I can't, because my throat is sort of sore.

Pass me the orange juice, will ya?

This is me tomorrow, only with Dansko's.
 In other news, there's an election here in the States tomorrow.  Who knew?   Life has become officially insane - the price, it seems, of living in a swing state.  Facebook posts from the past two days make the Civil War seem like a little spat between close friends, by comparison.

And yet, "swing state" -- it sounds fun, anyway.

Dear Lord, just let it all be settled Tuesday night.  We can't take an extra month full of court cases and recounts.  Save us from ourselves, please.

Maybe I'll have a bit of vodka with that juice, come to think of it...

[Orange juice image: EcoNews]
[Voting booth image: Dan's Hamptons]

Saturday, November 03, 2012


What with keeping up on Hurricane Sandy developments (I am, after all, a born-and-bred Jersey girl) and following the political craziness of the imminent election, I am going to need social-networking detox next Wednesday.  In other words, I have fallen down the Twitter well and I can't get out.  Where are first responders when you need them, anyway? 

It looks like this - just erase the shoreline a bit
See?  I just stopped blogging to check Twitter.  I can't stop salivating over @CoryBooker, the amazing super-mayor of Newark, NJ.  When the man isn't saving women from burning buildings, he's delivering blankets to the huddled, power-less masses and inviting them to his house to eat lunch and charge up their cellphones. 

I wonder if he would marry my daughter?  He seems like such a nice young man.

You know, maybe you just shouldn't expect me back until after Tuesday...

[NJ image: Wikipedia]

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Snickers Bars Are My First Responders

I love this.
Well, Frankenstorm wasn't so bad in these parts as predicted; but I was up late anyway, listening for the telltale cracking of the tree that was going to come crashing through our roof.  Also, keeping an eye on developments in NY/NJ, which were bordering on apocalyptic.

Can we all have a round of applause, by the way, for Mayor Bloomberg?  Just seeing all those ambulances lined up, waiting to rescue NICU and PICU patients from a power-less NYU Hospital, was awe-inspiring.  New York did itself proud last night.  Everyone knew his job and did it, come wind and high water.  And transformer explosions.  And collapsing buildings.  And...well, you all saw the rest.

So I sat up late to hang out on Twitter, texting my family in NJ with any relevant news (they were already in the dark, both literally and figuratively) and watching Mayor Bloomberg's awesome sign-language lady, all the while with this tune running nonstop through my head:

[Play it - it's catchy!]

Essential First Aid Supplies

And now?  On to Halloween!  I'll admit it - with kids underfoot all day yesterday and today, I've been breaking into the Snickers Minis a bit.  As emergency rations, they definitely did the job of maintaining morale.  My morale, that is...

Anyone need some jugs of water?  We've got plenty.

[Sandy chart: The Hollywood Reporter]
[Snickers image: Consmr]

Sunday, October 28, 2012


We've been so busy hunkering down around here, I forgot to post.  Currently, the above tune is going through my head, and I'm pondering whether it is worth driving to Harris Teeter at this point to see if there is a loaf of bread left.  There sure as heck aren't any size "D" batteries left in town.  Or bottled water.  Or flashlights.

All I can say is, this storm had better live up to expectations, or we are all going to look mighty silly.  And no one will ever believe the weather guys again.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Is It Halloween Yet?

The Halloween candy lies in a bag in my laundry room, mocking me every time I go down there to throw in a load (3 times a day, people).  In fact, this morning, I heard the Twix Bars call my name.
My pretties...

I searched all the shelves in Target today, looking for mini packages of Hot Tamales to hand out next week.  I couldn't find any.  I found Smarties, I found Twizzlers, I found Mike and Ikes - but no Hot Tamales.  I would have asked for help, but I felt like an idiot, complaining about some missing candy whilst surrounded by approximately 15 billion bags of the same.

So the question remains - WHERE ARE THE HOT TAMALES?  I crave their chewy cinnamon goodness, with an urgency unmatched even by my love of fun-size Snickers.  Don't judge - I'm nothing but an overworked suburban mom seeking comfort, like so many others out there this time of year.

Can I blame this on the Obama administration?  Is it possible that its economic policies have caused massive shortfalls in Hot Tamales production?  And why didn't this come up in last night's debate?  Oh, sure, it was all Iran this and Syria that; but what about the issues that truly matter to us as  Americans?  What does it matter if the troops come home from Afghanistan if there are no Hot Tamales awaiting them?  Apparently we, as a country, have forgotten the things that truly matter.

I guess I'll just go drown my sorrows in a Twix.  But it isn't the same...

[Hot Tamales image: CandyWarehouse]

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Maybe We Should Just Stay Inside

Gosh, here's some news you can use.  Yup.  For those of you who don't think it is worth clicking on that link in order to avoid self-immolation, I'll give you the headline:

Banana Boat Recalls Sunscreen After Reports of People Catching on Fire

Seems that, if you spray on this sunscreen, you shouldn't stand too close to an open flame.  At least, not until the product is completely dry.  The manufacturer blames the spray valve, "which is over applying the product. As a result the lotion is taking longer to dry, which raises its flammability risk."

