NaBloSoSlo

Posted on 11/30/2008 02:46:00 AM In:
If there's only one reason why I've done National Blog Posting Month each year for the past three years, it's probably to exhaust the possibility of all the puns I can abuse using the abbreviation for the event and that's really it. Here's a little run down of all the iterations of NaBloPoMo. I'm quite proud. I know you will be too.

NaBloMe
NaBloUToo
NaBloNoMo
NaBloMoFo
NaBloFU
NaBloSoLo
NaBloMeSomMo
NaBloPoMe
NoBloOhNo
NaBloOnceMo

This year I've had a harder time than most coming up with original thoughts to publish. There were a lot of photos in the last week when I was busy being sick, working a conference, trying to still be a mother and saying goodbye to a longtime pet. But there was a post for every day and that's all that counts, right? Of course, right.

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You Know What's Really Nice?

Posted on 11/29/2008 05:58:00 AM
Having a baby that puts itself away when you are done playing with it.


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Buy Nothing Day

Posted on 11/28/2008 06:06:00 AM
One of my biggest pet peeves about the holiday season is the term Black Friday and all it represents. We almost never go to a store or a mall on the Friday after Thanksgiving just on principle. if we do, it's to window shop and watch people act crazy, not to shop.

That's why I'm thrilled to participate in
Buy Nothing Day this year. I was hoping to find a nice Zombie Walk to invite you all to attend, (although the the Whirl-Mart sounds infinitely interesting too with the added bonus of pissing off the powers that be at Wal-Mart) but there doesn't seem to be anything organized in my area and I'm thinking it's a little too late to start planning. So instead, enjoy this video and think for a second or two before spending a bunch of money on stuff most people don't need and only vaguely want. I know that I've been sucked into the "stuff" mentality of Christmas in the past, despite my best intentions. I'm making a renewed effort to consider the following this year when we plan for Christmas. Ultimately, what my kids really crave is time with me, not things. I'm hoping to keep that in mind more this year.


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Thanks for Nothing Day

Posted on 11/27/2008 07:46:00 AM In:
Last year on Thanksgiving I posted the somewhat predictable, Thirteen Things for Which I am Thankful -- chalk it up to hormones. This year, I'll attempt to appease Monica, whose cold, black heart hates Thanksgiving, and inform you of the opposite.


Thirteen Things for Which I am Decidedly UnThankful:
  1. Constant media speculation about Black Friday, how crowded the mall will be, and how much money stores will make - especially in "this economy."
  2. The ridiculously awful song, Christmas Shoes, which will now be playing on the radio every time I get in the car, causing me to yell, "Gaaaaaaaaahhh!" whenever I hear it.
  3. Having to go to the grocery store the night before Thanksgiving for ONE THING and finding it's located in the spice aisle.
  4. Waking up in the middle of the night and seeing clothes lying on the floor, which I constantly mistake to be the cat I just put to sleep.
  5. Having so much work to do that I'd rather go into the office to get it all done than stay home on Thanksgiving.
  6. When you live on the West Coast, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade starts at 6:00 am and is well over by 9:00 am giving you something to watch on television in those early morning hours before you feel like getting up to consider cooking a meal. When you live on the East Coast like I do now, it doesn't start until 9:00. I'll bet I haven't seen a full fifteen minutes of that parade once since I've lived here.
  7. Waking up at two in the morning, chocking on my own snot. (I apologize for the uncomfortable image that must paint, but take solace in the fact that really it's much worse when you're the one doing the choking.)
  8. Airports. And babies who throw fits in them. When you're with a friend who doesn't have kids. And now probably never will.
  9. Colleagues who happen to be on the same flight as you and complain to your face about the child that sat behind them on the first leg of the journey who talked and made noise "all the way to Chicago" while you are standing there with your two kids who will probably do the exact same thing once you board the plane you are waiting in line to get on in just a few minutes.
  10. That that same colleague seems to have forgotten he/she has two kids of his/her own because he/she just happens to be traveling alone today.
  11. Refrigerators that aren't big enough to hold a turkey brining container which contains Out of this World Turkey Brine and a thirteen pound turkey (free, thanks to Parent Bloggers' Network) requiring you to rearrange the entire contents of the fridge.
  12. Spending six hours cleaning the house the week before I went out of town just so I could come home to a clean house and then having two children completely undo those efforts less than fifteen minutes after walking through the door.
  13. Molasses


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The Trouble With Angels

Posted on 11/27/2008 05:10:00 AM
I know, I still haven't done anything about her hair. But if I cut it, then the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem won't apply anymore. And what a shame that would be.

There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.


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Lizzy Borden Took an Axe...

