Bound to Enjoy

Posted on 5/31/2012 04:21:00 PM
So much work.  So very busy.

Please to enjoy these photos of the Shortlings instead of actual thought and preparation from my brain which, I'm guessing, approximates a thick jelly-like substance these days.

I believe there are some really clever bondage references to make here, so I'll let you do that in the comments because all I can come up with is: Fire bad, tree pretty.



"And who tied her up this way?" you might ask?


Hmmm, I wonder.




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Daddyless

Posted on 5/24/2012 09:02:00 AM In: , ,
The KingofHearts took off for a retreat of sorts a little while ago.  His thought was he'd spend the entire weekend alone, without distractions, and he could write and work on his novel.  (That's not nearly as douche-y as it sounds, but he's gonna have to be the one to prove that to you.)  It was something he's wanted to do for awhile and with the help of Monica, who hooked him up with some hotel points, he drove about an hour out of town to make that dream a reality.  

I'm gonna spare you all the names I made up for his weekend away while he was gone because most of them aren't appropriate for mixed company. (Hint: what rhymes with vacation?)  However, Monica and I also spent the entire weekend thinking up hilarious things we could do to him before he got there or that we could do if we waited around for when he happened to leave the room.  Among those things were:
  1. Fill entire room with crumbled up newspaper
  2. Short sheet bed
  3. Make call to room service for ten gallons of ice cream to be delivered at three am
  4. Anonymous call to maintenance to fix broken toilet at three am
  5. Hire prostitute to be naked in his bed when he got back from lunch
  6. Have Monica be naked in his bed when he got back from lunch, claiming she thought all that can you help me get a hotel so I can spend a weekend by myself alone talk was just code in case his wife happened to read his email
  7. Fill entire room with balloons... filled with shaving cream
  8. Fill his car with Styrofoam packing peanuts (you may laugh, but I have actually done this to people in the past)
  9. Take all his clothes out of suitcase, fill clothes with packing peanuts and stage several KoH effigies to be sitting around desk drinking tea when he got back
  10. Open room while he was out for lunch, turn on television to cartoon channel, leave all three kids in room and tell them to wait there until Daddy got back, then close door and be unavailable by phone
  11. Purchase one of those blow up sex dolls and hang it, dangling in front of door, so when he opened door, it would be staring at him
  12. Purchase several dozen blow up sex dolls and fill room with them when he went out to lunch
  13. Wait until he leaves room, stage fake crime scene, complete with broken lamps and blood spatter on ceiling - perhaps follow with anonymous call to police

Looking at this list, the thing I think is probably most obvious is that you really should stay on my good side.  The list of things I fantasized about doing to the hit and run driver who did $3000 worth of damage to my car and, as it turns out, lives two blocks down the street from me*, is not nearly so kind and borders on the level of PsyOps.**

While The KoH was gone, I made the Shortlings omelets for breakfast one day. The level of surprise that I could make something that actually tasted good was probably a bit overdone.  The Caterpillar would like you to know that momma "makes the best omelets in the world... better than China's... or everybody."
I'd say that that was because I harvested fresh herbs for the omelets from my new herb garden, but I'm guessing that's more because China's omelets probably don't have cheese in them.

And during the Great Omelet Meal of 2012, this bewildering conversation was heard in the kitchen: 
"These omelets are great, aren't they?"
 "Yes.  They are great.  Daddy never used to make us omelets when he used to live here."

If we ever do get divorced, I'm guessing the adjustment won't be that difficult for them.
 
*Yes, I'm sure. CSI: Wonderland
**Disclaimer: I have not done, nor do I plan to do any of these things.
Do not send law enforcement to my house.***
***Or if you must, send law enforcement from my county because, much like my hit and run driver, I'm pretty sure they won't do anything about it, but they will yell at you for being a victim all wrong.

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Overlooked Before

Posted on 5/22/2012 04:13:00 PM
The Dormouse has been on the near-constant hunt for four-leaf clovers since attending a church party back in March where the kids all went outside to find one.  Since then, she has found at least a dozen of these.  I used to look for them when I was a kid and I never remember finding even one.  Either she has better eyes than I or a longer attention span.



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Fernish

Posted on 5/20/2012 08:29:00 AM
We've planted all sorts of newish things in our front yard this year, experimenting with stuff that grows in the shade -- because wegottalottathat.  I don't know if any of it will survive past the spring, but it's fun trying to figure out what everything is as it comes up.  I am notoriously terrible at identifying plants and Monica has been trying to help me figure out what poison ivy around my yard looks like, which goes something like this:  

"See that?" 

