Showing posts from May, 2010

Parenting Illusions

We parents like to believe - nay, we need to believe - that, by doing the "right" things, we can prevent tragedy from befalling our children.

Family dinner hour? Check!

High-tech car seats? Got 'em!

Unconditional love? No problem!

We even up the ante a bit by throwing in some extras: homeschooling, say, or an organic diet, or maybe a solid religious upbringing. Anything, actually, to increase the odds that we won't become one of those families visited by horrific misfortune. And, to further deny the crap shoot that is childrearing, we look for ways that those other parents - the unfortunate ones - may have messed up.

"What do you expect? The kids were home alone after school every day."


"That kid played too many video games/watched too much TV/texted her friends all night."


"They're not Catholic/Jewish/Evangelical (circle one), like us."

Oh, the list of how other parents have obviously screwed up goes on and on. You see, we nee…

Memorial Day

Learn about "Taps":

And then, go here for some amazing homecoming photos - I swear, they could make even a cynic weep.

I'm feeling very bossy today.

[Photo credit: DBKPC]

7 Quick Takes: IPhone Envy

It's still Friday, right? Well, let's get going then....

I told Larry that we should get IPhones for ourselves. Because they are fun. And then I wouldn't lose my grocery list. Stick-in-the-mud that he is, Larry pointed out that it doesn't make economic sense for us to spend over 1500 dollars a year for cellphone service. I hate when he gets all rational like that.


How come the IPhone plan is so much more expensive than the other phones with touch screens and other fun stuff? Anyone out there in Blogland know the answer to that?


Not that it matters - Larry is perfectly satisfied with our current "plan" - pay-per-minute cellphones which cost us all of 100 dollars a year per phone. Frugal does not equal fun, in case you were wondering.


My bout of stomach flu 2 weekends ago produced a 3-pound weight loss at my next WW weigh-in. That gave me enough incentive to keep on starving for another 7 days, after which I once a…

Midnight, With Pretzels

Darn it! I fell asleep at 8PM with a headache, so here it is past midnight and I'm not sleepy. But feeling better. Except for some indigestion that I've self-diagnosed, in my best hypochondriacal fashion, as Stage 4 cancer. I stumbled downstairs to gnaw on some pretzels (because everyone knows that is what remedies Stage 4 cancer) and discovered almost half the family draped over the living room furniture, asleep, with the portable fans trained on them.

We do have air conditioning, you know. Go figure.

Susie's birthday on Tuesday was an unparalleled success, with the Queen for a Day being so worn out that she put herself to bed at 7 PM. Or maybe it wasn't fatigue that did it - maybe it was her new-found maturity at age 5 that enabled her to fall asleep on her own, in her own bed, and stay there all night. Definitely a first around here...

Susie received her very own Razor scooter from Grandpa. I try not to let it bother me that a 5-year-old can ride this diabolica…

Power Corrupts

It being Susie's birthday eve, I must get some shut-eye in preparation for the festivities tomorrow. I told Susie a few days ago that she gets to be Queen for the Day on her birthday. I now regret having done so. The girl has taken that concept and run with it. In fact, she is crazed with power. I overheard her telling Brian this morning, "Tomorrow? It's my BIRTHDAY. And you have to wear a clown costume."

I spent the rest of the day introducing her to the concept of a benevolent dictatorship; but she wasn't having any of it. Verily, I've created a monster.

[Image credit:]

Fat And Forgetful

I'm guessing it's obvious to Larry that my 40's are dragging me down. He must have observed that - what with unwanted weight gain, teenagers, and other joys of middle age - I've been lacking my customary joie de vivre of late. Or maybe he just noticed that I've given up on cleaning the house. Why else would he have left this tidbit on my computer screen the other morning?

People are happier after 50, eh? So says a Gallup phone survey of 340,000 Americans. Fine! I'll hang on a few more years and see if things improve a bit. But I'm still done with picking up all this goldarned clutter around here. And it really wouldn't hurt if those dishes could start washing themselves.