Posted on 11/26/2008 04:55:00 AM In:
I'm under no delusions that my cat was one of the best cats out there. Ever since I brought her home to my doorstep at eight weeks old, she's been a bit well... psychotic. I'd often wondered over the years if it was worth purchasing some kitty Prozac on the black market to calm her nerves a bit. There was just something off about her from the start.

Perhaps it was the fact that she was an all black cat. Perhaps it was because I named her for the infamous parricide that Lizzy Borden allegedly committed. I expected her to be the sweet version of a kitten who curled up on my lap, slept on my feet at night and played adorably with string when I dangled it in front of her face. Whatever the reason, she just wasn't cuddly and cute like other cats.


Sure she started out sweet enough. I brought her home as a tiny kitten, full of possibilities. I'd come home from work each night and she'd run to the door and jump up and sit on my shoulder, purring like a jet engine. Her favorite activity involved chasing paper wads I'd tear off the Washington Post, ball up and throw for her. When I'd come home from work, I'd find all the paper wads in the house, neatly stacked in a corner of the living room after she'd spent the day organizing.

But soon she developed the personality I'd come to know and despise. The one who'd sidle up to me, purring, and put her head under my hand to be scratched. Then just when I let my guard down and thought all was calm and bright and we were having a moment, she'd randomly attack my hand and bite a hole through my fingernail.

Her fun involved readying herself in the hallway as I brushed my teeth every night, then attacking my bare feet as I'd try to make it from the bathroom to the bedroom without sustaining scratch marks on my ankles. Or noticing that my feet moved slightly under the bedsheet and pouncing on the bump with razor sharp claws. Or finding a box, any box no matter what size, and sitting in it - or more aptly on it. Then hissing and spitting when the owner of the box decided the box would be better used by housing what it was intended to house rather than an overweight, stubborn cat.

The Dormouse came to fear and respect her, giving her a wide berth whenever possible. If she walked through a room and Lizzy was lying in the middle of it, she'd back up against the wall and inch along it, just so there was no chance that the cat could attack her ankles on the way through. Eventually the cat learned she could just hiss at her and elicit a crying jag that began with, "Lizzy hurt my feelings!" and
signaled the world's end. The Caterpillar was on her way to fearing and respecting Lizzy in the same fashion.

It's not like she didn't come by it honestly. I suppose I wasn't all that much a picnic as an owner either. I tortured her with bringing children into the house she was not asked about nor provided approval for. I unreasonably discouraged her from going outside to eat grass and then return to the house to barf it all up on the kitchen floor. I tried to put her on diets when she weighed eighteen pounds. When she snored at night (yes, this cat actually snored) and woke me up, I kicked her off the bed. I tortured her with love and strokes and holding her still on my lap. I did random things like dress her up for Halloween. She was not amused by any of my costume creations and all of her disguises ended up being marked by an emotion: Angry Unicorn, Angry Santa's Elf, Angry Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, etc. I thought it was hilarious. She was unamused.

But there were also moments where we connected too. She was my constant during lonely nights when I first moved to the Washington area and even though she would sometimes attack my forearm without warning like it was an errant mouse trying to sneak into the her territory, she was there... a part of my life that was undeniable. She was there on cold winter nights and breezy summer evenings when I sat on the balcony with her on the lookout for squirrels that might dare to invade our area. She watched the first episodes of Friends with me. She jumped into the toilet late at night when I got up to use the bathroom causing me to bathe a urine soaked feline at two in the morning. She watched me cry while watching news reports of the Oklahoma city bombing, the space shuttle disaster, the twin towers. She outlasted boyfriends, friends, jobs and apartments. She preceeded children and husbands... well, husband. No matter what a pain in the ass she was, she was also my companion through it all.

I feel badly that the blood clot that was finally her undoing happened while we were out of town last week. We got back late Sunday night and when I didn't see her upstairs I simply assumed that she was just angry about having been left alone. In recent years, there'd always been the second cat to keep her company and in the two years since we'd lost him, she'd dealt with being left when we went out of town more and more poorly. The next morning she was listless and unlike her but I waited, foolishly thinking that she just needed to eat something and would perk up. She must have been cold and scared and when I brought her to the vet last night she seemed almost relieved. I didn't want her to be in pain any more and I know I made the right decision for her. There was no treatment. But I'm sorry I wasn't there for her when she'd been there for me on so many occasions. She was a member of my family and she deserved at least that much. I hope she can forgive me for that.

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Red Leaves and My Girl

Posted on 11/25/2008 05:07:00 AM

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All Alone

Posted on 11/24/2008 05:08:00 AM

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Fall

Posted on 11/23/2008 05:59:00 AM
Normally, my neighborhood is kinda slumsville. But during the Fall, it's a whole new place. It almost looks like some one might enjoy living there.




And this always helps to cute up the place a bit.


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Maybe I Could Just Keep Her in the Cabinet

Posted on 11/22/2008 07:04:00 AM
It would make things a lot easier. But then where would I keep the pitcher?


