Oh Hai Internets

Posted on 11/30/2010 01:10:00 PM
I know I said posting would be light over the previous week, but I didn't really intend to check out altogether. My house and my family had other plans entirely.

If there's one irrefutable law of the universe of home ownership, it's that when you break down and decide to drop a buttload of money on one home renovation project, there will be blowback from the universe. The blowback may be delayed, it may take various forms, but oh, let me assure you, there will be blowback. Sadly, we forgot about that law and decided to drop a buttload of cash last month on supplies to rebuild our broken and failing deck in the back yard. After all, if we ever hope to sell this house someday in the distant future, the deck (which no longer met county code thanks to our neglect) would need to be redone, so why shouldn't we at least get to USE the new and improved deck before it gets to that point, right? It's similar to my theory of why we put another bathroom in the basement last summer.

So anyway, a couple of weeks before my Big Work Thing, the home improvement store finally saw fit to deliver the materials. Of course they dropped them in the street because the forklift they brought was too big to fit in our driveway and then we ended up moving them all, piece by piece, in the dark because we are terrible, non-trusting people and didn't think our neighbors would abstain from stealing building supplies left in the street, but that delivery fee was still worth it, I suppose. (full disclosure: I don't really suppose.)

Anyway, The KoH thought he might get to the Deck Project over the Thanksgiving Day weekend, since he'd have the full brunt of child care while I was out of town the week before. It was a great plan and I was back in town just a couple of days before Thanksgiving, so it'd work out. But then I came home to a hot water heater that decided to leak all of its precious hot water out, underneath the wall and into The Dormouse's room. So instead of working on the deck, we did something I swore I'd never do: go into a retail store on Black Friday. That's where we bought this:


Bye bye, $500... it was nice knowing you.

You might think we at least got a decent deal on it because we braved the crazies the day after Thanksgiving, but surprisingly, these babies aren't the new hot item on everyone's Christmas list (Honey, don't worry about those diamonds, all I want is a HOT WATER HEATER), so we didn't even get it on sale.

Then The KoH went about the business of demolishing the old deck.


While he was doing that, I decided to pull up all the ceramic tile in the kitchen that has been broken for ages and use the left over bamboo flooring from our basement bathroom renovation to cover the area where the floor moves so much we have no hope of replacing the tiles and keeping them whole for any length of time. I got this far:


And then this happened:


Completely unrelated to every other project going on in the house, the infamous pinhole leaks in copper pipes finally got around to affecting us. So instead of spending a leisurely Sunday afternoon popping in bamboo flooring, we instead spent the bulk of it pulling the ceiling apart and searching for a pinhole leak in a pipe that The Dormouse suddenly noticed had filled the ceiling with water which was dripping down through the light fixture. This is now the ceiling of our guest bedroom. But since we have few guests, it may stay that way for awhile.

But then, because we are diehards, and because Monica had come over specifically to watch us put in the flooring so she could decide whether or not she wanted to attempt the same project at her house (Danger Will Robinson! Run away!), we did go ahead and install the floor anyway and use our television free babysitter to keep the ankle biters out of our hair while we worked.


Of course the deck still looks like this:


...and we have no idea when we will next get back to that particular issue, but I'm thinking of making friends with some gymnasts and having balance beam practice/barbecues this summer.

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Paper Skirt

Posted on 11/27/2010 05:48:00 PM

Every time we point a camera at The Caterpillar lately, this is the pose she strikes. I don't really know where this comes from, but I'm pretty sure Satan himself has something to do with it, because I can find no other explanation for how highly sexualized little girls in our society become before they're even old enough to have an inkling of what it's all about - even when we try our hardest to keep television appropriate and to a minimum. It reminds me of when I banned the show The Cheetah Girls from the house because The Dormouse was only three and I wasn't yet prepared for her to be dressing and acting like tweens. But then she came home from preschool one day with all the girls' names memorized and a desire to wear leopard-skin print clothing anyway.

Sigh.

So instead, I'm learning slowly to use these situations as a) a chance to practice my "ignore that for now and don't call attention to the behavior" skills and b) a jumping off point for having a conversation about something bigger.

Of course, having a big sister who makes paper skirts for you to model tends to undo most of that anyway.

So the war goes on.


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Well Read

Posted on 11/26/2010 04:19:00 PM

It's been a long time since I've posted a internet meme, hasn't it?