"Carrot?"

"No. Poison ivy. See that?"

"Strawberry?"

"No.  Poison ivy. See that?"


"No. Poison ivy."

However, she did try to identify my raspberries as poison ivy last night, so I'm thinking it might be a bit of a simulacrum situation: she's seeing the face of God in a slice of toast.

Here's something I'm pretty sure is not poison ivy:



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Farenheit 451: 2012 Edition

Posted on 5/19/2012 08:02:00 AM
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The KingofHearts gave me one of them there Star Trek books for Mother's Day.  I had given him one for our anniversary last month, mostly to stave off his book hoarding problem so some archeologist doesn't unearth our mummified bodies one day many thousands of years in the future and assume we were some sort of royalty, buried in a ritualistic fashion meant to transport our knowledge with us into the afterlife.  

I wasn't really thinking that I'd want one for myself when I got him his, but it's one of those presents that you never knew you wanted, but then once you have it, you're all, "how did I not know I needed this?"

The Caterpillar feels the same way about her new hat.




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Cat TV

Posted on 5/18/2012 08:00:00 AM In:
All I can think of when I look at this photo is that scene from Dumb and Dumber.

Harry: Where's the booze?
Lloyd: I got robbed by a sweet old lady on a motorized cart. I didn't even see it coming.
Harry: Oh, no, no.
Lloyd: Come on, Harry.
Harry: It gets worse. My parakeet, Petey.
Lloyd: Yeah?
Harry: He's dead.
Lloyd: Oh, man, I'm sorry. What happened?
Harry: His head fell off.
Lloyd: His head fell off?
Harry: Yeah. He was pretty old. 

 


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Consonent Blends Still a Small Issue

Posted on 5/17/2012 08:00:00 AM In:
"Momma, how do you say sfotted?"

"You mean, thought?"

"No sfotted. I can't say it right."

"Sought?"

"No, sfot!"

"Fought?"

"sFFFFFot.  Sfotted."

"Slotted?"

"NO! SFOTTED!"

"Oh, honey, I'm sorry, but I just don't know what you're trying to say to me."

*She wanders off, exasperated*

Turns out it was spotted.

I should have known, really.


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Fly Away Home

Posted on 5/16/2012 06:25:00 AM
Monica's Mother's Day present to me was watching my kids while I played a gig since The KingofHearts was out of town.  Also, a package of a thousand live ladybugs.  It's good to have friends like her because they manage to give you things you never even knew you were missing.

You thought I was kidding, didn't you?
But then again, for two days all the ladybugs crawled around our deck like this:


So the result of that gift was that I had to have a talk with my kids about the birds and the bees... and the ladybugs, apparently.

And I didn't get her anything.

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Tea-riffic

Posted on 5/15/2012 03:51:00 PM
Mother's Day this year shall heretofore go unspoken-of in our house.  Suffice it to say, if you want to lose a few pounds, I know a great little local restaurant where you can take home a fantastic Mother's day meal consisting of a Reuben sandwich and case of food poisoning. Then, while I was lying on the floor of my bathroom trying to recover from that today, some jerkoff ran into my car while it was parked on the street and sped off before anyone could get his (her? beats me) license plate. But I think the most insulting part of the whole thing was the police woman who responded and wasn't at all concerned about the hit and run driver who left a portion of his front fender attached by my car, but did decide to greet me by saying, "Can't you find any better place to park? You should try parking in your driveway."  So sorry my legally-parked car was such an inconvenience to that person who blew through a stop sign to hit it, lady.  THIS is why people don't love the police.

The girls tried really hard to make my Mother's Day special and I was almost conscious through a portion of it. Long enough to see this adorable thing. 

Note says, "Your tea-riffic mom!"

That's a teacup made from a fruit cup container and a saucer made from aluminum foil.  Also a tea bag they stole from my purse that I yelled at them for taking and opening before I knew what they were trying to do with it.  

Happy Mother's Day to a giant heel.

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If You Please

Posted on 5/11/2012 08:30:00 AM
I love it when they sit like this.  I love it even more when I can sneak around the room, grab my camera and take a picture without alerting them before they move.