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A Little Fall Color

Posted on 11/21/2008 05:55:00 AM

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Reproducing Ivy

Posted on 11/20/2008 05:53:00 AM
The house next door to me which has been empty for waaay too long, has this ivy growing all over the side of the house. I've been trying to grow ivy on the one side of my house where nothing else grows for a few years now and I went over to "borrow" some cuttings when I found this. I never realized before how ivy "blooms" in the early winter. Of course I've lived next door to this house for a decade. Color me unobservant.

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I'd Rather Not

Posted on 11/19/2008 06:28:00 AM
Would you rather....

Stick your tongue on something cold and metal or pee on an electric fence?
Tongue on cold metal. I've stuck my tongue to enough ice cubes to know how to get out of that one, but peeing on an electric fence? Thankfully, I have no experience with that.

Do the dishes or clean the bedroom?
I generally leave both undone - it's what makes me consistent.

Do your homework or kiss your teacher?
Depends on the teacher.

Have a fever or have the chills?
I generally don't get one without the other.

Take a needle or have a tooth pulled?
Needle - takes less time.

Lose a finger or lose a toe?
Lose a toe - you can't play most instruments with a missing finger. Toes are generally optional.

Be caught stealing or caught cheating?
I guess it depends on the magnitude of the stolen or cheated thing. I'd rather be caught stealing a pack of gum than cheating on my taxes, for example.

Be in an accident or cause an accident?
Be in an accident. That way I get to feel righteous indignation toward the other guy. Causing one leaves you with no one but yourself to blame.

Run down the street naked or in lingere?
Really, no one wants to see either. I consider it a service to the human race that I have never chosen to become a nudist.

Have no eyes or have no ears?
What was that Helen Keller said? "Blindness cuts you off from things. Deafness cuts you off from people."

Go a month without internet or without tv?
WHAT KIND OF EVIL MONSTER WOULD MAKE YOU CHOOSE SUCH A THING? THIS IS LIKE SOPHIE'S CHOICE.

Get a wedgie or a wet willie?
Aren't both equally creepy?

Have bad breath or bad B-O?
With bad breath, you can at least keep your mouth closed.

Get a bad haircut or go bald?
I've had lots of bad haircuts. But I've threatened to shave my head lots of times and never gone through with it.

Spend a day with Richard Simmons or Peewee Herman?
Peewee Herman. Here's something I've never admitted to anyone: When I was in college, I watched Pee Wee's Playhouse every Saturday morning and found him and the show fascinating. Did you know that Laurence Fishburne, S. Epatha Merkerson, and Phil Hartman were all cast members on that show? (Maybe it would be better if I didn't know that.) Of course, I'd definitely have to choose where and when to spend that day with Paul Reubens. Hanging out with him in a dark movie theater would probably not be the best choice of activities to share.

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Fall Canopy

Posted on 11/19/2008 05:52:00 AM
I love how the leaves on my neighbor's tree turn on the west side of the tree first. It looks like the sun is reflecting off of them rather than they're turning color. If I stare at it really hard, it looks like a really bright sunset and not just the death of all living things.

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The Limits of Privacy

Posted on 11/18/2008 06:15:00 AM
When I was little and one of us kids got a little too close to my mother's, um shall we say... decolletage... she would always shoo us away and say, "There's a limit..." Meaning, There's a limit to the lack of privacy one woman can stand, or There's a limit to just how far I'll let you kids embarrass me in public or There's a limit I just won't let you kids pass despite the fact that the birth process alone has cost me my last shred of dignity and I have none left.

I don't know if he remembers this, but until my brother was about five years old, he thought that breasts were really called "a limit." This conversation reminded me of that:

KoH: "Why are you pulling on your pants?"


DM: "Because my underwear is stuck to my privacy."

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Foxtail

Posted on 11/18/2008 05:51:00 AM

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Motherhood and Me

Posted on 11/17/2008 09:33:00 AM In:
Parenthood Meme
Stolen from Sissy.

When was the first time you envisioned yourself as a mother?
About three months after The Dormouse was born. What can I say? I'm a little slow.

Was your pregnancy planned?
Two were. One surprised us and I didn't know I was pregnant until very late in the game. Long story.

Who was the first person you told?
The BabyDaddy. And then my husband.

Were you scared? If so of what?
Terrified... every time. Past experience.

Did you find out if you were having a girl or a boy?
Yes. All three times.

If so why? If not, why not?
I figure it's a surprise whenever you find out. Waiting just increases the chances that I'll have to return that peepee teepee I got as a shower gift. And I hate returning things.

Was the birthing process hard?
Easy peazy. The doctors did all the hard work.

How would you rate yourself as a mother?
Eh.

What would you like to improve on?
Patience, patience, patience patiencepatiencepatiencepatiencepatience .