Raises?  Now I don't know about you, but I'd rather not spray anything on my kids that has the remotest possibility of transforming them into human torches.  Tell me, what exactly is the definition of "over apply," anyway?   Does this mean that, while you are spraying your kids with sunscreen and yelling at them to cover their eyes and close their mouths, you have to figure out at what point you have crossed the line into child flambĂ© territory?

Not flammable
You know, we didn't even have sunscreen when I was growing up.  Instead, my mom slathered me with Noxzema.  And no one caught fire.  
Ah, the good old days...

[Banana Boat image: GlobalPost]
 [Noxzema image: Her Bad Mother]

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Working Girl

[Note: There are no images on this post.  That is because I Googled "Office Girl images" too close to Halloween, and now I need to get a double eyeball transplant to unsee what came up.]

Last night I had a dream that my supervisor from my last full time job (you know, the one I left almost 21 years ago after giving birth to my first child) called me up.  "Where are you?" he asked, annoyed.  "Why haven't you come back from maternity leave?"

So I said, "I'll be right there!" and hung up the phone.  My job!  Of course!  I'd forgotten.

"Larry!" I said, grabbing my purse.  "I have to go back to work.  It's been 20 years.  Can you bring Rachel to her tennis lesson?  I'm late."

Larry was annoyed.  "I can't," he said.  "You're supposed to do it." (Side note here: this is not really like Larry - he's a nice guy who wouldn't try to stand in the way of his wife's career, even a career that has been on a 2-decade-long hiatus.  Besides, he likes money.)

I called my supervisor back to tell him I'd be late.  But a local NPR talk show host picked up the phone instead and wouldn't let me leave a message.  He kept thinking I was trying to call in on his show.  It was very frustrating.  I mean, my first day back on the job!  I didn't want to make a bad impression. 

I gave up on the phone call and decided that, if I could only get out of this Home Depot elevator I seemed to be trapped in, I could still drive one state over to my old workplace and things would be all right.

Dreams are weird.

I woke up confused.  My job!  They want me back!  But wait - I have to get all the kids to the dentist this morning.  But what about my job?  Maybe LARRY could take them to the dentist. 

I don't know what to make of it.  All day I haven't been able to shake the feeling that I am expected back at work.  That I am playing hooky here at home...

Can I just blame the menopause for this?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Girl Talk

Okay, it looks as though we are pulling out of the fever/sore throat/head cold thing Susie and Brian contracted.  We still haven't figured out what was wrong with Rachel, but she spent an entire night in the middle of last week threatening to throw up.

We sure know how to have fun as a family.

Larry has left on business again; but that's okay with me, as I expect him to come down with this lovely disease any minute now.  He was the one who pulled bedtime duty with Susie for the past week, as she simply did not feel her purpose in life could be fulfilled without her being able to breathe and cough all over one of us all night.  I myself slept in the spare bedroom.  Sauve qui peut, I always say.  Because I like to show off my French.

Last night I was able to escape the coughing and the Kleenex and the cries of my ailing young to go watch Jane Eyre, because a friend and I have instituted a gal's movie night every other week.  There was chocolate involved, too, of course.  I highly recommend this form of recreation - we get to watch all those movies that would be ruined by the presence of a disgusted, irritated male in the room, and then we spend the rest of the evening talking about all those things men think don't warrant discussion.   I got home at 1:30 AM. 

"What were you doing out so late?" Larry asked this morning, slightly irritated, seeing as how we have caught barely a glimpse of each other all week, what with his work demands and our sick children and Brian's Boy Scout trip.

"We were talking," I said.  "So you don't have to."

You know, he didn't even try to argue with that.

[Photo: Makeup Masala]

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Hey, all the kids are sick, so you probably don't want to hang out over here today.  But I am over at Derfwad Manor today, baring all (as it were) about my latest foray into the world of brassiere-shopping.  See you there!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cake! Gifts! Balloons!

It's Larry's birthday today, and we're currently in the midst of baking the fabled cranberry upside-down cake.  That link represents my brief foray into the world of recipe blogging, in case you too want to try making a cake that will give you a 3-day-long sugar rush. 

But, hey, it has cranberries!  And walnuts!  It's healthy!

This WON'T be Larry's present this year.
Larry is actually getting an awesome present this year, courtesy of my BlogHer earnings and my Dad's generosity -- as opposed to last year, say, when the kids and I picked out a shredder for him at Office Depot.  In our defense, I do think that he really liked that shredder.  And it's very useful.

This year is different.  In fact, I actually covet Larry's present, which is an IPod Touch (the 4G's just came down in price, people - and now there is a 16GB version that is less than the 8GB used to be!).  I think, in fact, that it will be sort of wasted on him.  This opinion is based on the fact that, every time Larry attempts to use his not-smart phone, he stares at it as though he were a wild primate who had just come across this strange device in the middle of the jungle.  He all but scratches his head and makes chimpanzee sounds as he attempts to retrieve a text message.

Yes, I'm making fun of my spouse on his birthday.  But he IS getting a cool gift to make up for it.  AND balloons.  How much better can it get?

