Neighborly

Posted on 1/31/2011 03:49:00 AM

That's The KingofHearts clearing snow off my neighbor's car before he heads off to work. He always does that. He leaves ridiculously early in the morning and instead of just getting in his car, turning on the heater and speeding off, he starts with my car, moves out to the street to clean his off and then heads across the street and takes care of our neighbor's car before he has a chance to wake up and do it himself. It's just become force of habit for The KoH. Then often later in the day while The KoH is gone at work, I'll find my steps have been cleared of snow when I'm wasn't looking - which, I know without asking, is a return of favor that we all know is totally unnecessary. It's one reason that even though I technically live in filth and squalor, I love my neighborhood.

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Light Blind

Posted on 1/30/2011 03:43:00 AM
I tend to not take photos of other people's kids when I'm out and about for reason that I'm sure will be obvious. But this little boy playing with the lights when we were at the Washington Monument a couple of weeks ago was too much of a temptation.


I just hope he had an appointment with the eye doctor not too long after he got home.

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Mate Dulce

Posted on 1/29/2011 05:32:00 AM In:
The other day, after we made this guy,


the Large One and the Small One were cold and began begging for hot chocolate. A recent email from an old friend (hi old friend!) had me thinking about the time I spent in South America many years ago. I was feeling a bit nostalgic so I pulled out my drug drinking paraphernalia and decided to introduce them to one of my favorite traditions: Mate Dulce.

If you've spent any time in Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, southern parts of Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, and weirdly even some places in the Middle East (Which amuses me to imagine as being a side effect of when the world's land mass was one big supercontinent called Pangea. Yes, I know the flaw in that logic; let me have my visual.) you'll know what mate is: basically an herbal tea. But to consume mate in any other but the traditional way would be blasphemy, so you've gotta know what you're doing before you begin. Fortunately, I am here to school you and help avoid any mate-related calamitous incidents in your future.

First you must have the appropriate gear. If you choose to drink mate out of a plastic cup with a disposable straw from McDonalds, you are doing it wrong and we can no longer
be friends. Also: you'd end up with a mouth full of grass-like substance and spend the next day and a half spitting bits of it out... or.... so... I've heard. All the mate paraphenalia can be purchased online, but I generally wait until someone I know is going to South America and then I beg them to bring me back whatever I need: you can often get away with not paying for it that way. Of course this means that the next time I take a trip to another country, I'm gonna have to bring an extra suitcase just for all the souvenirs I owe people.

To begin, you fill a glass, called a
guampa, with tea leaves which are chopped up and called Yerba Mate. Pour water over them. Then you drink the infusion through a metal straw called a bombilla.


That's really it. Did I make it sound too complicated?

In Paraguay, where I lived, they drank it cold during the summer months (which were most months there) and called it Tereré. Both mate and tereré are community building activities. One might say it's the South American version of the Beer Summit. Everyone sits outside in a circle, someone (who is dubbed the preparador) is responsible for refilling the glass with water after each person drinks, and everyone passes the cup from person to person, while talking until the sun sits low in the sky. All these years later, it is still one of my favorite traditions and whenever I happen to know someone who's heading to South America for a visit, I always ask them to bring me back a bag of fresh herb. Oh, I know that I could order that on the interweb too and have it mailed to me any time I wanted, but the possibility of getting my friends strip-searched in customs is just too propitious.

Mate is an acquired taste; traditionally, there's no sweetening the drink like there is with tea. And the herb is quite bitter so I tend to like it's warm-weather counterpart a bit better because the yerba doesn't steep as strongly in cold water. When I lived in super hot climates, I used to keep a thermos and a guampa filled with yerba in my refrigerator too cool off whenever I felt the urge. You keep the leaves moist and then just pour refrigerator-cold water in for a quick fix.

But what I really loved? Was the kids' version of Mate the locals served us called Mate Dulce. In that Wikipedia article, mate dulce is simply adding sugar or honey to the mélange, but in my humble opinion, that article was written by Wrongy McWrongerson. Where I lived, it was a whole other thing. With mate dulce, you replace the yerba with shredded coconut, the water with hot chocolate and then you experience The Sugar Rush of Your Lifetime.