Why are your children lucky to have you as a Mother?
Truthfully, I think there are some reasons why they're really lucky to have me and some reasons why they are decidedly unlucky. I'm definitely not your average mother experience.

What do you feel is the key to a great relationship with your children?
Wow. I wish I could say I really knew. In general though, I think listening is the most important thing a parent can do... to what they say and what they don't say.

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Girly Time

Posted on 11/16/2008 06:38:00 AM
Yesterday I had a bunch of errands to do and we decided that it would be faster if I went alone while The KoH stayed home with the girls. I was out much of the morning enjoying the heady, glorious feeling of being unfettered with children each time I had to get out of the car. There are a lot of things I really love about having kids and I wouldn't trade them for anything on earth, but if someone could tell me how to keep my kids and avoid the in the car, out the car, seat belt, car seat, scream loudly to avoid getting put in the car seat, drag them both with you wherever you go, can't even leave them in the car for a minute because someone might call the cops, rigamarole that you have to go through for every trip outside the home, I might just kiss that person on the lips. (Actually, I think the answer to that request begins with "live in" and ends with "nanny," but that's not really a line item in my budget.)

I had to drop off the cat at home after a vet appointment and then intended to go back out and get a pedicure, something I only do once in a great moon, but when your five year old daughter starts picking the dead skin off your feet, it's time to seek professional help. I ducked my head in the house to open the pet carrier and free the beleaguered beast, and The KoH suggested I take The Dormouse with me. I'd had almost one full hour of freedom so my motherhood guilt was already starting to tell me I was enjoying this too much and neglecting my children. With that one comment, he managed to make me feel sufficiently contrite to cave and let her come to get a pedicure with me.

On the way there, though The Dormouse's improvised song of "Ped-i-cure, ped-i-cure, I'm gonna get a ped-i-cure," I finally asked,

"Do you know where are we going?"

"To get our toenails painted... and then we're going to get a pedicure."

"Honey, do you know what a pedicure is?"

"No."

Despite it being a rather girly thing to do, we had a nice mother/daughter day together. She was thrilled to pick out the most vivid purple nail polish I've ever seen in my life and was fascinated by the paraffin wax treatment they gave me because apparently my heels were that far gone. She even got to stick her feet in the whirlpool and they let her take home the toe separators as a souvenir. What more could a kid want?


The Caterpillar gets her own pedicure... but is unhappy with the size selection of the toe separators.

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Death of a Pumpkin

Posted on 11/16/2008 05:50:00 AM

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Alcohol Comes Better Disguised

Posted on 11/15/2008 07:54:00 AM In:
Each year I like to create some little handmade item that The Dormouse can help with to give away as Christmas presents to friends, colleagues and acquaintances and random people who drop by with a gift and I don't have anything to give back. I've done small bottles of Russian Spice Tea, Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin seeds, and a host of other things that sounded like a good idea at the time but turned into waaaay more work than I intended.

Here's what I'm doing this year: Homemade vanilla extract.

It's the easiest thing in the world too, but you have to start now.

This is where I got the recipe and they have a much more elegant description of how to make it than I will have here, so you might want to click on that link. But here's the jist:

Buy a bottle of Stoli and a dozen vanilla beans. Actually, I got Smirnoff, I just like saying the word Stoli -- stoli, stoli, stoli. I found Vanilla flavored Smirnoff and decided to try that. I'm hoping it doesn't backfire on me.

Here's what you have to know about vanilla beans that surprised the heck out of me: they are dayamn expensive. Seriously a dozen beans is gonna run you at least forty bucks. I had no idea. I went to Whole Foods to pick them up and found them on sale for about $4 bucks a bean, but I could have paid as much as $8 a bean for beans from Papa New Guinea, Tonga or some other far away place. Some regular grocery stores like Giant also carry whole vanilla beans, but they are much more mangier and anemic than the ones I found at Whole Foods and about the same price.

OK, now you pretty much have everything you need. Here are the very complicated instructions:

  1. Cut each of the vanilla beans in half lengthwise and shove them into the bottle of vodka.
  2. Put the top back on.
  3. Put the bottle on the windowsill. Shake it occasionally.
  4. Forget about it until Christmas. (the beans need to steep for about two months)

The end.


OK - not really the end, because I have yet to get The Dormouse get involved in the project. When she's in the house over the Thanksgiving holiday, I'm having her draw pictures and write "Homemade Vanilla" on some mailing labels. Once the vanilla is through steeping, I'll pour it into small decorative bottles. Then we'll stick The Dormouse's label on them, tie a ribbon around them and voila... instant homemade Christmas gifts.

I'm most looking forward to giving them to uptight church ladies who have no idea that real vanilla extract is about 80 proof anyway.

This post was written for Parent Bloggers Network as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by Klutz.