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Little Purple Flower

Posted on 5/10/2012 04:12:00 PM
We get our yard mulch each year from the county recycling center.  They basically give it away to people and we used to go have them load up our pickup a couple of times a year until we didn't have a pickup anymore and learned that they will drop off a truckload of it in your driveway for less than a Jackson.  (There's several years of shoveling mulch out of the pickup that we're never going to get back.)  But because it's recycled from all the leaves and yard waste the county picks up in the fall, there are often odd things growing in it.  Last year we had an overabundance of mushrooms; the year before that, we had a few random tomatoes come up where we planted none; we've even had pumpkins mysteriously volunteer in places where a pumpkin seed never got near. It's always a surprise.

This year this little enigmatic flower sprung up out of nowhere.  We spent a couple of weeks debating what it might be and then finally when it bloomed, The KingofHearts cut a flower off and took it to our neighborhood nursery, where the people they employ have forgotten more about plants then I ever cared to know.  He walked up to a sales associate with the stalk in his hand and said, "I have a question maybe you can answer...."

"I bet you're going to ask me what that Columbine in your hand is, aren't you?"





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If I Could Put Dreams in a Bottle

Posted on 5/05/2012 12:37:00 PM
I think my favorite thing about having a kid in school are the projects. Not the homework.  Not the discipline plan.  Not the issues that require a dozen emails from the principal before she just answers my yes or no question.  The projects however? Are a ton of fun.  

I love watching them be creative and to find a way to incorporate what they've learned into some tangible example.  The Dormouse is a whole world learner.  I am a singularly visual learner.  To get through my sight singing course in college, I used to imagine the buttons of my shirt as piano keys and then I could sing a major 2nd, minor 3rd, perfect 4th, etc. on demand during a test by looking down at my shirt, seeing the space between my buttons then translating that visual cue into a sound in my head which I could reproduce. (Yes, it's odd, but not nearly as odd as my theory teacher, who admitted he did the same thing with his teeth and tried to imagine playing piano concertos from inside his mouth with his tongue.)  The Dormouse's father, on the other hand, is a singularly auditory learner.  I loved the fact that they invented a mute button on the television remote until I married the KingofHearts.  Now, it doesn't matter if I hit the mute button, because he just rattles off the dialog to every commercial anyway.   

I said we were visual and auditory-focused.  I didn't say we weren't weird.

I've watched both The Dormouse and The Caterpillar for years now to try and determine their respective learning styles and figure out what works best for each of them, but neither one seems to lean to one particular side or another.  Maybe as they grow older, I'll start to see it, but right now, they both seem to just need a whole lot of different approaches at once in order to internalize information. 

This is why projects in school, rather than pages and pages of homework problems or rote memorization  are awesome.  The Dormouse learns much more from something she has to research, gather information on and then present it in some creative and personal way.  She is also way more excited about it, which makes a gigantic difference in how she views and internalizes the learning material.

The downside of projects is they tend to be strictly homework and the kids get little direction.  The Dormouse will get a vague direction like last week's "Put a dream in a bottle" and she'll have an idea in her head as to what she wants to do.  But then she often isn't physically adept enough or doesn't know the resources available to create it.  I probably help her more than I should, but I definitely try to make it her project and not mine. 

Not so sure about The KingofHearts, whom I overhead heard say to The Dormouse when he was helping her with this one:  "Back off; I don't need your help!"

Ummm.... there was probably a reasonable explanation.

This is The Dormouse's dream: A Day Underwater.


I'm sure The KingofHearts will get an A.

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Well, What Do YOU See?

Posted on 5/04/2012 08:00:00 AM In:
"Look what I made with the marbles, momma."

"That's a nice pattern."

"Doesn't it look like a guy who's sitting on the toilet and he's pooping and yay-ing?"

"Yay-ing?"

"Uh huh. Saying Yay!"

"So you think it looks like a guy who's simultaneously pooping and yay-ing?"

"Yes."

"I never really thought about it like that."

"Well, you should.  Because that's what it is."



It's like that old lady or young woman illusion... only much more disturbing.

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Slyvia Plath Goes to Elementary School

Posted on 5/03/2012 09:30:00 AM
The Dormouse is learning about the Titanic in social studies this week.  Wasn't aware that was third grade curriculum, but eh, whatevs. I'm just happy that they're actually reading books about it and no one has told them to come home and ask their parents if they can watch that James Cameron movie

Shhhh! She doesn't seem to have any awareness that there even was some movie about the Titanic.  Let's try and keep it that way, huh?  If she asks, I plan to show her The Unsinkable Molly Brown and claim that's the only one I know.  The music is a lot better in that.