Have you read more than six of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only six of the one hundred books listed here. The instructions are as follows: Copy this list. Bold those books you've read in their entirety. Italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read only an excerpt.

I'm actually changing the rules a bit and adding a third level to this meme and that's if I've seen a movie based on the book, I'm underlining it. I think it's fascinating to see how many of these books have been made into movies and how many people think they know a book because they've seen the movie when the two sometimes have little to do with one another.

  1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
  2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
  3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
  4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
  6. The Bible
  7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
  8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
  9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
  10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
  11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
  12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
  13. Catch - Joseph Heller
  14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
  15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
  16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
  17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
  18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
  19. The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
  20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
  21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
  22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
  23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
  24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
  25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
  26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
  27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
  29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
  30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
  31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
  32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
  33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
  34. Emma - Jane Austen
  35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
  36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
  37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
  38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
  39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
  40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
  41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
  42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
  43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  44. A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
  45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
  46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
  47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
  48. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
  49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
  50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
  51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
  52. Dune - Frank Herbert
  53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
  54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
  55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
  56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
  58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
  59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
  60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
  62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
  63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
  64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
  65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
  66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
  67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
  68. Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
  69. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
  70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
  71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
  72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
  73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
  74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
  75. Ulysses - James Joyce
  76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
  77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
  78. Germinal - Emile Zola
  79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
  80. Possession - AS Byatt
  81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
  82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
  83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
  84. The Remains of the Day - Kazu Ishiguro
  85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
  86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
  87. Charlotte’s Web - EB White
  88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
  89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
  91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
  92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
  93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
  94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
  95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
  96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
  97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
  98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
  99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
  100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
A couple of observations:

It appears that I'm not all that motivated to finish anything by Dickens. I'm open to possible reasons for that.

Also, I've read forty-three from the list, but looking at those forty-three, I'd say a good three-quarters of them I read way back in high school and I've read maybe only six of them in the last ten years. Same goes for those books I've started but not finished. That's actually kind of depressing. Some day my children will go to high school and I'll be able to read again... of course by then, I probably won't be able to see anymore.

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Obligations

Posted on 11/25/2010 10:00:00 AM In:
Thirteen things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving morning:

  1. The people who invited us to their house so I don't have to clean mine.
  2. Not having to make a bunch of sides and deserts since our hosts are doing that part.
  3. Turkey fryers, which make my husband interested in cooking, thereby leaving me only the brining responsibilities.
  4. Drywall mud buckets which are big enough to brine a turkey (last year we used a kitty litter bucket). Oh, come on, I cleaned it first.
  5. My conference is over.
  6. Not getting gate raped at the airport this week (though it was a near thing).
  7. My totally awesome neighbor who always shows up when I'm having trouble doing something in the yard and then just does it for me.
  8. The platypus. No real reason... I just think they're fun to look at.
  9. Hot showers
  10. My conference is over. (I know I wrote this before, but it bears repeating.)
  11. That On the Road to Punkin' Chunkin', the preview to Thanksgiving night's Punkin' Chunkin' 2010, is only sixty minutes... because it seems like much, much longer.
  12. Diet Coke (except: the elixir of the Gods has begun to give me a headache whenever I drink it... whatever shall I do?)
  13. And finally, I am thankful that I live in relative safety from the fear that a zombie turkey carcass in my garbage will reanimate itself and come after me in revenge...


...some people aren't so lucky.

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Inertia

Posted on 11/23/2010 03:16:00 PM
These tools are in exactly the same place as they were when I left for Ohio seven days ago.


I guess it's just a good thing they aren't a dead pet.

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So Tired I Can't Even Come Up with a Post Title

Posted on 11/21/2010 09:23:00 AM In:
I haven't been so lucky finding time to post much this week. (See why I wasn't up for NaBloPoMo this year? See why it was such an accomplishment that I did it the past three years? When I have to work this conference every November? Accolades! I need accolades!)

Despite the ridiculous amount of work at this one with about twice the special events we normally hold, I did manage to come up with some successes throughout the week. Here are thirteen of them.