Edited to add: If you're just reading this and are considering this as a project, I've posted a follow-up here. It might be helpful. It might not. It might just give you something to occupy your time while you're waiting for your porn to download.

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Grabby Sam

Posted on 11/15/2008 07:02:00 AM
The problem with taking The Caterpillar to any store is that she's into the Grabby Sam stage of development, where she'll risk life and limb to get whatever catches her eye. While shopping, this means that even when she's sitting happily in the basket of the shopping cart, as we pass by some desired item she will lean out to grab what she wants without regard to the fact that she'll throw off her center of gravity and end up backasswards on the floor if you're not there to catch her. Or when she decides she's done with the cart, without notice she'll just stand up and heave her weight toward you over the bar, fully expecting you to catch her before she lands like a splattered orange on the concrete floor.

Leaving her out of the cart isn't an appropriate option either. In that case she'll clear every shelf below twenty four inches of it's stacked items like an excited Great Dane puppy sweeping everything off the coffee table when he wags his tail.
The other day I discovered the secret to going to the store with The Caterpillar and I'm going to share it with you because I'm altruistic like that. Here goes:

Let her pick up something right away and latch onto it - encourage her to get two, one for each hand. Then she can walk all around the store on her own power as she wishes, you don't have to be constantly on alert for when she decides to stand up in the cart and hoist herself out, and because her hands are full she won't try to pick anything else up. You don't have to bend over every thirty seconds to put back something she's knocked off the shelves.
Then just before you go check out, take the two things away from her and put them back. There will be some protest, but by this time she's begun to tire of her items anyway and it generally doesn't last long.

The other morning we went to CVS and she picked up two toilet plungers. If you want to get a bunch of raised eyebrow looks from strangers, let your baby walk around the CVS with toilet plungers in both hands.

Hey, it works.

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Dance Dance Revolution

Posted on 11/14/2008 09:25:00 PM
The Caterpillar is starting to develop a personality and it's really a lot of fun when she's not screeching like Satan's spawn, that is. I'll be sitting in my chair typing or watching television while she's wandering around and absentmindedly look down to realize that she's picked one of The Dormouse's dirty socks out of the hamper, stuck it in my hand and wandered off again. I'm not sure exactly why she's handing me dirty socks, but she seems to be pretty serious about it.

She has also started dancing whenever she hears music:



She seems pretty proud of herself too.



Of course she might need to learn a few new steps.



There seems to be a theme here.

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Perspective

Posted on 11/13/2008 04:35:00 AM
Every so often, whether it's to get her out of my hair or to occupy her when we're waiting in line for something and I'd rather not deal with the constant, "Mom look. Momma. Mom. Mommommommommommommommommom," that The Dormouse inevitably needs to repeat to draw attention to herself and I don't want to deal with the judgmental looks from others when I eventually snap and yell, "FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, WHAAAAAAAAAT?", I set my camera on auto mode, put the strap around her neck and tell her to go take some pictures. (Hey, that whole paragraph was one sentence, are you impressed?)

The other day, she was home from school - which, since kindergarten started has become a fate worse than death for us. She has trouble adjusting to the low key, unstructured schedule of the day; I'm either working or busy with the baby much of the time and she doesn't know what to do with herself. If I don't want her watching television all day so her alternative is to bug me until I either turn into a raging bitch and yell at her for talking or I finally get off my large behind and find something for her to do. This day I let her go outside to play in the yard and she came back in hollering excitedly, "Mom! I need the camera, I've just got to take a picture of this..."

So I gave her my camera and let her go outside. She came back with these photos. I think it's always interesting to see what catches her eye and of what a five year old thinks is important enough to take a photo. It also amuses me to see her try and mimic what she's seen me photograph or at least what she thinks I would photograph. It's a very telling experience and gives me a little glimpse into her mind which I love, but also I'm often surprised by her photographic eye.




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Baby Got Blues

Posted on 11/12/2008 07:44:00 PM
The KoH went to Chicago a couple of weeks ago and brought back presents for the family. The Dormouse got one of those laser etchings inside an acrylic block. The Caterpillar got one of the cutest onesies ever from the House of Blues. And me? He tried very hard to find a good gift for me - a kind of rosin I like with gold flex in it. The cake that I have now has lasted since high school and desperately needs to be replaced and a few months ago I went looking for some but couldn't find any. (Now, however, it's all over the net. Go figure.) It was a great idea for a gift for me - he's always saying he never knows what to get me but he always picks great stuff - but the guy who told him he had some and to come back tomorrow and when he did he was all, "Ummm gee, I didn't really think you'd come back. I don't have any." So instead, he brought me back a harmonica. Small compensation for getting to go to my favorite city without me, but nice nonetheless.

