Showing posts from August, 2013

Those Damn Painted Ponies

We had a belated bowling party for Rachel today.  Her birthday always lands somewhere during our summer vacation, so we end up postponing the festivities, as she doesn't consider a McDonald's Apple Pie with a candle stuck in it to be an appropriate commemoration of the day of her birth.

Entitlement, folks - it runs rampant around here.

We invited about 15 girls to the party, and - its being August - only 4 of them could make it.  That beats Anna's 11th birthday party - only 2 girls could make it to that one; and then, just to make the day extra special, they both ended up giving Anna the exact same present

So Larry and I ended up driving 6 girls (Susie rounded out the guest list) to pizza and bowling.  The guy at the bowling alley looked at us sort of funny when our small crew walked in, as we were required to pay for 12 guests in order to book the party.  The party room did feel a little large for us - add to that the fact that most of the girls who attended fit the cl…

Time Warp

When I hear the name Linda Ronstadt, I picture a 20-something ingenue with long hair and a heart-shaped face.  At the same time, I hear her singing "Blue Bayou" in my head.  Also, her cover of the Buddy Holly song "That'll Be The Day" - I hear that, too.  And have I mentioned that I saw her live in The Pirates of Penzance in Central Park?  She played opposite Kevin Kline.

Why am I inflicting on you these unsolicited reminiscences?  An article tonight on the home page of The New York Times announces that Linda Ronstadt is suffering from Parkinsons and cannot sing anymore.  My Rip-van-Winkle brain simply can't wrap itself around the reality of her current picture; nor can it grasp the idea of that voice being silenced.

Folks, the confusion this engenders in my psyche is second only to that which I experience when gazing into the bathroom mirror in the morning.  Who IS that person there, anyway?  And don't even talk to me about the vacation photos I just s…


Well, I've come up with a new way to determine whether or not someone is the crafter type.  All you do is show them this website.  If they go "Hunh" and shrug their shoulders in a non-committal way?  Not crafty.  If, however, they react as my Rachel did - i.e., "Oh, wow, that's the neatest thing ever!" and immediately start cutting plastic grocery bags into strips to use as plastic yarn (plarn)?  Crafty.

 So, yes, today was spent crocheting plastic strips into bug-proof, waterproof sleeping mats for children in Haiti.  Crafty and virtuous!  We won't talk about the first 3 attempts that I had to tear out - sure would help if somewhere among these online instructions someone had mentioned that I needed an N size hook.  But no matter...the girls are inspired and I feel useful.  Join us!

[Plastic mat image: Island Dreams]

Early To Bed...

Time to catch up...

I haven't posted since Wednesday because I realized that I felt much better during our camping vacation when I was getting to sleep at a reasonable hour every evening.  So I've been trying to do the same here, but - as you can see - it has seriously affected my ability to blog.  Blog?  Sleep?  I don't know yet which one will win out.

It has been over 6 weeks since my ears were pierced, but I still haven't tried to change out the earrings because I'm scared to remove the ones I have in.  Anyone care to come over and help me out here?  I feel like an idiot.

I have way too much crap in my house.  TOO MUCH.  I almost felt better living in the pop-up, just because it wasn't cluttered.   I need to do something about this situation, I know.  I mean, aside from the solution I suggested to Larry last week - run away from home and live in the camper.

I must say, much as I dislike the whole concept of camping, I LOVE hanging out with other campers.  Yo…

Lessons From Camping

No campground bathroom will be perfect.  We stayed the last 2 days at a place with bathrooms that were practically brand new.  It boasted automatic sinks, automatic paper towel dispensers, and that new fancy hand dryer that actually works.  The shower area had a nice long bench plus individual dressing areas for each shower.  Seriously, just looking at this bathroom brought tears to my eyes, even before I discovered the thermostat that allowed one to turn on the heat on chilly mornings.  A heated bathroom! 

The snake in this Eden?  There were no hooks near the sinks to hang a toiletry bag on.  NO HOOKS.  Every campground bathroom needs hooks.  How else are you supposed to unzip your bag and get your toothbrush out?

