The World May Never Know

Posted on 8/31/2013 06:19:00 AM In:
How many clicks does it take to get one well-composed photo of your traveling party together on a cannon?

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5.

Go ask Mr. Owl.


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This Should Make an Interesting What I Did This Summer Report

Posted on 8/30/2013 05:57:00 AM In:
For our One Last Hurrah Before School Trip a couple of weeks ago, Monica and I took the kids to Richmond.  Why? Eh. Who knows? I didn't really have a plan in mind; I just wanted out of town for a day or two.

I enjoy the Roadside America version of travel, wherein you don't really have to be anywhere at any given time and therefore can whip the car off the side of the road because you saw something cool.  

While Stonewall Jackson's severed arm wasn't exactly visible from the comfort of the drivers' seat, we humans now have this thing called the Interweb on our phones and we can magically see what's in the general area even if we can't see it from the road. That's cool... unless you're a five year old, a six year old and a nine year old who couldn't care less about driving two hours out of our way to see Civil War History and just want to go swimming in the hotel pool.


Tough noogies,  five year old, six year old and nine year old. You're all going to see The Arm.  Some day you'll be able to tell your American History teacher that you were there.  Perhaps you'll do a General Jackson Post Severed Arm pose like Monica here:



Don't worry, it'll be great.

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Lunching With the Queen

Posted on 8/29/2013 11:43:00 AM
We will probably spend more time and money at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Fair this year than is reasonable and/or prudent.  We've already been once and the Shortlings each want to go back for their respective birthdays before the end this year. I'd complain about the dent in our bank account, but we have such a good time there and have made so many friends that I'm all... eh whatever. It beats planning a birthday party. Photo essay forthcoming.

I love this actor. She's so amazingly uptight and British-ish (?!), just like you'd expect a Renaissance Queen to be, but at the same time, she's fantastic with every kid that approaches her. I don't know how she strikes that balance.

They have spent the entire summer outside so these faces will probably never be more tan.

She's very big in Renaissance Pennsylvania and therefore must go incognito when in public.

Ahem...

I happened on this just as it began so I don't really have a great pic, but the man in the black had gathered all the children and had them make marshmallow guns and sling-shots with supplies he provided. Then they created a stand-off in the streets. The Queen showed up, noticed what was happening and enlisted other children to her side.  Then the Great Marshmallow Battle of Renaissance Pennsylvania began and they threw marshmallows at each other until the Man in Black's side gave up and abandoned their standoff.  After it was all over, everyone moved on and a man dressed as a peasant had to pick up all the marshmallows left on the streets.

This actor convinced my kids that she's lost her cat down this storm drain and enlisted their help to call for George.  (There was no cat.)

Chatting with the Queen again.

And sitting down for tea.

This was the losing knight from the Jousting Tournament. The bad guy always loses, but we continually sit on the bad guy's side and cheer for him because it's way more fun. Both girls were entranced with him. Must be a nice ego boost.

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Fun with Yard Refuse

Posted on 8/26/2013 05:23:00 PM


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It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Posted on 8/24/2013 08:16:00 AM

School started Monday. 

*sad horns*

By all rights, I should have been thrilled, but I've not actually been looking forward to school again this year.  There are several reasons for this:

We lucked into an amazing summer camp this year (hence the reason you have seen no Camp Sweatshop posts here).  It was not inexpensive but we had a decent-sized tax return this year which helped pay for it and their summer "camp" last year turned out to be more like a summer "sit in the corner of the room and play video games all day" so there was no way I was sending them back there again - it didn't matter how much.  This camp turned out to be one of the most amazing experiences and after the first day any reservations I had about the cost completely disappeared.  They had a great time, learned a ton, got an amazing amount of exercise, the counselors were incredible and because the activities were so varied and well-structured they had no time to complain about being bored because I wouldn't buy them an iPhone.  Such a difference from last year. Now our only dilemma is how to save up enough money for next summer because I want to go too.

I don't want to start doing my homework again. Really. I had homework when I was a kid, but it was a couple of times a week or if I didn't finish what I was supposed to do in class. These kids have homework every night and while I don't actually do their homework for them, I mostly think it would be easier if I did.  I hate, loathe and despise playing prison guard and making my kids sit at the table while they do their homework. That's my homework.  I can't do anything myself while homework is going on, because if I want to sit down and relax a bit after a rough day, maybe turn on the television, one or both of them get out of their chairs to see what I'm watching.  If I talk to someone on the phone, one or both of them get out of their chairs to insert themselves in my conversation.  If I do the dishes, one or both of them get out of their chairs to run around the kitchen like cockroaches.  If I try to read a book, I get interrupted with "Moooooom, what do I do noooowww?" every five minutes until I have read the same paragraph over so many times, I think I have it memorized.  My homework is sitting in a chair at the table watching them do their homework.  My homework is spending most of every evening redirecting one or both to JUST FINISH YOUR HOMEWORK ALREADY THEN YOU CAN DO WHATEVER IT IS YOU WANT TO DO AND NOT LISTEN TO ME TELLING YOU TO FINISH YOUR HOMEWORK. I hate my homework.

I am not looking forward to teacher drama.  Already in the first week of school, I have had two phonecalls from two different teachers. They were not bad calls, both were actually looking out for my kids.  But man, oh man, could you at least give me a week to settle in?  At least one of the calls stemmed from a situation the teacher whom we all didn't get along with last year created for my kid by making her feel like she couldn't be successful in fifth grade. I love teachers. I empathize with teachers. They do amazing work.  But they are individuals and not all of them are the best. And we have seen both sides in our short time in school.  I hope this year will be better than last, but that remains to be seen.