I've always had a special weekness for guys who play really good blues harmonica and have spent many a night in blues bars, digging that sound and wondering how I could kidnap the lead singer in one of those bands and take her place. I've never had the kind of voice that would allow me to pull it off though so it's all a pipe dream. Once they heard my inability to get even the tinyest bit of gravel into my tone they'd kick me off the stage and take away my Leon Redbone CDs.

Perhaps one day, I can live vicariously through my children, though.


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Kick Off Your Sunday Shoes

Posted on 11/11/2008 08:41:00 AM In:
I think that I can say without reservation that Footloose is one of the defining movies of my teenager-hood... that and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I saw Footloose on a whim with some friends the first weekend it came out and all my girlfriends marveled at how much the guy I was dating at the time looked like Kevin Bacon... at least Kevin Bacon without the funky haircut. I had no idea who Kevin Bacon was before watching that flick, but I thought it was pretty cool at the time and felt somehow closer to a future dazzling Hollywood career because of it. So we went to see it.

I didn't know until later, that the movie had been filmed in Lehi, Utah (which was near Provo) and that the building used in the long shot for the flour mill was the self same, covered with graffiti building that we always drove past and stared at on our annual trek through Utah from the Southwest to the Northwest way to visit my grandparents in Idaho every summer. I also found out later that my cousin, who was in college at BYU at the time and had been involved with the BYU folk dancers, had been offered an opportunity to dance in the movie and he turned it down becuase he thought it "sounded dumb."

As we sat through the movie that first time though, it became less about the star's resemblance to a boy I would only go out with a few more times in the next six months and more a Gestalt moment of philosophical awareness. The scene toward the end, where Ren McCormack addresses the town council, spoke to us. We left the theater with new found entitlement to our place in the world. We had the sudden realization of how oppressed we were and how the adult world would just never understand us -- despite the fact that none of us was barred from dancing, reading any books and we hadn't felt a drop of oppression just three hours before. We resolved to fight back and take back Our. Moment. To. Dance. "This really is OUR TIME, right? It's so true! Like, fer sure!" The soundtrack from that movie would be played in the background of my life for the next four years.

Don't you just love how melodramatic you were capable of being in adolescence? It's completely embarrassing and I'm just glad that I was never Lindsay Lohan in the position of having all my stupid decisions and experiences captured on video tape for all the world and my posterity to see.

Anyway, Footloose is a big reason why I love Kevin Bacon. That and his sense of humor about himself:

See more Kevin Bacon videos at Funny or Die


I just read that Zac Efron is possibly starring in a Footloose remake....

noooooooooooooooooooo!


Whom do we contact to stop this??? Someone please get to this boy and keep him from ruining my movie. Next they'll be remaking Better Off Dead and then all my adolescence will have been spoiled.

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NaBloFU

Posted on 11/10/2008 05:24:00 PM In:
This is the time of year when I want to sit back, take a deep breath, and then smash my face in with a frying pan because I went ahead and signed up for NaBloPoMo... again. And I did this knowing full well that I have two kids, a house that is desperately crying out for attention, a cat that needs to be medicated twice daily, and a husband that... wait, is he still around? All because November is the busiest time of the year for me at work and I can't think of much else.

It's not that I don't want to write something substantive. I have all kinds of thoughts for interesting/pensive/poignant/funny blog posts, but because I haven't even made it from my desk to the bathroom without getting interrupted along the way in the past three weeks, those thoughts don't stay in my head long enough to get committed to internet. Trust me though, they were brilliant.

With any luck, my conference will be over soon and I can return to my usual well-thought out drivel about why I love the internet, the funniest thing my kid did this week and mediocre pictures taken with my camera. Until then, enjoy one of these fine writers.

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Trapped in an Elevator for 41 Hours

Posted on 11/09/2008 09:21:00 AM In:
This both totally fascinates me and frightens me to death at the same time:



The longest smoke break of Nicholas White’s life began at around eleven o’clock on a Friday night in October, 1999. White, a thirty-four-year-old production manager at Business Week, working late on a special supplement, had just watched the Braves beat the Mets on a television in the office pantry. Now he wanted a cigarette. He told a colleague he’d be right back and, leaving behind his jacket, headed downstairs...

...The car accelerated. It was an express elevator, with no stops below the thirty-ninth floor, and the building was deserted. But after a moment White felt a jolt. The lights went out and immediately flashed on again. And then the elevator stopped.

The control panel made a beep, and White waited a moment, expecting a voice to offer information or instructions. None came. He pressed the intercom button, but there was no response. He hit it again, and then began pacing around the elevator. After a time, he pressed the emergency button, setting off an alarm bell, mounted on the roof of the elevator car, but he could tell that its range was limited. Still, he rang it a few more times and eventually pulled the button out, so that the alarm was continuous. Some time passed, although he was not sure how much, because he had no watch or cell phone.