And let's just not talk about the mouse, okay? 

You will only be able to locate those items that you do not need at that particular time.  For the first 5 days of our trip, I KNEW where my Carmex was.  I knew where it was because it kept showing up.  I'd look in m…

Mission Accomplished

We're back from our camping adventure in Cape Cod. (And still married!  Miracles never cease.)  For today, I present to you photographic evidence of the realization of my long-desired goal - to once again taste a certain delectable hot-weather treat obtainable in only one (very) small state. On our way up to the Cape, Larry and I made a detour through Newport, RI, ostensibly to remind the kids of all our favorite haunts in that lovely town, but really? We were plotting to get our hands on some authentic Del's Frozen Lemonade, a delicacy too infrequently sampled during our year-long sojourn there, an entire decade ago.

It took some doing, as there was no available parking at the beach; but David and Brian and I jumped out of the van and ran to the Del's truck while Larry circled around and around, trying to look inconspicuous despite the camping trailer and 6 bicycles he had in tow.  "6 mediums and hurry!" I barked at the hapless college student manning the truc…

Pee Me A River

It's no secret here that I have been pregnant 6 times.  And sometime during every one of those pregnancies, I would end up with a killer cold that left me with a hacking, never-ending cough.  And, what with all the pressure on my bladder, coughing meant peeing in my pants.  Every. Single. Time.

I hated that.

I remember trying to take a walk - hacking away like a TB patient, I would have to stop and lean on lamp posts, with my legs crossed, all in an effort to keep from wetting my pants.  I had to wear maxi-pads, just in case, which seemed terribly unfair, as one of the benefits of pregnancy is that you aren't menstruating and therefore shouldn't have to wear those things for 9 months.  But I comforted myself with the thought that, once I was done having babies, I would no longer have to wear any sort of ANYTHING in my underwear.  I could actually be a normal human being again.

 But, um, 6 babies, people.  I emerged from the baby years with the realization that there would …

Sibling Lament

We finally hit the road at 11:15 this morning.  Or, to put it another way, over 3 hours later than we had planned to get going on our road trip/vacation.  It wasn't pretty, folks, but we've made it halfway; hopefully tomorrow will go better.

This morning -- while Larry and David wrestled with the bicycles and came up with a VERY creative way to tie 3 of them to the top of the pop-up camper (creative in that it involved one rectangular fold-up table and LOTS of rope) -- I ran around the house, trying to clean up and ordering the younger kids around.  At one point, hearing Brian and Rachel snapping at each other, I said, "Come on, guys! We're not even in the car yet.  You can't possibly be on each other's nerves yet."

This statement was followed by a silence long enough that it allowed me to start congratulating myself on my superior parenting skills, getting my squabbling children to see reason like that; but then, from the front hall, came Brian's voi…

Photo Finish

We are experiencing our typical pre-camping trip frenzy here, trying to do laundry and pack and maybe even print out some Mapquest directions to where we are going tomorrow.

That's right, folks - we still don't have GPS.  What really bugs me is that Larry persists in thinking that it's really modern and cool to go to Google Maps or Mapquest.  "Oh, I'll Mapquest that," he says airily to people we know, not realizing how 2003 he sounds.  Embarrassing.

Adding to the vacation prep confusion was our realization (at about 7 this evening) that we do not own a working camera, aside from the one on Larry's IPod Touch.

I know!  It's like a Flintstones episode, only without the pet dinosaur.

Now, normally, Larry (aka Mr. Spreadsheet) would be researching Consumer Reports and a zillion other websites to figure out exactly how many pixels we need and how much zoom and all that.  Then he would have to find the cheapest camera that fit his specifications.  The proce…

Out For Blood

We cannot walk out our door right now without being set upon by what must be the most hyperactive mosquitoes known to man.  It has gotten to the point where I WANT to go camping, just to get away from these horrible creatures.  True story - last year, over 8 days of camping in central NY, I received only one mosquito bite.  ONE.  That's right - I can live outside somewhere else and still not suffer the way I do here, with window screens and children trained to CLOSE THE DOOR DAMMIT and multiple applications of bug spray.