  1. Avoided a potentially negative and whiny meeting experience by passing out gifts.
  2. Kept my mouth shut when I handed an attendee a bag full of the most swag I'd ever been able to acquire sponsors for at this event and she peered in and said, "What, no HIGHLIGHTER?!?!?"
  3. Was able to spend less than a quarter of my per diem by swiping free food whenever possible and simply not having time to eat. I didn't even bring half of the money; I just put it in the bank to help pay for the extra day care I need while out of town. (Note to self: when practice marriage is over, remember these are things people without kids and pets do not have to worry about.)
  4. Managed not to say the word "assword" throughout my the length of both my presentations to the Assembly of Delegates and the Business Meeting. (Wasn't so lucky with the Board of Directors, though.)
  5. Did not react when Board of Directors members sitting on the front row of the Business Meeting snickered and waved while I talked about the password.
  6. Grabbed what I thought was my hotel key in the early, early morning and went quickly across the hall to get ice. Then when I went back to my door, looked down and saw I was holding a pick card. You may not think this is a good thing, but consider that I stopped myself from my original impulse to go out for the ice in my underwear since it was so early and so close.
  7. Managed to direct and pull off a major fundraiser while simultaneously dealing with a medical emergency in the bathroom.
  8. Had dinner at a Michael Symon restaurant where one meal cost three days' per diem. But since I averaged one meal per day for the rest of the week, it pretty much evened out in the end. Then a lovely friend offered to pay anyway and all I had to do was promis to visit him at the beach and return the favor (which I totally would have done for free, shhh). Also: totally worth the cost. Yummy.
  9. Found an outfit in my suitcase that had been there since last year's conference. Realized I don't travel that much. But it's a comfortable outfit so, it's a win.
  10. Successfully "tweeted" a conference. Managed to avoid taking three showers a day to wash off that filthy feeling.
  11. Helped judge an essay contest and managed to avoid becoming drunk with power. Now excuse me while I show all the contest applicants about the spots they missed while washing my car. *insert evil laughter here*
  12. Did not get sick and have to stay behind in the hotel an extra couple of days because I was too weak to crawl into a cab and get to the airport. (Wasn't so lucky on this front last year.)
  13. Managed to subsist on fewer than one Diet Coke and NO candy per day.
If that last one's not an accomplishment, I don't know what is.

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"Eat" Probably Wouldn't Have Been a Good Choice Either

Posted on 11/19/2010 06:00:00 AM
It's my yearly conference time again, so you might have noticed that posting is pretty light around here this week. For what probably amounts to dozens of reasons, I've been unable to sleep more then three hours a night since I've been here, which means that I'm even more sleep deprived and slap happy than usual.

We run a pretty large conference with a very small staff and all have many and varied responsibilities - everything from attending high level meetings which require actual intellect and brain power to helping attendees who can't be bothered to look up at the sign just behind them find the bathroom... again. This is all to say that we are pretty much working eighteen or more hours a day while we're here. And while we're working, we all run around the hotel non-stop. We communicate with a series of cell-phone calls and walkie-talkies, but what that means is inevitably someone is trying to take a short and well-deserved break to attend to daily hygiene needs and someone else gets on the radio and becomes demanding that you need respond RIGHT NOW, when all you're trying to do is go to the bathroom and you could use five minutes' time first. When you're on a walkie-talkie and anywhere between ten to thirty people (and possibly a room of conference attendees if the radio is turned up loud enough) could be listening to you, it seems inappropriate to respond with "Look, I'm on the PAAAH-TEEEE," so we've always used a series of euphemisms to communicate the look I get that you need me, just let me empty my bowels first response, like "I'm in location B" or "I just have to drop the kids off at the pool."

Yesterday, I called a colleague on the radio and this conversation followed:

"Hey, are you busy? I couldn't find you and there's something I need to talk to you about."

"Yeah, I just went up to my room to grab a banana."

"Well, I'll leave you alone. It's not an emergency, so just come on down when you're not indisposed."

"No, we can talk now, I meant I was hungry. I really did go up to my room to grab a banana."

*now laughing hysterically in front of conference attendees* "Oh!!" *finally composes self* "You know, you probably shouldn't use the word grab in the future when you talk about bananas."

"Good point."


Hopefully, next week things will get back to normal around these parts and I'll have something to post other than the bemused ramblings of my sleepless, addled mind.

But then again, why should anything change after five years of this blog?


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Seeing My Parents' Faces in the Mirror

Posted on 11/16/2010 09:40:00 AM In:
I sent my daughter to bed without supper last week.

I never thought I'd be the kind of parent to do this.

If this child has one main Issue, with a capital "I" in school, it's her behavior. She comes home with perfect grades on every paper she brings home from school, but she also comes home most days with a reprimand for talking too much and not following directions.