Officially, you have to make the hot chocolate from scratch, but this was for kids and Easy Powdered Stuff is appreciated as much as Something That Takes Hours To Prepare by children who don't know any better. So Easy
was good enough for These Children on This Day.


Regardless of your chocolate choices, you whip up a nice batch of hot chocolate in a pourable container:


Then you fill the guampa with the shredded coconut:


You can actually use regular shredded coconut instead of that stuff that is sweetened and sold in the cake baking supplies aisle of the grocery store. It might be a little bit less sweet that way. For some reason I have never come to understand, though I seldom use coconut for anything in the kitchen, I almost always have a bag of sweetened, shredded coconut leftover in my pantry. It seems to never go bad (or if it does, I'm not intelligent enough to notice). I'm embarrassed to admit just how long I've been nursing this particular bag along; I believe it was leftover from a cake project I did for work several months a couple of years ago.
All that is to say that what kind of coconut you use - sweetened, unsweetened, picked directly from a tree by a barefooted Samoan man - depends more on convenience than anything else.

I was once in Nashville at a conference with a group of friends and we all went out to a restaurant near the hotel. When the waitress came around for our drink orders, one member of our group, Southern himself, asked for "sweet tea" and the waitress asked in her drawl,

"Would ya'll like that sweetened or unsweetened, honey?"

This perplexed even him for a moment and he paused for a second before he just got a deadpan look on his face and simply answered, "Sweetened."

Mate dulce is kind of like that. You can have it Sweet or More Sweet.

Once you have your guampa stuffed full of coconut, you simply pour the hot chocolate over it,


and then enjoy.


That last part was easy for The Shortlings. The Dormouse declared this activity "A great sharing technique." She is so the daughter of a therapist.

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She Finally Loves the Snow

Posted on 1/28/2011 09:21:00 PM
A short photo essay to prove my kids can actually go into the snow.


We finally had the kind of snow that is useful for using that Build a Snowman kit. So The Caterpillar got dressed up like Ralphie's brother in her new snow pants handed down from Monica and wanted to say, "Thank you, Monica, for giving me snow pants."


It's been awhile since I made a real snowman and let me just say that rolling snow into a big ball was much, much easier when I was four feet tall. I spent way too much time bending over with my head below my heart and I think I might have killed a few brain cells. But The Caterpillar was super excited to meet Frosty...


and they hit it off at once.


Then she tried to make a snow angel, but chose the spot in the lawn where the snow was iced over so her efforts were about as fruitful as this attempt.


The Dormouse chose instead to do her snow bunny impression while pouting in the corner. She's still mad at me because we did this and didn't go sledding today.


She'll get over it, but not soon.

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Sno More

Posted on 1/27/2011 07:43:00 AM
I've been having some trouble coming up with relevant topics to write about here for the past week. I suppose you could argue that nothing on this site is really relevant and I should work a little harder to actually write here and stop using this space as a repository for Things My Kids Say I Think Are Funny. And to you, I would say, hey! I resemble that remark.

There are about four inches of snow on the ground today and I could go on about a multitude of things up to and including:
  1. there is snow on the ground
  2. complaining about the schools being closed
  3. my Daphne bush may have actually bit it this time and I'm just a little bit sick about it
  4. complaining about the children in the house because the schools are closed
  5. my kids are home in the house when it is sunny and beautiful outside
  6. let me repeat that, day two of my kids stuck in the house because schools are closed
  7. Did you hear me? snow Snow SNOW! Snopacalypse! Snomageddeon! Snotorius D.I.G! SNO NOOOOOO!
So. Cabin Fever with The Shortlings. I decided to start off my morning by reminding myself that I really do like Winter. It's one of my favorite times of year and I sometimes have to force myself to remember that for a great part of my life I didn't get to enjoy Winter. Or Fall. Or Spring. I lived in a place where there were only two seasons, Summer and a week in December that we just called Notsummer.

Plus Winter has some pretty morning skies when you get up at four am. (Why I'm up at four am is another blog post.)


There, I feel better now.