I am living in hell.  A mosquito-ridden hell.  I'm sure Dante had mosquitoes in one of his Circles, they just got lost in translation.

When we adults stand around outside talking, as neighbors are wont to do, we end up doing this funny little dance where we are slapping first one calf and then the other, in a futile attempt to stop these blood-suckers from biting.  "So, you're going away next week?" Slap, slap.  "Yes, we're heading to th…

Packing Lists

Okay, we're all feeling a little better now.  But while we were sick, someone from the 1990's stopped by and left a pile of phone books on our front porch.  Any ideas on what to do with these anachronistic monstrosities?  I don't have any kids young enough to need a booster seat anymore.

I think I'm supposed to be getting ready for our camping trip to Cape Cod.  Although, aside from the 15 loads of laundry I always end up doing the day before we leave, I can't really think of what I need to do.  I mean, I've already bought the requisite camping junk food.  Maybe I'll just go through my yarn stash and plan my knitting activities for the week.  Although that might bring on another attempt by Larry at an intervention...

I've got a pile of books (left from my birthday) to pack, too.  I keep looking at it and rubbing my hands together in anticipatory glee.  There's non-fiction memoir-type stuff, as usual: one by Dani Shapiro called Slow Motion, another …

Plague Alert

I'd like to blog, but I'm too busy catching some new plague from my kids.  Headache, fatigue, sore throat - all the fun stuff.  Brian and Larry are the only ones not felled by this monster yet.  SO, I spent the day watching the house get messier and messier.  Cuddling a sick Susie.  Watching "I Love Lucy" episodes. Making more jam, because ripening peaches wait for no man (or woman, for that matter).  Oh, and I had to go to the grocery store 3 (count them, 3!) times, even though I spent no less than 600 DOLLARS at the commissary only yesterday.

My life is sort of stupid, sometimes. 

Maybe tomorrow I can tell you all about my new FitFlops, and our upcoming "vacation," and whatever else is happening around here.  Right now, I'm going to pop some more Excedrin and go to bed.  Some Mondays really aren't worth getting up for.

Survivor - Lego Version

For some reason, for the THIRD YEAR IN A ROW, I was nominated to be the parent who takes Brian to the much-ballyhooed BrickFair, a Lego fest of unprecedented proportions.  And, really, for a decent description of this affair, just read last year's account.  Only, this year, we arrived ahead of opening time, so we wouldn't have to be at the end of a long line that wrapped all the way around the huge convention hall, the way it did last year. 

Unfortunately, everyone else did the same thing.  So we waited in a huge line for half an hour.  But that's okay, it wasn't raining - much.  And, hey, it wasn't 95 degrees.  Plus, the vendors were handing out all sorts of freebies to keep us happy.  I saw from the event maps they gave us that the dreaded Lego Bingo would be happening once again.  (I told you, read last year's post.)  The convention hall - once we got in - was mobbed with people, sending my crowd-averse self into spasms of anxiety; and the loudspeakers were …

Rip Van Winkle Watches TV

Today was one of those days where it wasn't hot enough for me to realize that the humidity was killing me.  I languished all afternoon, wondering why I wasn't getting anything accomplished and pondering the futility of all human endeavor, until Larry came home from work and said, essentially, "WTF?" and turned on the air conditioning.

I feel better now.  The hazelnut chocolate a friend brought me from Italy helped also.  I have nice friends. 

In other news, I have finally gotten around to watching the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice.  I know!  I haven't really lived until now.  Watching Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy smolder with repressed passion is like a hazelnut chocolate bar for my soul.  Sigh.

So now I am watching it AGAIN with a friend who has been similarly deprived.  I'm just wondering what in the world there is to watch once we are done with it.  I mean, what can even remotely measure up?  Suggestions?

[Milka Hazelnut image: Austrian Supermarket