Driven by Id

Posted on 10/30/2012 10:36:00 AM
Me: "I think I wanna make some eggs with hot sauce on them.  Do you want some?"

KoH: "It's 10:30 am.  What brought that on?"

"I saw a picture of hot sauce."

"So the eggs are just a delivery system for the hot sauce?"

"Pretty much."

*shakes head*

"Well, you can't very well just eat a spoonful of hot sauce, can you?"

I'd finish the story, but I have to go make some eggs.

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Pumpkin Making

Posted on 10/29/2012 07:52:00 PM
Frankenstorm is still dumping water on us. Believe it or not, we've had electricity for most of the day.  But no worries, we are confident the blackout will occur eventually as we know our city all too well.  

After I allowed the Shortlings to watch a ridiculous amount of television in ananticipation of not having power for the next week, The KingofHearts came home from work and we spent our afternoon carving jack-o-lanterns.  Favorite moment:  when The Dormouse kept suggesting designs for The Caterpillar to use on her pumpkin.  The Caterpillar posited more than once that she would prefer to decide what would go on her pumpkin for herself, but The Dormouse continued to try and be helpful, pulling out designs from the book she thought would be easy for her sister to carve.  Finally, The Caterpillar responded with as much righteous indignation as she could muster and said:

"You know, I HAVE a brain.  And I can think of things FOR MYSELF."

Then she went to the table and drew out her prototype for a KittyPumpkin:


 After which, she transferred her design to her two small pumpkins and pretty much carved them both herself, with one "smiling kitty" and one "fang-y kitty."


How much do I love that kid?  So much.

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There's a Hurricane Acomin'

Posted on 10/29/2012 12:21:00 AM In:
It may or may not be apparent that Frankenstorm and its impending doom will rain down upon us shortly.  Since a warm, gentle breeze knocks out our infrastructure these days, we are pretty much planning to be without power for days.  This weekend was spent preparing for Hurricane Sandy with the following To-Do List:
  1. decide whether you wish to call it Frankenstorm, Scare-icane, or The Ghost of Irene. 
  2. charge cell phones and electronic devices; fill cars with gas
  3. praise husband for that generator he made us buy after the last storm
  4. throw a case of water in the freezer because the entire area has bought every bag of ice from every convenience store.
  5. go to friends' house to help them with their generator when they brought it out to test it and could not get it started
  6. go to Home Depot to replace the pull rope for the friends' generator after your husband broke it
  7. remember that you broke that handy oil lamp last year; go to three stores trying to find another one
  8. realize that not only do stores not have oil lamps two days before a hurricane hits, but also they do not carry oil lamps at any time during the year; also: many store employees do not know what an oil lamp is
  9. give up and get ice cream instead
  10. order oil lamp on amazon.com; by my calculations, it should be here shortly after the power is restored
  11. spend hours talking to children about what will happen to Halloween, a source of great concern; prepare for a week without school
  12. watch up as many shows on the DVR as possible
  13. look up recipe for Cake Batter Ice Cream
We honestly have no illusions that we will have any electricity next week after Monday night, so we'll see you on the other side.  Stay safe everyone.

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Along Came a Spider

Posted on 10/27/2012 05:14:00 AM

The lesser known of the Alex Cross movies.

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It's a Major Award

Posted on 10/25/2012 05:00:00 PM
The Dormouse came home from school last week more excited than Ralphie's dad at Christmastime. Apparently, the local fire house had come by the school back in September and presented a poster contest where the kids were asked to make come up with a poster about an aspect of fire safety and The Dormouse's poster had been chosen as one of the winners.

We didn't even know she'd entered the contest, nor had she thought enough about it to tell us she'd entered, but once she won something, this became the crowning moment of our young girl's life.  We asked what she'd done for her poster and she said she couldn't really remember.  But the firehouse had scheduled an awards ceremony and our presence was requested. 

That awards ceremony was this week.

First, we had to endure a "turn-out drill" in which firemen put all their gear on so that children wouldn't be scared of them when they came to their house, and then proceeded to tell the children every scary thing about what would bring the firemen to their house.
  

My favorite part of this portion of the afternoon was when they told the kids that they probably wouldn't bother to rescue their pets.

Then, there was a puppet show which probably violated several trademarks but wherein Elmo and Cookie Monster discussed fire safety on the Sesame Street.  I have no pictures of this portion of the afternoon, but the best line comes from that part:

"That's not a fireman's mask!  That's a Dixie Cup with the bottom poked out of it!"

Then the awards.


I tried to get her to turn around for a picture but this was the best I got.

She ended up getting third place in her grade level.



As each child was called to the front by the Chief - who could not pronounce even the simplest of names but who explained up front that he is "not a linguitist" so it's totally okay that he couldn't say "Erica" right - his or her poster was displayed by an extremely bored-looking Miss Teenage Fire Prevention.  