My immutable complaining about schools being closed might sound purely selfish, but there's really a good reason behind it all, I promise. We're had a near constant battle with The Dormouse over her behavior in school. It was one of the things we knew we'd deal with when deciding to put her in school early - her comportment being less mature than the other students' and her impulse control being less... you know... under control. Though those concerns have come to fruition, we still don't regret the decision we made as having her wait a year to go to school would have made her the eldest in her class and just a big ol' handful of Bored Child behaviors. Her teacher last year was way better at dealing with her and, I believe, got better results. Not that her teacher this year isn't okay, it's just that she's only okay... and I got spoiled by last year's My Teacher. I know it's a first world complaint, but I really need her to do well in school so she can get a good job and afford to support me in my old age. Always looking ahead. The upside? This year's My Teacher does not have classroom pets.

At any rate, I've been in continual contact with this year's My Teacher about The Dormouse getting in trouble for talking in class or speaking out of turn and a host of other related behaviors that stem from her just basically being less mature than her classmates and having inherited a loud voice from her father and me. We've tried talking to her, rewarding her, punishing her, yelling, ignoring, and every other kind of -ing you can think of. -Ing's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ing, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me." Good point there. After all, he was the walrus.

Sorry, just got an urge to go watch Ferris Bueller's Day Off for a minute there.

At our parent teacher conference after the first semester, My Teacher said to me, "You know, I had this problem with
my daughter and you know what I did? I sat her down and explained to her that MY JOB is to be a teacher and that HER JOB is to be a student. And part of HER JOB was to be quiet in class so she could learn at HER JOB. That was all it took." She was very proud of her idea. Like it was a revelation Jean Piaget himself couldn't have thought up.

"Oh, honey," I shook my head and laughed, "that was the FIRST thing I tried with The Dormouse and I exhausted that tactic two years ago. If that was all it took, she would be the best behaved kid in the school."

One thing I have noticed, however, is that this happens whenever there's a disruption in the school schedule (a holiday, a snow day, one of those damn incessant teacher planning days that are only supposed to happen once a quarter but that I swear happen every month - and teachers, don't bother to point out the schedule on the calendar to prove that there's only one teacher planning day per semester because I, much like those people who think that Global Warming is a myth, am just going to look at all your evidence and say, "I still don't believe it."). It always takes The Dormouse several days to calm down after the first day back. Invariably, the first day back at school she will come home with a note for talking in class and the teacher will email me asking me to have a talk with her. The second day back is a little better and the third day back better still. For whatever reason, the weekend doesn't affect her like this; just days off when she would have been in school.

The first semester of school there were two, count 'em, TWO weeks of five-days-a-week school. I think by the end of the second semester there were only three. I tried to explain this theory to My Teacher at our parent teacher conference early in the year. She agreed with me that kids need routine but basically didn't see the connection and poo-poohed my idea. She usually emails me when The Dormouse reaches a certain point on their behavior plan so I started responding to her emails with, "And what was yesterday? That's right, ANOTHER TEACHER DAY" or "Not surprising since school was closed at two hours early on Monday for a snowstorm that didn't start falling until after 6:00 pm and then the next two days she was off."


Finally, after the winter break when The Dormouse had been redirected for talking excessively and not following directions on two consecutive days, I got an email from the teacher that said, "She's finally starting to calm down after the break. Crazy how that affects her, isn't it?"

Small victories.

Snow days, especially the massive excess to which the counties here call off school for weather-related events, compound those issues for her many fold and it's really because of THAT that I hate it with a hate that cannot be named when they cancel school here before they even see a snowflake. Not only does she lose the instruction that was planned for that day, but we're also looking at a week of damage control and time that could have been spent oh, let's say, learning in class afterward.

I've tried to do some prep work to prepare her for going back to school after a day like today but it's been only marginally helpful. I'm not sure what to do to fix this and I'm desperate enough to be open to suggestions from the interweb. Do other people see these kinds of issues with their kids or are we just weird? I don't want to be after her all the time about it, I don't want to crush her spirit, but I also don't want her to be holding the SLOW sign on the side of the road (LOVE that that photo is still there for me to reference) when she grows up either. We need to find a happy medium. Until then, she'll be writing sentences like "This punishment is not boring and pointless"... because it amuses me, the things I could be making her write.

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Perplexing Question of the Day

Posted on 1/25/2011 04:35:00 PM
"Daddy, how do you make wood pajamas?"

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A Shoe By Any Other Name...

Posted on 1/23/2011 02:33:00 PM

"Daddy a girl at school calls one of her shoes Pat & the other one Leather."