Of course, if the information in this other news article is correct, maybe I'll just think I'm happier because I won't know any better. Belly fat linked to dementia, it says. Just shoot me now, won't you?

Any of you remember Bess Marvin? She and …


Tonight, on the phone:

My friend: What will we do with the 7-year-olds this summer? Any ideas?

Me: I was thinking of this camp Rachel's art teacher runs....there might still be room for our kids.

My friend: When is it? How much?

Me: Let me just search my inbox for the email she sent me last month...oh, um, wait...maybe not...

Okay, one email - there is one email I shouldn't have deleted. You know, 1 out of 10,878 is not too bad. I'm certainly not going to beat myself up about it. And right now? I have only 2 emails in my inbox. I am amazing.

But I still don't have that art camp info.

Also? Anna and I went shopping today to buy her a bathing suit (oh, yes, we did!), and no blood was spilled. No glares were leveled. No feelings were hurt. This could be the start of a new era, people, an era of peace, love, and understanding. Change is in the air, I tell you. I've seen it with my own eyes.

New Beginnings

Today? I deleted 10878 emails from my Yahoo inbox. All at once. I had to close my eyes when I hit delete, though - it felt like bungee jumping, only without the extreme height. Or the bungee cords. Or the part where you fall a thousand feet or so...

10,878 messages - that's a lot of RAM. Or gigabytes. Or whatever. My computer feels way lighter now. Imagine - I have only 1 (1!) message in my inbox. A burden has been lifted off my shoulders. My new existence, free of email guilt and procrastination, has commenced.

Who would thinka fresh start could be so simple?

"...It sounds a bit bizarre, but things the way they are, I feel as if another life's begun for me..."

[Photo credit: ActivityGifts]

Beyond Beyonce

Oh, this is such a great parody - I just want to make sure that no one misses it. Sing it, ladies!

Catchy, isn't it?


In the comments to Monday's post, some of you gave good reasons for reading my blog in a feed rather than here at the site. So I felt bad and put them back to full feed, for now. But remember! By staying in your reader, you're missing out on my cheerful polka-dotted header and my up-to-the-minute rotating Blog List. Even worse, you don't get to read the excellent comments I get.

Comments and polka dots - it just doesn't get any better than that...

As Time Goes By

After watching my home-from-college Theo spend yet another evening on his laptop, I felt constrained to ask, "You wanna play a game or something?"

"No, thanks," he said.

Really, I don't know why I asked. He's never been much of a games player. But, somehow, I couldn't let this one go. "So, uh, do you play card games at college?"

[Puzzled look from Theo]

"You know, cards - 52 of them, 4 suits, that sort of thing?"

"Oh! Oh, no, I guess not." He attempted to return to Facebook.

"Do the other kids play cards?" I persisted.

[Another puzzled look]

I warmed to my subject. "I remember playing Hearts and bridge at college; sometimes we'd get tired of cards and play some backgammon instead." Ooh, it was giving me the warm fuzzies, just thinking of it. "We drank orange soda and ate Doritos and stayed up all night playing those games. It was so much fun!"

[Silence. A polite silence, but silence neverth…


Now that I'm back from the land of ginger ale and pretzels, let's talk blogging. Jenn recently informed me that I don't get credit for a visit to my blog if someone reads my entire blog post in Google Reader or Bloglines. Considering that BlogHer Ads pays per impression, it makes monetary sense for me to display only a partial blog post in the feed. Call me mercenary, but I want that extra dollar or two a month, dammit.

Anywhoo, apparently I've breached blogging etiquette. Suzy announced on Twitter that lowdown Bloggers like me who refuse to put the entire feed in the reader will no longer be read by her. annahannah clicked through from her reader to comment, "I am done following you on google reader since you now make me click out of it to read. Seriously, that is soooo annoying."