...As the emergency bell rang and rang, he began to fear that it might somehow—electricity? friction? heat?—start a fire. Recently, there had been a small fire in the building, rendering the elevators unusable. The Business Week staff had walked down forty-three stories. He also began hearing unlikely oscillations in the ringing: aural hallucinations. Before long, he began to contemplate death.

More of the story here.

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Time in a Bottle

Posted on 11/08/2008 03:22:00 AM
Dear Daylights Savings Time,

I hate you.

Sincerely,

Mother of Two Children Who Don't Know It's Now an Hour Earlier


P.S. Penn hates you too.

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Kentucky Fried Turkey

Posted on 11/07/2008 12:02:00 AM
Anyone who knows me knows that cooking is not My Thing. I know there are lots of people out there who really get off on it, but the allure is lost on me. When I was younger, I remember my mother owning a cookbook called the I Hate to Cook Book. I don't really hate to cook either. I do okay when I have to. It's not that I don't know how to do it; I just consider it a necessary part of life that I have little affiliation for... like death, taxes and clipping your toenails. It's not even that I dislike cooking that much, it's just that I dislike cleaning up more. If I were Emeril, and I had a fully stocked kitchen with every kitchen gadget and utensil I could ever need and minions to all go behind me and clean everything up behind me, I'd probably enjoy cooking a whole lot more than I do.

So my favorite holiday meal is our traditional Christmas day dinner in which we go out for Chinese food a la A Christmas Story.

Perhaps because I'm such a schlub on Christmas, I do like to cook for Thanksgiving. I don't mind cooking turkey so much; it's not really that much work prep-wise and I am the kind of cook who does well with not having to stand in the kitchen the entire time something is being prepared. Or take things out of the oven at a specific time. Or things that need to be stirred. So the method of cooking turkey appeals to me: check the turkey, watch some Thanksgiving Day Parade, check the turkey, take a nap, check the turkey, catch a few episodes of the Twilight Zone or Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon, check the turkey, watch some football... And while the things that go with the turkey tend to be a little more labor intensive, I don't mind so much because I loves me some mashed potatoes and gravy - it's in the genes.

So one day a year, I'll do the barefoot in the kitchen thing (I never wear shoes in the house). The only problem with that is that for nearly all of my marriage I have had this job where we run a conference the weekend immediately preceeding Thanksgiving. It's six to eight days of hellish hours, many many people with many many concerns and needs, and lots of running back and forth. So by the time I get home, my feet and ankles have turned into swollen throbbing knobs at the bottom of my legs, my brain is reduced to a pool of warm jel-lo and all I have energy to do is sit on the couch in my underwear and stare at the television (underwear optional).

Sometimes I get it together by Thanksgiving Day, sometimes I don't.
So, I've hit upon this little trick I'd like to share with all the ladies who don't want to cook on Thanksgiving. Please keep in mind I do so at the risk of my husband reading this and finding out he's been duped, so consider the sacrifice I'm making and don't say I never did anything for you. Are you ready? Here it is:

Fried turkey.

While this is obviously not true across the gender board, in general I have found that men will cook with gusto if the possibility exists that someone might need to go to the emergency room and/or the house could burn down in the process. So a couple of years ago, I innocently suggested it "might be fun" to "try fried turkey" one year... "I never had it" and "I wondered if it would be better" than regular turkey. I believe the lamp was knocked over by the wind that passed through the room as my husband ran to Wal-Mart to purchase a turkey fryer and a container of oil big enough to grease down seven or eight Arnold Schwarzeneggers.

Frying turkey is not for the unprepared, mind you. The first time The KoH and Matt tried it, they SET THE GROUND ON FIRE. So you have to know what you're doing.... and have a fire extinguisher handy. It also helps to have a neighbor who is a retired firefighter and willing to call his buddies should things get out of hand.

But if you read all the tips first and pay attention to the part where you put the turkey in the fryer in water and then take it out and mark the water level -- that is how much oil to put in -- i
t's actually not too difficult a process. The turkey comes out nice and moist on the inside and crispy on the outside and you don't even have to heat up the house to a thousand and one degrees with the oven being on for three hours. It is sweet ambrosia, let me tell you.

The downside is that if you're husband is anything like mine, the turkey fryer and the oil won't get put away until March. And since you are stubborn, you will not put it away either. And then this silent protest will go on as you secretly mark down the days on the calendar that have gone by that he has not put away the turkey fryer and oil because you refuse to say anything about it to him since you know he will call you a nag if you do. And then you're stuck in an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. So plan to stay out of the backyard for the rest of the winter if that bothers you.

This post was written for
Parent Bloggers Network as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by Butterball.

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History

Posted on 11/06/2008 07:13:00 AM
I woke up today to a gorgeous fall morning. The leaves in our neighborhood are as pretty as they've been all year and the breeze manages to be warm yet crisp at the same time. Overall, it just feels different today.