"It's not Pat AND Leather, honey, it's patent leather."

"Oh."

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Nursery Rhymes Gone Wrong

Posted on 1/23/2011 05:23:00 AM In:
Alternate title: Inappropriate Songs to Let Your Three Year Old Sing in Public

We've had our
problems with songs The Dormouse was taught in preschool in the past. Thanks to this blog, I can distinctly remember Baa Baa Black Sheep being one of those problem songs. (Thanksbetointernet, I'm not sure I would remember I even had kids if it weren't for this blog.) But Baa Baa Black Sheep never went quite as wrong as in the new version that The Caterpillar came home singing this week:

Baa baa black sheep,
have you any wool?

Yes sir, yes sir,
three bags full.

One for the bastard,
One for the slave,

And one for the little boy who lives very lame.

Who here thinks it's time to ask the preschool teachers to occasionally listen to her when she sings the songs they teach back to them?


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Insider's View

Posted on 1/21/2011 04:46:00 PM In:
Another couple of photos that I was merely satisfied with from my Washington Monument set. I like this inside view of the structure because it reminds me exactly how much the monument resembles a very large Lego project.


I'm also fascinated by the eerie blinking red lights on the tip of each side of the obelisk and when I drive around D.C. at night I always imagine some sort of large animal holed up in there peering out over the city with his creepy red eyes. I simply don't know from where such a thought could have come from for someone like me, who was raised on reruns of 1950s and 60s television shows.


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Making Do

Posted on 1/19/2011 03:01:00 PM
The Small One has been sick on and off for... oh about six weeks now. In fact, the whole house pretty much has had the plague and been passing it around for all to enjoy. We've each been through one, if not more, courses of antibiotics to try and wipe it out since December. Someone will come down with it, feel better for a few days until it looks as though he/she is on the mend, and then that someone wakes up at 3:00 am coughing up his/her toenails and the madness starts all over again. At this rate, I'll meet my insurance deductible this year by the end of January, just by paying co-pays.

Today, at the pediatrician's office, the Doctor told me two things: one) he doesn't enjoy the sound of screaming children and two) he's always glad when I come in with my children because I'm so pleasant.

I'm sorry... I don't know which of these two things makes me laugh more.

This is all to say that since everyone's been sick, I've been spending a lot of time inside and there are entire days where I don't get out of my pajamas or venture outside the door to my house. (This is different from a normal day at home because... well, I sometimes go out to the curb to get the mail.) As such, my kids haven't been outside much lately.

No problem though, as my children have learned to make do for their wintertime fun:





Kind of makes that new floor project worth the effort, huh?

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Button Up Your Overcoat

Posted on 1/18/2011 09:11:00 AM
If you haven't figured it out from the numerous school closings and half an inch of white stuff on the ground, it's winter 'round these here parts. A downright snowpocalypse that has closed the schools for the day (because snow that stopped falling over eight hours ago is a completely insurmountable obstacle when it comes to our children's education - heading out to the drug store to clear its shelves of all forms of bread, milk and toilet paper, however... well those things are important, right?).

What this means for those of you who have sane people in the house, is most folks will look out the window or check the temperature in the morning and then use some judgment to adjust what to clothing they plan to put on for that day. For example:
Hmmm... it's thirty-four degrees, but should get warmer in the afternoon. Perhaps some layers. Or: That's a lot of snow on the ground, I'm thinking boots and heavy socks are the order of the day.

What this means for those of us who share our houses with children, (i.e., The Crazy People) is it is the beginning of a season-long argument about what to wear. Because no matter how cold it is or how many feet of snow on the ground there might be, the Shortlings will look out the window and think to themselves, Hey, it looks really downright freezing outside, WHAT A PERFECT TIME TO WEAR MY BATHING SUIT AND FLIP FLOPS.

And then when you, as a responsible parent, dare to suggest that perhaps they should maybe, consider, thinking about wearing some long pants and a coat, maybe a hat, since they've been coughing for six weeks now, World War III breaks out. Eventually, you just let your kid wear that skirt with naked legs and sandals to preschool, you don't care how many of her teachers will think badly of you, because it's easier than trying to get that kid into weather-appropriate clothing by eight o'clock in the morning, and IT'S JUST NOT WORTH IT. Instead, you run up the heater in the car and leave a pair of pants and socks in her cubby in case they decide to go outside with the distant hope that they have better luck dressing her.