Most of the posters were along the lines of:
  • Don't play with matches.
  • Make sure you turn off the stove before you leave the house.
  • Don't ever leave a candle burning when you leave the house.
  • Put your campfire out completely before you go to sleep at night.

Wanna know what The Dormouse's poster was?

Do you really wanna know?

"Don't wipe up one chemical with a rag, and then use the same rag to wipe up another chemical and then put the rag in a trash can when it's not completely dried out yet.  (I know.  My dad nearly burned down the house when I was three)."

So that's the story of how our daughter won a major award and outed us as persona non grata at the firehouse at the same time. 


Kids are so not worth it sometimes.

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Children of the Corn

Posted on 10/22/2012 05:29:00 AM

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To Gillian on her 12th Birthday

Posted on 10/20/2012 10:30:00 AM

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Not a Bad Likness

Posted on 10/19/2012 08:27:00 AM
KingofHearts: "What's that?"

Caterpillar: "Oh, that's a picture. I drew it."

"Yes, but what is this picture?"

"It's the Headless Horseman."

"You didn't read about it in school, did you?"

"No."

"Well then, how do YOU know about the Headless Horseman?"

"Scooby Doo."




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Secret Message

Posted on 10/18/2012 02:14:00 PM
Maybe not the best thing to find scrawled on the arm of the chair in your doctor's office.



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When Was the Last Time You Went "Wahoo?"

Posted on 10/17/2012 08:31:00 AM


Sometimes stopping by one of those roadside street festivals and dropping over sixty bucks on bad food and overpriced rides is totally worth it.

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Maiden in the Grass

Posted on 10/16/2012 09:08:00 AM


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Thai Tabasco Sauce

Posted on 10/15/2012 08:19:00 AM In:
Last year we grew Thai Chili peppers in our container garden on the front steps of the house.  They're an amazing little pepper: crazy hot and super easy to grow, with a large yield from a tiny plant even in a cramped pot because its owner is too cheap to buy a decent sized one and instead prefers to plant in what's been leftover from last year and sitting outside by the trashcans all winter.  But the problem with them was that while I love them, I don't tend to cook Thai food.  It takes a long time and I'm really pretty lazy.  I'm not saying I don't like Thai food, mind you, so if someone wanted to come to my house and make me some Tom Yum Soup, I totally wouldn't say no. *hint hint*

When I tried to use these unusually flavored peppers in things I normally cook, it just didn't taste right.  Since I didn't really know what to do with them, a lot of them went to waste last year.  

So of course, I totally had to grow them again this year.  Without the slightest idea how to use them. Because I am a glutton for punishment.


Growing stage

Enter my friend Brock, who has forgotten more about cooking than I ever knew, and this little post about homemade hot sauce he wrote a couple of years ago.  His post is pretty self-explanatory, so you can read that for the recipe and I'll just show you my progress.

Fermenting stage.

Blending stage, blending stage, blending stage.

The KingofHearts is fond of telling people that I have two working taste buds and one of them only wakes up for Tabasco. But after making my own, I may never purchase a bottle of Tabasco again.  

Now the only problem is that you can't really eat it with a spoon... so I'm constantly searching for some new thing to pour this stuff over... so I eat five meals a day.


Looking for stuff to put it on stage
The Final Product Stage


Seriously, this is the best hot sauce you're ever gonna try; so go look at that website and make some.  

Do it now.

Go forth and blend.

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Colorful

Posted on 10/13/2012 07:20:00 AM

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Buddha In the Weeds

Posted on 10/12/2012 07:09:00 AM

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And This One, I Love

Posted on 10/08/2012 08:43:00 PM
Nine.
 
 

The only thing The Dormouse wanted to do for her ninth birthday was go to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Festival... again.  We spent a big wad of money on the Ren. Fair when we went last month, but she decided she'd rather do that than have a party with lots of friends.  Then as the day drew close, she realized that there'd be none of her friends to celebrate her birthday with her and started to get disappointed about that.  She needed a win this month, so we invited a family we know with kids similar in age to ours to come with us and paid their way in as bribery (because I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have come otherwise).  And then those people wanted to stay overnight in a hotel so they could swim in the pool.  And then we came up with the idea of going to Hershey's Chocolate World the next day.  And that's how The Dormouse's ninth birthday got away from us... little by little.

Word to the wise. If you plan and spend hundreds of dollars on not just an event but an entire Destination Birthday, but you do not have boxes of presents to open, the birthday will be a bust. You will have to explain that the books she got last night and the money she received from Grandmas and Grandpas and the costumes and the friends coming along and the overnight hotel stay and the food and the rides and the swimming and the gift card from that awful store and and and... actually ARE her birthday presents and she better start appreciating them or next year she could stay home and open box after box of Nothing.


She eventually figured it out.