We'd been doing well in the behavior department and things had been getting better until the school board decided that we needed two days off in a row to celebrate a holiday that most people don't get off and then just for good measure, celebrate a non-holiday by telling the teachers they didn't have to work. Since the beginning of the year, there have been only three full weeks of five-days-a-week school. And guess what? During those three full weeks, her behavior was exemplary. I mentioned this to her teacher in our parent-teacher conference last week and she thought for a moment and said, "Hmmmm.... now that you mention it, I think all the kids were better behaved during those three weeks."

The problem is, I have to teach her that even when her routine is shattered, good behavior is still required of her, regardless of the circumstances. I've tried reward systems, I've tried explaining, I've resorted to yelling, and finally I told that school is only going to get harder and if she doesn't learn to control her mouth now, well, the consequences are much bigger as years go by and if she doesn't learn how to get along in the world now, she might as well prepare herself for a life of holding the SLOW sign by the side of the road. And when I said that, I the voice of every parent who ever lived and said those exact same words to their kids rang in my head like the shot that was heard 'round the world.

Thirteen things I have actually said in a serious, non-sarcastic type of way since I became a mother:

  1. I will stop this car right now!
  2. If you don't love your sister now, you're not going to be friends when you grow up and you will regret it.
  3. If you can't put your toys away properly, maybe you don't need so many toys.
  4. Stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about.
  5. If you're going to through a fit, go through it in your room so I can hear the TV.
  6. If you can't say anything nice to your sister, don't speak to her at all.
  7. If a job is worth doing, it's worth doing right.
  8. A place for everything and everything in it's place.
  9. If you don't put your seat belt on, the police will come and send us all to jail.
  10. If Johnny jumped off a bridge, would you jump off a bridge too?
  11. If you don't eat your vegetables, you won't grow up big and tall.
  12. One day, you'll thank me.
  13. Because I said so!

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Our Very Own Little Lawn Jockey

Posted on 11/11/2010 05:03:00 PM

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Chukin' Pukins

Posted on 11/10/2010 05:15:00 AM

I'm at a loss as to how to describe our most recent weekend's outing... suffice it to say it involved it involved air cannons, world records, trophies, a good deal of mud, beer, lots of people and squash. Tons and tons of squash.

Give up? Yes, last Saturday we drove out to Delaware to attend the 2010 World Championship PunkinChunkin competition.

And there was much rejoicing.

(At least there was rejoicing from The KingofHearts, who has an eight-foot trebuchet stored in our back yard.)


If you aren't familiar with the fine art of what I think should actually be called Pumpkin Chuckin', (because if you are throwing the pumpkin, you'd be "chuCKin' it, amIright?) think about it this way: You and your buddies are standing out in a field one day and you're bored. You've got a lot of chores to do at home but none among you particularly wants to go home and have to actually do those chores so you stand there a bit longer. But you are bored. You see a stray pumpkin lying around on the ground and you bet your buddies that you can throw it further than they can. Boasts are made and trash is talked while you each secure a pumpkin of your very own with which to compete. You begin with an overhand shot-put-like approach and manage to toss it about fifteen feet down the row. Buddy #1 granny-shoots it twenty-five feet. Buddy #2 heaves his thirty feet and you all oooh and aaah at his manliness. By this time a few alcoholic beverages have been consumed and the Buddy #3 says, "lemme go get something for a sec," then he disappears and comes back with a M198 Howitzer, shoves the pumpkin down the barrel and shoots it across the field and into the neighboring rancher's land, killing a stray cow that happens to have the poor fortune to be grazing at an inopportune moment. You all declare Buddy #3 the Winner and shower him with praise and false aggrandizement. Then you make a date to come back next year and each try to best the other.

That is how it comes to this:

and this:


As crowded as it was at the Rally to Restore Sanity the weekend before, I think Punkin' Chuckin' 2010 was even worse because while I expected two-hundred thousand people to turn out for the Rally to Restore Sanity, I had no idea whatsoever that so many people would drive into the mud of Delaware to witness squash hurled through the air, nor that it would take us more then two hours to drive the mile from the main highway to the field where it was held.

But we persevered (mostly because the state troopers had turned all divided roads into one-way roads and you couldn't have turned around if you wanted to) and we were rewarded for it because we got to see some pretty funny things that day.

A toy helicopter with a camera strapped to it buzzed the crowd.