In a related story, The Caterpillar doesn't seem to like to have her hat fastened around her chin and has found the most ingenious way to let us know:


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America's Superior Wang

Posted on 1/17/2011 04:54:00 PM In:
For as long as I've been living here, I've tried to take a decent picture of the Washington Monument. It would seem an easy enough subject. It always stands as still as a statue. It doesn't blink when you use the flash. Never turns its head to look at the TV when you're trying to photograph it modeling that dress Grandma sent for the latest birthday... and yet, for some reason it remains, for me at least, much more difficult to photograph than my children on their worst day.

When The KnaveofHearts was here over his winter break, we decided to take him to the Washington Monument since he didn't remember the last time he was there. (As well he shouldn't, I think he was six.) I thought it would be pretty cool to watch the sunset over Washington from atop the obelisk so I got the latest possible tickets in the day. Then the park rangers thwarted my plan by kicking us out before the sunset even happened. And when I say "kicking us out," I mean that literally. They actually turned off all the lights and left us standing up there in the dark while we waited for the elevators. It was subtle encouragement to leave, I guess.

I still can't say I've taken a photo of the Washington Monument that I'm spectacularly pleased with, but these two are my best so far.



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Holey Haberdashery, Batman

Posted on 1/15/2011 07:44:00 AM
My maternal grandmother was very particular about clothing. It's not that she was overly fussy or uppity; she came from an old dirt farming community and lived during the depression so she knew about frugality and making every penny stretch. But she was also a beautiful woman who took pride in her appearance. As long as I knew her, I don't think I ever saw her wear slacks (she always called them "slacks," never "pants"), and she always dressed up to leave the house. By dressed up, I mean she put on nylons, sandals with heels, earrings, and a better dress than the dress she wore around the house to do chores. Dressed up to go to church was another level above dressed up to go to the grocery store, which was a level above dressed up for puttering around the kitchen, which was a level above dressed to go outside and dig in the garden.

Every one of us grandchildren can remember and tell stories of her hatred of ratty, torn clothing. It's not that she threw out anything that wasn't the latest style. To the contrary, she used everything. She kept clothing nice, cleaned, stain-free and ironed. And when things would move beyond that stage, they were demoted to other uses. Old, frayed towels became dust rags. Old clothing was cut up and used as fodder for quilts and other sewing projects. To this day, I can look at the quilt she made me and match most of the patchwork squares to dresses I remember her wearing when I was a kid. There's something wonderful about that, by the way. This was what it was like to grow up in the early twentieth century and live during the depression. You made do with less than nothing sometimes, but you always made do with class.

This is all to say that she knew when it was time to move an item of clothing from the "good to use" category to the "too old to use for it's intended purpose" category better than most of us. I vividly remember that after every time Grandma came to visit, we would get new bath towels because as she'd sit around helping to fold the laundry, she'd tear all the frayed and threadbare towels in half so my mother would be forced to replace them. It might seem insensitive, but she was right. Our bath towels got pretty ratty.

If any of us grandchildren who had worked for hours with a cheese grater to get those oh so popular, perfectly distressed jeans with holes just where all the style magazines said you had to have them, we knew damn well not to wear those coveted jeans to Grandma's. Because if you had on those totally awesome jeans when you walked by her, she would hitch her index finger into one of those holes and pull, tearing that hole into a giant crevasse and then a pant leg or a sleeve would fall off your body. I don't think there was a one of us who didn't have that experience at least half a dozen times. No one really got upset about it, because Grandma was also a well-known prankster. We knew it was all in fun.

Cousin #1: "Hey, what happened to those radical [insert brand name of $200 jeans with just the right amount of fading, worn, and/or holes in just the right places] you used to have? I haven't seen them in awhile."

Cousin #2: "Oh..." *pause... heavy sigh... and then one word* "Grandma."

Cousin #1: *bumps chest with fist and raises eyes to the heavens* "I feel you, Cuz. I feel you."

OK. So maybe it wasn't a scene from Platoon, but we understood each other.

