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]