For their activity, the teacher photocopied some of the literature they were reading and asked them to cut out the words and select/rearrange them to write a poem about the disaster.  A cheaper, less magnetic, version of magnetic poetry.  This is what The Dormouse created:


It might be hard to read, so I'll transcribe:

passengers say

ship's safe,
but
it's not!
help us!

help!

Then below, you can see the broken ship sinking down under the waterline.

At first, I was all, "WHAT THE %$^&?"

And then within about two seconds, that feeling was replaced by tremendous pride.

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Sew Big

Posted on 5/01/2012 03:04:00 PM

 

In the varied interests department, one of the things I got The Dormouse for Christmas was a kids' sewing machine. She's been interested in taking on new skills lately and it seemed kind of a cool, Big Girl Thing for her.  When I was a kid, probably younger than The Dormouse is now, I remember getting a play sewing machine that used glue instead of a needle and thread to "stitch" the pieces of fabric together.  A cool idea - it's hard to glue your fingers together even if you do run your thumb under the place where the fabric goes - but I also remember that thing, while a cool idea, not being able to "sew" for crap.  So when I saw this kids' chain stitch sewing machine (not this exact one, but similar) at a local hobby store, I thought it might be a good introduction to sewing for her.

Save your money. 

Honestly, it really was a cool idea and I loved how the needle was encased in a plastic box so you couldn't possibly sew your fingers together.  But two things happened: one) it turned out to be really a little more toy than I had hoped.  That thing was a bitch to thread because of that plastic box; The Dormouse had a really hard time managing it on her own and I have become too farsighted in my old age to be able to see it without an all out search for my glasses first.  Once we finally got it threaded, it did produce a chain stitch, but that came apart really easy, even if you did figure out how to knot it.  Even when it was all threaded and working, the whole thing would just randomly seize up if you looked at it sideways.  After about the fifteenth time I watched her try to sew something she'd been really excited about and finally throw her hands up in frustration, I decided to look around for better option. The second thing that happened was) I figured out with the crochet project that I sometimes underestimate The Dormouse.  She's old enough and capable enough to work a traditional sewing machine.   

I stumbled on a list of online reviews of the best kids' sewing machines out there and found a well-reviewed, but relatively inexpensive, alternative and ordered it online.  I'm not particularly good at ordering things online.  I sometimes assume a certain size or quality and with this one, I didn't really look at the dimensions of the machine or see it in real life; I just figured I was getting the same smaller-than-a-breadbox, toy-style machine, but one that sewed in the traditional way.  Imagine my surprise when what arrived wasn't a miniature "kids' machine" but just a regular full-sized sewing machine any adult would use.  I may have made certain, unfounded assumptions about an online item, but at least I only ordered one, so I'm still doing better than The KingofHearts

Ultimately the machine I got was nicer - and cheaper! - than the sewing machine I own, so I decided to just keep it and teach her to use it, with special repeated instructions to not sew over her thumbs.

She took to it handily.

I'm proud to say no fingers were sewed in the completion of this project.

But some fingers were, in fact, ironed. Oops.

The first thing she made was a very simple halter top-style shirt.  One piece of fabric, sew up the side, across the top and bottom, stick in a ribbon... voila.

I like this picture a whole lot but The Dormouse calls it "ridiculous" because, clearly those pajama pants don't go with that top, "Duh, Mom."

She insists this be the photo I use, but this one sucks because I took it on a camera phone in crappy light. "Duh Dormouse."  You can see where our respective priorities lie.

She was so proud of this shirt she could have almost burst.  That night, she wore it to a neighbor's dinner party, got a ton of compliments on it, and then while she was goofing around trying to climb a flagpole, she tore a big hole in it.  It don't think I've seen that kind of pain on her face in a very long time.  (I mended it later and patched up the tear, but she hasn't recovered from the trauma enough to actually wear the shirt again.)

Next, she wanted to make a project for her sister and she was so successful with the first one in the not sewing of fingers together, I just went ahead and bought a pattern for a simple skirt and taught her how to follow a pattern. Except I misread the instructions when explaining it to her and we ended up with one of each piece instead of the required two. She got about halfway through the skirt before I noticed something was off.  She had basically been working on a doll-size skirt.  Fortunately, we had enough leftover material to re-cut it and she did finish the skirt for her sister, which she dubbed The Caterpillar's Easter outfit.

Then she took the mistake pieces and, with no help from me, played around with them until she figured out how to make a doll dress for The Caterpillar's bear. I am more proud of her for this than the actual skirt.



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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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