Really, people - if I'm not worth that extra click, I don't know why you bother reading my blog anyway. Go do something useful with your time, and godspeed.

I did spen…

Paradise Lost

Whoops! Looks like I missed a few days there. Lest you think I was sitting here sulking over my lost Follower, let me inform you that this past weekend has been beautiful - paradisical, actually, with sunny, bright blue skies and low humidity - birds singing, leaves greening, the whole spring thing happening. There was no way in weather such as this that anyone could sit inside and blog.

In addition, approximately 67 festivals, market faires (of the "ye olde" variety), air shows, etc., were held in our general vicinity over the past 2 days. They all promised fun times in the friendly, not-yet-humid, not-yet-mosquito-ridden out of doors.

Unfortunately, I missed all that. I spent Saturday and Sunday lying in bed, dozing in and out of freaky nightmares, occasionally waking long enough to drag my sorry self downstairs to sip some flat ginger ale and munch on pretzels. During the few wakeful hours that I propped myself up on the couch, I figured out the toe-up cast-on for 2-at…

UnFollowed, UnLoved

It happened again - I lost a Follower. Was it sheer disgust at my failure as a parent that made someone go to the trouble to un-Follow me? Perhaps it was my pathetic, almost-daily whining over my lack of a dishwasher? Or maybe it was because no one vomits around here anymore?

I feel rejected.

In other news, today I shared my box of assorted chocolates with the children after dinner. Susie screamed at Brian for 10 full minutes after he selected the chocolate she claims she wanted (believe me, she didn't want it until he had it). So I took away her chocolate privileges for the evening. She screamed louder. I can't believe the windows didn't shatter.

Rachel feels important because she has an ENT appointment tomorrow. Larry and I have chosen not to explain to her what an adenoidectomy is. Ignorance is indeed bliss.

This afternoon David tried to elucidate for me the difference between a hard drive and RAM. I pretended to understand. He also walks around using words like…

6 Kids, No Clue

I have an alarming pain in the left side of my torso, and I've decided I'm probably dying of some dread disease the name of which I have yet to Google. Not wishing to shuffle off this mortal coil without tying up some loose ends, I must explain to anyone who will listen that our cute-as-a-button Susie is the caboose of our family, and - as such - has never had the salutory experience of being replaced by an infant interloper who demands all the attention.

In other words, it is not my fault that she is spoiled.

You see, I would have happily continued having babies until the arrival of the first grandbaby, thereby keeping any one child from being the youngest in this family for too long. Alas, my peri-menopausal body, apparently deciding enough is enough, has inadvertently granted Susie the coveted title of "Baby of the Family" well into her kindergarten-age dotage.

Susie, unlike all her displaced siblings at age 5, needs help. She needs help getting dressed; she need…

New Horizons

My plan for Mother's Day went well, although next year I must remember to clean the entire house (and not just the bathrooms) in preparation for my big day. It was hard to relax with all the clutter around. Also, I had to kill a centipede while Larry was out. I left the carcass for him to dispose of, however.

I did succeed in pulling out all my yarn stash and rearranging it and putting it all away again. I also untangled my half-finished projects, sorted my needles, and emptied out all my knitting bags.

(Believe it or not, non-knitters, this was a fun activity. I've been looking forward to it. And, I found a York Peppermint Patty in one of the bags. Bonus!)

You see, I have big plans this week, my friends, BIG plans. As soon as my size 0 40" circulars arrive (in 4-5 business days), I am going to learn to knit socks 2-at-a-time from the toe up.

I know! You're as excited as I am, I'm sure.

So! After opening the chocolate Larry gave me this morning (and duly sharin…

A Mother's Fantasy

Bathroom-cleaning day is on Sunday around here; but I scrubbed the toilets and tubs today instead. Why? Well, because I wanted to have a housecleaning-free Mother's Day.

If you think about it, the level of self-deception required to rationalize the above is quite impressive.