The girls got to pose with minor celebrities. Meet Miss Punkin Chunkin' 2010.


Actually, I believe that at this point in time they hadn't yet determined a Miss Punkin Chunkin'. I think this woman was just a contestant. But I'm not up on all the decorum and tranquility of the Chunkin' events, so I could be wrong. I just couldn't take my eyes off the fact that she had a pumpkin on her tiara.

As we were watching the trebuchet event, I suddenly heard The Dormouse yell at the top of her lungs and squeal, "It's Adam! LOOK, IT'S AAAAADAAAAAAMM!!"

I could not figure what she was talking about, until The KingofHearts pointed out the major celebrity in attendance:

Adam Savage from Mythbusters. (I have just now learned that Adam Savage was both a child actor and a puppeteer on Sesame Street. He acted in both a Billy Joel video and a "Please Don't Squeeze the Charmin" commercial before he fell into a career in special effects/Discovery Channel host. I couldn't love him more right now.)

The fact that she was more excited to catch a glimpse of Adam Savage's fedora than to actually meet all the characters from Disneyland says something about how we've chosen to raise our children: Nerdy and unlikely to have many friends throughout high school. But the good news is they'll probably end up with jobs that will be able to put The KoH and I in a nice nursing home one day... one where the staff is paid well enough to not steal our underwear when we're asleep, unlike this guy:


OK, so I might be having a bit of fun with the pumpkin chuckers, but we really did have a good time once we finally managed to get there. Folks there were pretty nice - one random person just walked up to the girls and gave them each a pair of those pumpkin glasses you see The Caterpillar sporting in the first picture above. Even the young twenty-something crowd were pretty cool around the girls, as we learned while waiting in line for the latrine and heard the three guys in front of us talking:

"You didn't go?!? DUDE! That party was so ffffff....," *glances down at The Dormouse and The Caterpillar, then back to his friends* "...REAKING awesome!"

They also had a small carnival for the kids and lots of food and handmade items for sale. People were pretty cool to my husband there.

KoH: "Can I go on this ride with my daughter?"

Carnie: "Sure."

KoH: "OK, I just didn't know if I was too big for it."

Carnie: "Hey, as long as yer ass fits in the chair, you can ride."

Sweet, huh?

But I have to say that, like the Rally to Restore Sanity, the best part about it was the people watching.


That and the funny hats.


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Indian Summer Sky

Posted on 11/09/2010 04:32:00 PM

Love the way the clouds look in the Fall. Like a real world still from The Simpsons.

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NotBloPoMo

Posted on 11/08/2010 05:55:00 AM In: ,
You may have noticed that I'm not participating in NaBloPoMo this year. This is because I am NOT an idiot (for a change). Not that all you guys out there who are doing it are idiots. It's just that I know I have limits and I'm going to exercise a modicum of intelligence this year. I've got a handful of Big Work Things coming up, will be out of town for some of the rest of this month, along with a mixture of Personal Stuff and exhaustion that will be sucking my mental energy like... some... Big Sucking Thing. (The end of that sentence should be enough to make you glad I'm not littering the information superhighway with unfinished thoughts this month.) This is all to say that posting is probably going to be light for the next couple of weeks and when it does occur, it may just all be a series of grunts, gurgles and otherwise unintelligible nonsense. Until that eventuality comes to fruition, here's a minutiae post.

blahblahblahblahblahblahblahblah

I had to take my bow in to be rehaired last week and the luthier noticed a problem with the ivory tip of my bow. (This particular bow was made almost one hundred years ago when elephant ivory was still readily available for things like piano keys, billiard balls and George Washington's teeth*.) It was a very small crack in the narrow-most part of the tip, but this is an integral spot in protecting the wood underneath, which has a tiny hairline crack starting to form too, so it really needed to be repaired in the best way possible.

When we were talking about how he would go about approaching this, we came across the little matter of
if we replace the ivory what do we replace it with? Clearly, elephant ivory isn't readily available any more because in recent years, the world has started to realize that hey, elephants are kind of using their ivory and the sale and trade of ivory has been prohibited.

Of course there are lots of bows today that use a high quality plastic for that piece, but in your higher end bows, that tends to throw off the balance and frankly, who wants to put plastic on the end of their one hundred year old bow? Not me, that's who!