That was just Grandma and we all accepted it. Thought it was funny even. Even my uncle by marriage, who once got dressed only to find all the flies in his underwear sewn shut after she'd "helped" with the laundry, joined in with the fun. I always loved her sense of humor and now as an adult, I appreciate how she dealt with things more than ever.

Grandma's been gone for many years now, but I was channeling her the other night when The Dormouse came home from school, sat down on the couch between The KoH and I and propped up her feet on the ottoman (I can't ever use that word without thinking of this clip) to reveal a giant hole in her yoga pants. (Yes, she has had a pair of yoga pants. No, she doesn't do yoga.)

"You have a hole in your pants," I pointed out.

It barely registered on The Dormouse's radar (the TV was on), "Yeah."

"I think it might be time to throw them out."

No response. Still staring at TV.

"Look there's another hole over here on the side too."

I stuck my finger into the hole and tickled her through it. She snapped out of her TV trance for a second and laughed but never looked away from the TV. The KoH joined in and started sticking his fingers through the other hole and tickling her too.

KoH: "Look the hole's getting bigger."

And that's when the spirit of Grandma came over us both and we each crooked an index finger, stuck it into the same hole in the seam and pulled in opposite directions. The pants made a loud, satisfying riiiiiiiip and pulled apart all the way down her leg backed by the sound of us laughing.

Well, not all of us laughing.

Because The Dormouse? She

LOST

HER

MIND.

There was kicking and crying and weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. It was as if those pants had been made out of her favorite dancing hamster and we'd just eviscerated him right in front of her. It took me a good fifteen minutes just to calm her down.

Looking back, it was not my finest parenting moment.

I mean, it's true that my family is full of jokers and sometimes those jokes seem mean-spirited from the outside. But those of us who know and love our family members (and those of us who can take a joke) always knew they weren't. Everyone learned really quickly who among us could take a joke like that and who among us couldn't. Those who couldn't were never subjected to the tomfoolery.

I just thought my daughter was one of the ones who could.

Message received, darling daughter. Message received.

But I also believe that Grandma was looking down on that incident from where ever she is now and laughing silently like in the old days. And when I think about it - and The Dormouse is not looking - I secretly smile to myself.

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The Holiday of Driving Enjoyment

Posted on 1/14/2011 05:12:00 PM
The Dormouse: "Don't forget. I'm off school this Monday AND next Monday too."

The KingofHearts: "WHY??!?"

DM: "Well this Monday is Martin Luther King Day and next Monday is some other holiday that starts with an F, I forgot which."

KoH: "Flag Day?"

DM: "No."

KoH: "Fahrvergnügen Day?"

DM: "Yeah, I think that's it."

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Bumbles Bounce

Posted on 1/13/2011 07:51:00 AM In:
The Caterpillar singing:

"Mary had a little lamb,

little lamb, little lamb.
Mary had a little lamb.
The beast was white as snow."

I'm about ninety percent positive that she thinks she's singing about this guy:


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What He Said

Posted on 1/11/2011 12:27:00 PM
"This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely,
more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.
"

- Leonard Bernstein


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Few Words, Little Substance, But It's a Post

Posted on 1/11/2011 10:00:00 AM In:
Between the events of last weekend and an incident at my daughter's school that is still being argued over, I've lost a little bit of my faith in humanity and had to go on a self-imposed exile from the internet for a couple of days. Let's get back into the swing of things with a good old-fashioned internet meme, shall we? Translation: still can't think of anything I want to write about.

WHAT WAS YOUR:
1. last beverage: Diet Coke (still worshiping at the feet of the Cola Gods)
2. last phone call: my mother (sorry about that one, mom)
3. last text message: Stimey (always good for a laugh)
4. last song you listened to: The Perils of Penelope Pitstop theme song (maybe I should take back control of the television from The Caterpillar)
5. last time you cried: Yesterday.

HAVE YOU EVER:
6. dated someone twice: Yes
7. been cheated on: Yes
8. kissed someone & regretted it: You betcha
9. lost someone special: Yes
10. been depressed: besides now, you mean?
11. been drunk and threw up: No

LIST THREE FAVORITE COLORS:
12. black
13. black
14. black (see number 10)

IN 2010 HAVE YOU:
15. Made a new friend? Yes (surprised you, huh?)
16. Fallen out of love?: Not yet
17. Laughed until you cried?: No
18. Met someone who changed you?: I'm pretty hard to change
19. Found out who your true friends were?: Make that friend (singular) and we've got a yes
20. Found out someone was talking about you?: I just assume everyone's talking about me. I'm pretty noteworthy.
21. Kissed anyone on your facebook friends list: I like to keep my computer screen clean, thankyouverymuch.