My idea of a day off also includes not having to hear children whine for food. So I am going to bag and label their lunches and put them in the fridge. Tonight.

A tad extreme? Maybe. But I find I am needing some time when I am not doing anything for someone else. Also? I want an entire day when I do not have to order people around. I am so sick of the sound of my own voice.

(Note to Larry: do not say, "Yeah, I know what you mean.")

I have a sort of fantasy of motherhood, you see - a sort of throwback to 50's TV, I suppose - where I lounge on the couch in my tidy house; clothed attractively in my pedal pushers and cute blouse, I am holding a book and a glass of something cold and refreshing, wh…

When In Doubt, Drink Milkshakes

We got a late start this morning. Our weekly library visit, plus an essential fabric store visit, ran us past lunchtime. On the way back home, the children were (loudly) bemoaning their state of starvation in the car whilst refusing all offers of available sustenance. I told them 'twas better to eat a single granola bar than to curse the hunger.

No one listened to me.

I'm popping popcorn for the kids now (after dutifully neglecting them after lunch while I dozed on and off for an hour like the 80-year-old I'm not) and I put extra oil in the pot. It's that sort of a reckless day, you know? And now I think I may have invented deep-fried popcorn. Serendipity is my friend.

And that's all I've got, folks. Some days my muse deserts me. She's probably over at Chik-Fil-A, drinking a peach milkshake. Because I know that's where I'd like to be right now, if I were 10 pounds lighter.

I have a skinny muse.

[Candle Photo Credit: Old Shoes-New Trip blog]

The New Normal

It's been hot and humid here lately, unseasonably so. So it was a relief last night when things cooled down enough to allow me to shut off the over-achieving ceiling fan in our bedroom.

"Why'd you turn it off?" asked my beloved. "It's still hot in here."

"It's not too bad," I told him. "And this way I can sleep."

"You can't sleep with it on?"

"The way it ruffles my hair, I dream my head is itching. So I wake up and it still feels itchy and I can't get back to sleep because I'm thinking I have head lice and my heart starts pounding."

Silence. Larry still doesn't like to talk about the Year of the Head Lice. Then,

"You do know this isn't normal?" he said.

Well, no, it isn't. But I never promised him normal, did I?


Someone named *m* left me a question in the comments yesterday about how Theo manages his dairy allergies at college. Since I can find no way to m…

Ladies and Gentlemen, Place Your Bets

I bought a set of 12 matching glasses (6 tall, 6 short) at Target today.

(I know! The excitement! It's overwhelming.)

We only had 3 glasses (mismatched) left at home. So now I'm wondering how long this set will last. Anyone care to take bets? Let's say that once we are down 50 percent (3 or less of both sizes), we have reached our goal.

Remember - our kitchen boasts granite countertops and a stone tile floor. When we drop breakables? I swear, sometimes they bow to the inevitable by shattering in mid-air. Also, recall - the dishwasher(s) is/are broken, meaning that unhappy children dry everything by hand.

My bet? 6 1/2 weeks. 45 days, to be exact. And I think that would be a record around here.

Feeling Sheep-ish

I finally attended Sheep and Wool Day today. "You have to go!" every knitting acquaintance has exhorted me for the past 3 years. "It's fantastic!" They should have added, "Weather permitting..."

It was over 90 degrees today, with humidity to match. Mix that with livestock smells, and the day did not augur well. I wisely left the children home, suspecting I would have a whinefest of major proportions on my hands. I met a friend instead; together we walked around amid the sweaty multitudes and looked at yarn, and llamas, and sheep-shearing, and yarn, and alpacas, and more yarn. I entered a raffle for a spinning wheel. Even though I don't spin. I guess I got carried away by the excitement of it all.

You want to hear the amazing part? I didn't buy anything (except food). No uber-expensive yarn, no adorable clay buttons, not even an alpaca or two. That's not to say I wasn't tempted by a certain bag of llama poop compost - it would be …