Bone is sometimes an option for this piece, but it's not always the best option because bone is much more porous than tusk, so it's not as strong. If the hairline crack in the wood were to expand underneath the tip, which protects it from just that, it would render the bow's worth as only slightly more expensive than a dowel from Home Depot. I have a personal attachment to this bow; it's a nice stick and it was made by the grandfather of an old luthier where I grew up. So I have no desire for that to happen. Bone is right out.**

His suggested material was interesting: apparently in Siberia there are a whole bunch of mastodon buried in the snow that no one's using or cares about too much. I guess scientists have gotten all they can from these fossils and don't care to store them up anymore and they're not really using their tusks, so if you know "a guy who can get it for you," you can get a hunk of mastodon tusk for your very own self and do what you want with it. Especially if what you want with it is to charge someone like me enormous sums of money for a tiny little sliver off that hunk of tusk.

So now, when I look at my bow, I see this angry guy starting back at me:


It's a small price to pay for art.

blahblahblahblahblahblahblahblah

The Dormouse has had a stubborn ear infection that we are having a bear of a time convincing to pack its bags and hit the road. Originally, I took her to the CVS Minute Clinic because it was a weekend. The physician there prescribed a five-day course of antibiotics, which I filled and then took home. They called us the next day and explained that she'd made a mistake and it should have been a ten-day course. I'd need to come in and pick up "the other half" of her prescription. When I did, they charged me another $35 for a whole new prescription.

A couple of weeks after administering all the meds, the ear infection had never really gone away, so I took her to her pediatrician, who prescribed another ten-day course of a different antibiotic. We had that filled at CVS as well and came home with a bottle, which only lasted four and a half days. So I went back to the pharmacy to ask why a ten-day bottle of suspension only lasted five days and which did I need to do, stop giving it when it was empty or get more. He looked up the records and found that they were supposed to have given me two bottles, but only gave me - and charged me for - one. So he tried to create a whole new prescription for the second five days, which was another $35. I pointed out that I'd had to come back four times for two prescriptions and this was costing me a whole lot more than if they'd filled the correct, $40 prescription each time in the first place and asked - loudly - if this was CVS's new business sustainability plan.

I went home with a free second bottle of meds.

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The KoH had a birthday last week and every time the girls asked how old he was going to be he'd answer, "Oh... twenty-one.... plus seventeen years."

So we got him a birthday cake pie befitting a man of his age:


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After an aborted attempt to take The KingofHearts out to dinner on his actual birthday that ended up with two punished, crying girls and two adults who finally realized that the best birthday celebration they could muster was putting those two girls to bed early, we finally managed to go out and have dinner at one of those Hibachi Japanese Cook Dinner at Your Table places a few days later. They had Ramune sodas there and I ordered two because the waiter opened the bottle the first time for me and I wanted to do it myself. He told me how he likes to take the empties out in back of the restaurant and break the bottles so he can get the marble out and add to his collection of soda bottle marbles. As he walked away, I looked at the back of the bottle which clearly said, Caution, do not attempt to break open bottle to remove marble. Doing so could result in serious injury or harm. Of course, this is the same bottle that suggested you do not drink the inch long plastic plunger that you use to open the bottle.

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Also at the Japanese restaurant, we ordered Tempura Banana and Tempura Ice Cream for desert. I'd never had this before, but it's basically a Japanese version of Fried Ice Cream (an improved version, if you ask me, but I, admittedly, sold that stuff every night for several years back in college and I can't look a Fried Ice Cream square in the face anymore.***)

The ice cream is frozen hard into a scoop and then dipped in tempura batter, then flash fried. Served alongside it, was a similarly enrobed banana. The Dormouse, however, misheard us saying, "Tempura Banana" and thought we were calling it a "Temporary Banana."


We laughed and laughed, because when you think about it, isn't most food inherently temporary?



*Yes, yes, I realize that George Washington's teeth were actually made from Hippopotamus ivory. I'm not sure that makes it better.

**Unless you could make it human bone, cause that would make a good story.

***Don't even ask me how I feel about fried zucchini.

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Taking Things a Bit Too Personally

Posted on 11/07/2010 02:05:00 PM
The Caterpillar learned a new game at preschool this week and has enjoyed obsessing over it at random moments which must involve everyone within earshot. So we're out driving around yesterday and the Caterpillar is rambling on to herself in the back seat of the car. We seldom listen to them in the car because it's already noisy and it doesn't matter if we listen or not, both girls are constantly talking simultaneously. Plus they're not talking to us, it's just that I believe they have somehow convinced themselves that collectively, they can power the vehicle with kinetic energy produced by the constant flapping of their jaws.