I am not looking forward to friend drama. I don't know if it was just happenstance at camp, or if the kids were so well-programmed every day that there wasn't time to get in arguments, but between the two Shortlings there was not one incident of little girl meanies the entire summer.  They both made friends. Those friends seem awesome. No one got in any fights. No one came home crying. I didn't know it was possible to live in such peace and harmony. It was glorious.

I lose an hour each day.  When they were in camp, they had similar hours compared to the school year, but just because of the timing and lack of a bus, I actually got to leave the house a little bit earlier and leave work a little bit later to drop them off and pick them up.  It was nice for awhile to not feel like the flake at the office who skips out before everyone else.

All the extra curriculars start up again.  I realize this is my own doing. I encourage them to do dance, karate, piano....  I just wish there was a way to get them there and back with me still sitting on the couch with my feet up.

School fundraisers. If I write a check now for a hundred bucks for each kid now, will you just leave me alone for the rest of the year? Maybe I'll propose that to the PTA; I might be hoisted up on people's shoulders and given a parade.

The backpacks. They are so heavy. This year The Dormouse doesn't have a locker, so she must carry all her books all the time. I feel like hiring her a sherpa.

Soon it will get cold and I'll spend much of each arguing with them about how flip flops and booty shorts are not appropriate wear for the weather, just like I spent then better part of the month of June arguing about how your ski pants and that wool sweater would not make a good wardrobe choice for being outside in ninety degree days. When do children learn to adapt?

Give me another week or two to get used to it and I'll be okay.  The Shortlings are already more optimistic than I.


I, however, had a déjà vu fear response when I got out of the shower and saw their message of optimism in the bathroom mirror.

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'Tis but a scratch!

Posted on 8/20/2013 05:08:00 PM In:

Those hoodlums in northern Virginia are totally out of control... but they have good taste in movies.

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Staring Down a Gargoyle

Posted on 8/19/2013 03:31:00 PM In:

I'd take bets on who will win, but I think we all know the gargoyle will break first.

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Perhaps I Should Plant Something Else Next Spring

Posted on 8/12/2013 11:25:00 PM In:
Things I have made this summer starring, as a main ingredient, the tomato:
  1. approximately three dozen jars of salsa
  2. many, many caprese salads
  3. a gallon of gazpacho soup 
  4. tomato feta salad
  5. several jars of pasta sauce
  6. tomato-watermelon sorbet
  7. bruscetta
  8. a half gallon of ketchup
Things I have made this summer that do not have tomatoes in them:
  1.  

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Caterpillar: "Hey sister, what do you call a dog with three heads?"

Dormouse: "I don't know.  What do you call a dog with three heads?"

Caterpillar: "Forrest."

Dormouse: " ...  I don't get it."

Caterpillar: "Yeah, I don't really get it either."

Dormouse: "Well, where did you hear that joke?"

Caterpillar: "I made it up."

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The Blue Clear Sky

Posted on 8/04/2013 09:51:00 PM
Just a shot of the outside of the U.S. Botanical Gardens from last week.  While everyone was lined up to see this, I was outside taking pictures of this:



It was just as pretty, and it smelled about the same.

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Dual Cranes

Posted on 8/02/2013 07:01:00 AM In:
One of my favorite things about D.C. is not all the major historical sites and monuments there, but the little-known memorials that you find peppered all over the city.  You can be coming out of a drug store and wander into a statue dedicated to some group or event or person you've always head about but never knew was honored in such a way.  I've lived here nearly twenty years and still find myself surprised by what was there that I didn't know about before.

I've wandered around the block near Union Station hundreds of times, but never really managed to walk through this before: the National Japanese American Memorial. I took a few minutes to stop and drink in the peace that's in this little corner of the block. It seemed rather fitting because just that morning, I had been reading about the petition to stop the FAA from blocking access to one of the internment camps.  

The Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II honors those Japanese Americans who endured humiliation and rose above adversity to serve their country during one of this nation's great trials. This National Park Service site stands at the intersection of Louisiana Avenue, New Jersey Avenue and D Street, NW in Washington, D.C.


The sculpture is symbolic not only of the Japanese American experience, but of the extrication of anyone from deeply painful and restrictive circumstances. It reminds us of the battles we've fought to overcome our ignorance and prejudice and the meaning of an integrated culture, once pained and torn, now healed and unified. Finally, the monument presents the Japanese American experience as a symbol for all peoples.
The Memorial honors those members of the 100th Battalion, 442nd RCT, MIS and other units who fought with conspicuous bravery and the names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice are engraved on several of the panels. In addition, the Memorial honors those who experienced dislocation and were held in the "relocation" camps during the period 1942-1945.

Several panels are devoted to quotations from patriotic Japanese Americans and others on the importance of the Japanese American struggle for equality and redress as well as honoring those who continue to seek justice and hold the Japanese American experience as an example of triumph over adversity and reminder of dark days which must never be repeated.



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Some Bewildering Conversations Don't Involve Children

Posted on 8/01/2013 06:36:00 AM In:
Me: "When was the last time I had a tetanus shot? No reason...."

KingofHearts: "Why are you limping?"

Me: "No reason."

KoH:  "Did you step on a nail while dismantling Monica's house?"

Me: "No."

KoH: "You answered kind of quickly there."

Me:  *scoffing* "I didn't step on a nail.....      I stepped on two."

KoH: "You two need a keeper."




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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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