I've shied away from writing anything about Tuesday because... well there's plenty of stuff out there for you to read about the election and it'll be more well-thought-out and eloquent than any crap I can throw up against the wall today.

The Dormouse is extremely disappointed because, despite her unnatural affection toward Barack Obama, she had decided in the past two weeks that she liked Sarah Palin more (probably because of her $150,000 wardrobe and hair style - also she has an unnatural affection toward the name Sarah and still holds it against us because we didn't name The Caterpillar Sara) and wanted her to win the presidency. Yes, we tried to explain. No, it didn't do any good.

It's not like I have an Obama sign in my front yard or anything (sorry Monica, I was too lazy to put it up... I know you'd have put it out there for me but you're too lazy to drive over here). When it comes right down to it, I am at heart a cynicist and find myself wondering, "Just how will he break our hearts? Oooooo, I hope it will be a sex scandal!" But I will say this, he's the first person, president or presidential hopeful, going back as long as I can remember who says things and they make sense to me. For the first time in my political memory, someone speaks and I come away inspired. I feel like Fox Mulder... I want to believe. He's a politician and a human and given that I'm sure he'll screw up somehow. But for right now, there seems to be a whole world of possibility and that is nice for a change.

Whatever your thoughts on the election; whoever you voted for and however successful the fear mongers were in convincing you that the "other guy" was just "too scary" to be president -- which, by the way, just drives me batty; it's not like either guy wants the country to go down the drain. Each one has served America honorably in different ways and each wants only the best for the country they love, they just have different ideas about how to accomplish that (not to mention different definitions of "middle class"). Whatever your opinion, I hope you cannot help but feel emotional about a country that has come full circle from slavery and pre-suffrage to this:

Because finally we have demonstrated what we've always said, that America is a country where anyone can become the President.

And that is the country I love.

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Starting Young

Posted on 11/05/2008 05:49:00 AM
Enjoying one of 101 Great Opera Librettos


It's all a part of my evil plan to brainwash them with classical music before they turn ten. Of course this book is upside down... so I'm not really sure it's going according to plan.

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Excess

Posted on 11/04/2008 04:59:00 AM
It's quite possible that we may have too many Halloween decorations.


(The real tough part each year is getting the black cat into the box she came in and back up in the attic.)

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On The Day of His Birth

Posted on 11/03/2008 09:13:00 AM
When you marry someone, you don't necessarily know if that person will make a good parent or not. Sure, you have an idea but actually being a parent... day in, day out... is a whole lot different than how much you like kids or whether you think you might be a good parent. How lucky are these girls (as am I) then, that he actually did turn out to be a great Dad?

If you're lucky, you find someone to share your life with who fills in some of the gaps where you leave off. If you're really lucky, that person fills in the gaps when and where you need it most. Sure there are times when I want to beat him like a yard dog. For example, when he's noticed that he accidentally dropped some spaghetti sauce on the living room rug and his method of cleaning it up is to stomp his boot into the stain and rub it into the carpet. But then there are times I sit back and notice that I happen to be one of those lucky people who is part of a team of parents and am not just the caretaker of his progeny. That almost makes up for the spaghetti sauce incident... almost.



Edited to add: For Josh:


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Office Work

Posted on 11/03/2008 12:12:00 AM
There are some reasons I still really like my job, despite whatever problems it may bring with it. The fact that people can dress up like this for Halloween is one of them.


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You're Either In Or You're Out

Posted on 11/02/2008 05:58:00 AM
The latest developmental stage we've been experiencing in our house is the In/Out Stage:


The Caterpillar's new obsession is putting things in things. In the past week I have found:
  • a Cinderella doll and a fake credit card in a sauce pan
  • a plastic monkey in my lunch bag
  • dirty bottle in the hamper
  • a pacifier in my shoe
  • a plastic ball in the dishwasher
  • a hairbrush in the trashcan
  • a ball point pen in a water bottle
  • the KingofHeats' watch in the toilet
  • the Caterpillar in any box, drawer, basket or other container left within reach

The latest? As I sit at my desk typing, she enjoys sitting on my lap, grabbing random office supplies and putting them down my shirt. Hey, it keeps her quiet so I roll with it. The other day I talked to a workmate for fifteen minutes before suddenly realizing there was a red marker stuck in my bra and I had a very unusual silhouette indeed. The most frightening part is once I realized it, I grabbed my right bosom and announced that fact to the person with whom I was talking, then fished the pen out of my bra and continued our conversation.

Being a mother strips you any dignity you ever might have previously had.


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Washington, D.C. Metro, United States
Married, 40ish mom of two (or three, or four, depending on how you keep score) who stepped through the lookinglass and now finds herself living in curiouser and curiouser lands of Marriage, Motherhood, and the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.

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