Finally, the sounds do reach us and we hear:

Caterpillar: "Daddy! DAAAADDDEEE! SAY THE WORDS!"

Me: "Huh? What? What words?"

Caterpillar: "Daddy stole the cookies from the *beat* cookie jar!"

Me: "Ooooooh."

KoH: "..."

Me: "It's a game. You have to say, 'Who me?'"

KoH: *sighs and deadpans* "Who. Me."

Caterpillar: "Yes you."

KoH: "..."

Me: "You say, 'Couldn't be.'"

KoH: "Couldn't be."

Me: "Then who?"

Caterpillar: "Mommy! Mommy stole the cookies from the *beat* cookie jar!"

Me: "Who me?'

Caterpillar: "Yes you."

Me: "Couldn't be."

Caterpillar: "Then who?"

Me: "Caterpillar stole the cookies from the *beat* cookie jar!"

Caterpillar: No! I DIDN'T DOOOOO IIIITT!!! WAAAAAAAAAAH!"

Me: "See how much fun this is?"

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Terminology

Posted on 11/04/2010 11:46:00 AM
I mentioned before that The Caterpillar loves this book (which I've only just now realized is dubbed A poke and look book. Ahem.) and calls it "The Nekkid Boy Book," because like those Grey's Anatomy of transparent celluloid illustrations (you turn one page and see what's visible from the outside, then life another page off and see what's under the skin, under the bones, etc.), on one of those pages you can see a very cartoon-like illustration of a boy and a girl without their clothes.

She asks me to read this every day of my life and... guys? I am So. Sick. Of. Reading. This. Book.

I've read it in full, I've edited, I've given the Cliff's Notes version of the book, I've Cliff's-noted the Cliff's Notes version, I've skipped pages when she wasn't looking, I've even tried to hide the book. But she always finds it and she's heard it so much now that she knows when I skip something and yells, "THIS PART, MOMMA, YOU FORGOT TO READ THIS PART!"

Ugh.

The other night when she asked me to read it aGAIN, I had a brilliant idea.

"Honey, you know this book so well, you could read it to me. Wait, why DON'T you read it to me?"

"Okay, Momma."

And then she proceeded to pretty much give me the whole book, leaving out nothing. Except for this one part that I must have missed in the seven- or eight-hundred times I'd read it before:

"Boys have a penis, girls have a oval."

You learn something new everyday.

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Kidtalk

Posted on 11/02/2010 02:50:00 PM In:
Thirteen things The Caterpillar says that I hope she never learns to pronounce/say the correct way:
  1. While calling the kitties: "Here, catty, catty. Come back, catty!"
  2. "This one is yours, this one is mines."
  3. "Sschkel-o-tun"
  4. "Shchkool" (school)
  5. "Plaano" (piano) and "Vwahlin" (violin)
  6. "Hungee" (hungry) as in "I'm so VERY hungee, Momma."
  7. "IdonTknow." (you really have to hear this one to get the proper inflection)
  8. "Momma, I was thinking 'bout..." followed by some action that doesn't really follow grammatically correctly. "Momma, I was thinking 'bout we could have caneee for dinner today."
  9. "Pukum" (pumpkin) and "Nakum" (napkin)
  10. "Teebee" (t.v.)
  11. "sfar-kuhl-ee" (sparkly) as in "I wanna wear my sfarkuhlee pants."
  12. "Shister" (sister)
  13. "Hal-LO-ween." (with two separately pronounced Ls)
  14. (special bonus word that is still awesome) redicalus
Yeah, I know, I probably will eventually need to employ a speech therapist for those Ss, but I figure I've got a year or two to enjoy it before it comes to that.

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Parenting Law #132

Posted on 11/01/2010 10:08:00 AM
At church Sunday, I was asked at the last minute to play the violin for a special number at the meeting. Since I'd never played the piece before, I headed out a couple of hours early to practice with the choir, leaving The KingofHearts to finish getting the ankle biters ready for church and bring them later. I played toward the beginning and then went to join them in the congregation for the rest of the meeting. When I sat down, this greeted me:


*whispers* "Um, why is my daughter wearing two different shoes to church?"

*whispers back* "Look, I don't want to talk about it. Just be glad she's not wearing two left shoes."

*whispers* "Understood."

Sometimes the fewer questions you ask, the better.


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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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