[shredder image:]

Monday, October 08, 2012


Growing up, one of my favorite stories was Lisa and Lottie, a book that was made (twice!) into the movie "The Parent Trap."  The story of the two girls, who meet at summer camp and discover that they are twin sisters separated during infancy by their divorcing parents, thrilled me no end.  Imagine!  Perhaps somewhere I - like those lucky girls in the book - could find one of those oh-so-mythical creatures - a SISTER - waiting for me.  I dreamed that a sister would be a bosom buddy, a pal, someone whose innermost thoughts would be just like mine.  We could do girl things together, instead of my having to play chess with my older brother, who only played with me to hone his own skills at that vile game.  A sister! If I had a sister, we could do each other's hair.  We could share clothes.  We could be FRIENDS.  

And there certainly wouldn't be any chess.

Disney's new film Tinker Bell and Secret of the Wings was made for every little girl who has longed for a sister of her own.  Granted, we have no such situation in this house.  With 3 boys and 3 girls, we have ample sibling interactions of every kind.  So I wondered if my girls would still be captivated by this fantasy of 2 fairies who discover that they are long-separated twins ("born from the same laugh," as the movie puts it - apparently, the fairy facts of life are not nearly as awkward to explain as are human ones). 

Would Rachel and Susie identify with the fairies' delight upon their finding each other?  Or would my girls wonder what all the fuss was about, knowing - as they do - that life with a sister isn't always all it's cracked up to be?

I HAVE talked about the puppy problem, right?

Anywhoo, Rachel (10) loved the many twists and turns of the plot; and (naturally, considering her checkered past) she enjoyed watching Tinker Bell and her new-found sister breaking the rules just to visit each other.  The devotion!  The derring-do!

Susie (7), on the other hand, wasn't able to focus on the FUN! SISTERS! part of the movie, as she was too worried about whether or not the fairies would be able to save the fairy dust tree.  Also, her father shows her "The 3 Stooges" way too much; so I think she was waiting for the part where everyone would start poking each other in the eyes.

As for myself, I was impressed by the quality and variety of the character's voices.  Animated films have come a long way since I was a kid, I must say.  Along with Timothy Dalton and Anjelica Huston, the cast of voices includes the woman who spoke for Ariel, long ago, in The Little Mermaid.  And I was surprised to learn that an actual hairdresser designed the hair for Tinker Bell's twin sister.  Slightly jealous here, actually - where's my personal hair designer when I need him?

Or maybe that's the sort of thing a sister would be good for...

And, now, to celebrate the release of Tinker Bell and Secret of the Wings, Disney has given me a “Flitterific Fairies Blue-ray Double Pack”, which is a Blu-Ray/DVD combo, to give away to one of my readers.  To participate in the sweepstakes, please answer the question, "What does sisterhood mean to you?" in the comments on this post.  Further rules are listed below.  And feel free to check out the "Secret of the Wings" website: it features videos, activities, and games for your favorite fairy enthusiast.

No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the
following unique term in your tweet message: #SweepstakesEntry; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post"
c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 10/8 to 10/31.
Be sure to visit the Secret of the Wings Reel Sisterhood brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Pajama Game

I was folding mine and Larry's laundry last night (because that is the kind of exciting life I lead - what else would one do on a Saturday evening?).  Having finished, I set aside that evening's sleepwear to put on later.  But then I had what can only be described as an epiphany.

Maybe I need the ruffled shorts?
"Hey!" I said to myself.  "It's 8 PM, and I'm not going anywhere.  Why can't I put on my pajamas and lounge around in them like any normal person?  Why DO I stay dressed to the shoes every evening until 11 PM, anyway?"

So, intrepid habit-breaker that I am, I took off my workaday clothes and pulled on my sweatpants and my T-shirt and the huge, comfy sweatshirt that I stole from Larry, way back when our marriage was still young and it was cute to do things like that.

"Aaah," I thought.  "That's more like it.  How relaxing! Now I'll go downstairs and sit on the couch and read and knit and blog all evening long."

Only I never made it down there.  Instead, I was so relaxed that I lay down on my bed and went to sleep.  Which might just explain why I CAN'T put on my pajamas and lounge around in them like any normal person...

[PJ image: Lady Cass Tumblr]

Thursday, October 04, 2012

A Veritable Potpourri Of Miscellany

Yes, I'm still here.  I've just been very busy exercising and watching what I eat and NOT LOSING ANY WEIGHT, that's all.  Tell me, does weeping over the unfairness of it all burn any calories?

In other news, Larry informed me that he has to travel for business for another week this month.  But not to a place that has good chocolate...

It's turned hot and humid here again, which is just great - I mean, why enjoy cool, crisp autumn weather when you can instead spend your time schvitzing and being eaten alive by mosquitoes?  It's paradise, I tell you. Paradise.

Have I mentioned how much I love the silliness of the Internet?  No?  Well, I do.  Who wouldn't, after seeing this?

And, for the left-leaning among you, Margaret and Helen, every liberal's (and some centrists') favorite old ladies, are back!  Romney supporters, don't click.  It will just annoy you.