GENERAL:
22. How many people on your facebook friends list do you know in real life: Most
24. Do you have any pets: Two ill-mannered cats
26. What did you do for your last birthday: Sat in a surgical waiting room
27. What time did you wake up today: 4:45 am (while considering the positive aspects of toddler melatonin)
28. What were you doing at midnight last night: Having an odd dream about paint peeling. (for reals)
29. Name something you CANNOT wait for: This survey to be over
30. Last time you saw your Mother: Too long ago
31. What is one thing you wish you could change about your life: The time it takes water to boil
32. What are you listening to right now: Penelope's perils (see #4)
33. Have you ever talked to a person named Tom: Oh yeah, Tom? He's awesome, isn't he?
34. What's getting on your nerves right now: People from freecycle who say they want something but then don't come get it and act like you stole from them when you give it to someone else two weeks later when they write to ask if it's still there
35. Most visited webpage: I have 1236 items in my browser history from the last seven days and most have been visited once. Lesson: I have a supremely short attention span.
37. Nicknames: I'd like to be called T-Bone
38. Relationship Status: Still on my practice marriage
39. Zodiac Sign: Do people still pay attention to these things?
40. He or She?: I think there's room for both in the world.
41. Elementary? Yes
42. Middle School? I had one
43. High School? Hated it
44. Hair Color? Still pretty black
45. Long or short: Long walks on the beach, short walks over hot coals
46. Height? I try and act big.
47. Do you have a crush on someone? John Cusack - he's been playing hard to get since the 80s
48: What do you like about yourself? I'm pretty capable
49. Piercings? Three
50. Tattoos? I only suffer from tattoo envy
51. Righty or lefty? whichever is more convenient at the time
52. First surgery: I think I was 8 or 9 years old
53. First piercing: 15 years old
54. First best friend: Peanut. Don't even remember her name because that's what everyone called her.
55. First sport you joined: volleyball. Then I messed up my knee for years and became a music geek.
59. Eating - nothing
60. Drinking - Diet Coke
61. I'm about to: finish cleaning the oven. Welcome to my life of reckless abandon.
62. Listening to: NPR podcasts
63. Waiting for: my rocket to come
64. Want kids? Reconsidering that... it's not too late, right?
65. Want to get married? Only if the perfect Sugar Daddy comes along.
66. Career? I'd like to be a Lady of Leisure.

WHICH IS BETTER :
67. Lips or eyes? = Eyes
68. Hugs or kisses = Hugs
69. Shorter or taller = I'd like to be able to get my dishes off the top shelf of the cabinets without climbing on something
70. Older or Younger = I'd prefer someone who acts his age
71. Romantic or spontaneous = My non-romantic nature is well-documented
72. Nice stomach or nice arms = I'm assuming this section is discussing relationships but I'm just gonna put out there that I wouldn't turn down a free tummy tuck.
73. Sensitive or loud = Can I say quiet and not sensitive?
74. Hook-up or relationship = I like relationships but can't they be a little less intrusive? I mean, maybe I could just buy the house next door and let them visit when I'm feeling up to it.
75. Trouble maker or hesitant = How about a person who's hesitant about making trouble?

HAVE YOU EVER :
76. Kissed a stranger = Yes
77. Drank hard liquor = No
78. Lost glasses/contacts = No
79. Sex on first date =No
80. Broken someone's heart = I'm pretty sure you can't break a heart; you can smoosh it though
81. Had your own heart broken = Smooshed, in fact.
82. Been arrested = but for the grace of God
83. Turned someone down = Yes
84. Cried when someone died = Yes
85. Fallen for a friend = Yes

DO YOU BELIEVE IN:
86. Yourself = sure, you know if I don't expect too much from myself
87. Miracles = Miracles are really just stuff we can't explain, right? Like why the mailman comes at 9:00 am one day and 5:00 pm the next?
88. Love at first sight = No
89. Heaven = I'm hopeful
90. Santa Claus = Yes, Virginia
91. Kiss on the first date = Yes, I believe there are people who kiss on the first date.
92. Angels = Every time a bell rings...