Another point of information.  You will also have to deal with a whole new year of attitude when she asks you to be allowed to go wander around the fair by herself with her friend and no adults.  And when you say no, it's just too crowded, her snarky response will be: "Oh. I guess I didn't just turn nine then."

Like the world had just changed and its rules no longer had hold over her but we were just to stupid and had failed to recognize that fact.

I apologize if this comes off as complainy or bitchy (I'm seeing a doctor to have that removed) and maybe this should be another post entirely, but what I'm about to say below has been on my mind for some time and like most things that are bouncing around in there, they grow mold if I don't flush them out.

In reflecting over the last nine years of parenthood, I think one of the things that has bothered me the most is the number of people who just don't like my kid, or who go out of their way to point out her faults. I've run across this from friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances, teachers and people in the grocery store in ways that range from innocent and appropriate all the way to obvious, intentional and downright mean. I know I shouldn't take it personally and I admit, I'm guilty of saying something negative about her within earshot more than once. It's something I'm working on. But when other people say mean things about your kid to you, there are no two ways about it.  It hurts.

Here's the thing. You may think you're performing a service to the world by pointing shortcomings to the parents of a spirited child but you are really only accomplishing two things: you are hurting the feelings of the parent and you are bit by bit destroying the self esteem of a child who could sometimes could use a little more positive reinforcement. What you are NOT doing is "helping."

Look, I know my kid can be annoying. I live with her every day. If you think the Annoying isn't obvious to me, the person who puts up with her 24/7, then you must really think I walk around in a daze. She's not a shrinking wallflower, I get that. In times past, when children were supposed to be seen and not heard, my kid would never have excelled. Hell, she'd never have survived. That's why I'm glad she was born now. 

She's never been shy. She's never been afraid to speak her mind. She doesn't back down when she thinks she's right. She has boundless enthusiasm for... pretty much everything... which can quickly turn into overbearing. She'll dig her heels in on some unimportant point and argue until she's blue in the face. She hasn't quite figured out how to reign all that in just yet because... She's. Only. Nine. But it's exactly those qualities that are going to serve her well in adulthood and if the world crushes her enthusiasm now, before she gets to the point where those qualities are useful and appreciated, it would be a huge shame. You might be proud of your kid who never speaks to adults, can't be heard above a whisper when she answers questions, and always does everything everyone tells him without question, but you are just going to have different problems when that kid gets to high school and college. So good job on the child raising. Let me know how the therapy works out. It's like I told her teacher in our conference last week: All the education in the world will be useless to her if she doesn't emerge from these years with an in-tact self concept.

She still has a lot of learning to do about how to be in life. So, yes, I know my kid can be annoying. But you know what? Yours can too. I'm annoyed by someone's kid every day, multiple times a day. It's what kids do. I'm pretty sure the main goal of every kid's life is to see how MANY people they can annoy each day.  So maybe we should all just remember what Thumper's mom told him and keep it to your @#$% self.  (paraphrasing)

This kid is fearless in so many ways...



brilliant in so many ways...



beautiful in so many ways... 

 
And I love her in more ways than I ever thought possible.

I joke a lot about how I used to have a life before The Children came, but the truth is that in many ways, my life didn't really begin until This One entered into it. These nine years have been wonderful, bucolic, maddening, hilarious, frightening, desperate, and awe inspiring.



There's so much I want for her, but if there was only one thing I could teach my children, it would be that in this life, there is joy.  Sure there will be sadness, death, pain, fear and loss, but along with that (not despite it, but often because of it), if they choose to look at it right, there is joy in this life. And they have every right to claim it.

I want her to fly.

 

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Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Balls

Posted on 10/05/2012 06:14:00 PM In:
"What did you do at school today?"

"We played soccer in PE."

"Cool.  Did you lean anything?"

"We played this game where were were supposed to be pirates and we were supposed to keep the treasure away from the other pirates.  We all had soccer balls and we had to use our feet to keep the treasure away from the other pirates who wanted to steal it."

"That sounds fun."

"It was!  Because the ball is your treasure.... wait, that doesn't sound right."

Nearly nine years old and totally understands double entendre.  My work here is done.

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Swallowtail Butterfly

Posted on 10/03/2012 10:25:00 PM
Sometimes having kids reminds you to look out at the world and to appreciate its beauty.  Right after you curse the universe because your ears have started to bleed from hearing "Mom! Mom mom mom!  Mom, c'mere! Mom, mom mom.  Mom!  C'mere! Mom, mom, mom, momomomomomomom."  



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From the Malm Series

Posted on 10/02/2012 10:14:00 PM In:
In the continuing saga of The Caterpillar's early morning exploits, we have a new development.  Now, while she's sequestered in her room before 5:00 am, she disassembles furniture.  These skills might come in handy if she ever gets a job with IKEA, but until then, I'm hiding all the screwdrivers and allen wrenches.



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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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