ANSWER TRUTHFULLY:
93. Had more than one bf/gf? At a time?
94. Is there one person you want to be with right now? I spend quite a bit of my day searching for solitude.
95. Did you sing today? Yes, but only to drown out the music in my head.
96. Ever cheated on somebody? No.
98. If you could pick a day from last year and relive it, what would it be? That day when I won a million dollars, tax free. Wait that didn't happen? I'd like that to happen first, as long as we're asking.
99. Are you afraid of falling in love? No
100. Posting this as 100 truths? At this point, I've invested to much time not to do so.

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Tender Moments are Fleeting

Posted on 1/06/2011 10:05:00 AM
Scene: family is sitting around dinner table and The Caterpillar is actually eating her food for a change instead of arguing about it because she thinks she might have seen something that could be classified as "healthy" on her plate. (Incidentally, have had good luck with the "Mrs. Obama says you have to eat it" approach on that front. There's almost never an argument when I think to employ that strategy. Thanks, Monica and hooray for the Nanny State!)

Me: "You're doing such a good job eating your dinner. I'm proud of you."

::The Caterpillar leans over and kisses me on the forearm.::

Me: *chuckles* "You are... alternatively... the Sweetest Girl in the World and the Spawn of Satan. It just depends on the minute."

::I reach over to hug her and she leans in so my arm wraps around her neck instead of her shoulder::

Caterpillar: *lets out a growl/gurgle/scream from the back of her throat that would rival Linda Blair's in The Exorcist.*

::Entire family bursts out laughing.::

Me: "...aaaand there it goes."

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Music History Class

Posted on 1/04/2011 07:44:00 AM
We went into one of those "50s themed diners that plays music from pretty much any decade BUT the 50s because the staff is so young they think music recorded in the 70s is the same thing" the other day. You know what I mean, right? The ones with jukeboxes at every table where you sit there pumping dimes into it and never hear your song because no one has bothered to post a sign or tell you that they aren't actually hooked up to play? That kind.

(Digression: I hadn't thought of this in years but in my home town during the
Happy Days heyday and its aftermath, there was a 50s-themed restaurant in every corner of the city. One of them was named Eddie's and was actually owned by Ken Osmond... that Ken Osmond. Sadly, Ken's business venture, also known as "cashing in," opened at the tail end of the Sit on It craze and they didn't do very well. Eventually they were forced to sell out. But I'm sure he was super polite to all the bankers when he showed up to declare bankruptcy. /digression)

Anyway.... at this particular restaurant there's a big screen in the waiting area which they use to play classic music videos on a loop while you wait for your table. While we were standing there, The Dormouse started jumping up and down, pointing and panting, and announced to the entire restaurant (because she was born without the ability to modulate the volume of her voice and therefore lacks the ability to speak to just the three people who are standing next to her),

"LOOK MOMMA, IT'S A WHOLE BUNCH OF DIFFERENT-SIZED MICHAEL JACKSONS!"

We, along with all the other restaurant patrons, looked up to find this video playing. And then everyone got a good laugh.

I must say I'm pretty proud that The Dormouse recognized Michael Jackson at all from before his plastic surgery/troubled legal history days - even before Thriller (which I would have been content with her knowing). But I might have to make a little more of an effort to step up her pop music history education. I'm just sayin'.

In no particular order: MichaelJackie, MichaelTito, MichaelJermaine, MichaelMarlon and Michael

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My Favorite Comic Strip of All Time

Posted on 1/03/2011 06:13:00 AM In:
Almost ten years ago, I cut this strip out of the newspaper and put it on my fridge. It's been there since that day until a few days ago when I ripped it in half by accident. Fortunately, thanks to the interweb, I was able to find it again by doing a search of the words, "Dilbert" and "weasels." Oh, Google, you complete me.

It's a little optimistic for the first day back to work in the new year, but then I've always been kind of a Pollyanna.


Dilbert.com

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Some Acquaintances Should Be Forgot

Posted on 1/01/2011 12:02:00 AM

Hope yours was way happier.

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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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