CLICK HERE FOR THOUSANDS OF FREE BLOGGER TEMPLATES »

Monday, December 31, 2007

It Didn't Seem Like a Bad Idea...

We moms think about lots of things that might kill our kids. Speeding cars. Swimming pools. Crazed maniacs. Errantly-swallowed whole grapes.

Amish farmers, though? Not so much.

My friends, add it to the list. The Amish are to be feared.

We've been away this week (sorry to have vanished). At the lake. And this morning, we used a gift certificate DH won at a conference for a free sleigh ride at an Amish farm. Horse-drawn, candle lamps, the whole shebang. Only, it hasn't yet snowed so the sleigh was mounted up on wheels. We got to the farm right on time, met the farmer, two dogs, and a horse named Bud, and started on our way. Clippity clop, clippity clop.

Down the road. Clippity clop. Kids are laughing. Poop jokes are flying. We're chatting with the farmer. All's well with the world. Clippity clop.

We turn onto a dirt path. It looks a little narrow and it's way muddy from the rain last night, but whatever. I hear the farmer say, "Bud? BUD?" the way you do to a child who's about to pick up a knife. And Bud suddenly jerks to the left, pulls a 180, and starts to run.

In slow motion, the sleigh tips. DH and I throw our weight to the other side, but my kids go flying out. As if they've been catapaulted. I watch them fly up and over and splash down in a muddy stream, face down.

I scream bloody murder. DH yells "STOP THE DAMN CAR!" The farmer pulls. The horse slows. I grab both sides of the sleigh, heave myself over the edge, hit the mud, and run as fast as I can back to my babies. By now, they're both standing up (thank God). They're covered with mud. The little one is hysterically crying. The big one is laughing and yelling, "Do it again! Do it again!" DH goes for the boy while I scoop up the girl, hug her tight, and put her back down on the velvet seat of the sleigh, mud be dammed.

All's well that ends well. Eight hours later, the mud has been washed off, the kids are laughing about it all, and I have sore knuckles and an aching back. My visions of my children either under the wheels of the carriage or lifeless in the water have subsided. The farmer likely spent his day scrubbing seats and blankets and calling his lawyer--he really felt awful and was very nervous--and we're thinking the horse may be glue by now. I'm vindicated in my lifelong aversion to horses, by the way. Toldja so.

Add the Amish to your list, ladies. Avoid them. Keep your children away.

As DH said in the car on the way home, "You know, this wouldn't have happened if they'd been home playing video games."

Happy new year, gang. Let's hope it's less eventful.

(I swear to all that's holy, this story is true. But I'd never have believed it if I hadn't been there.)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Still Here!

Hi gang.

Thank goodness most of the blogs I follow have been slow this week. I don't feel so guilty. It's that time of year, and things are insane. Trying to get everything done before Monday hits and everything dies for a week.

DS lost his first tooth yesterday! Very exciting--he's the last kid in his class to get a holey smile. The tooth fairy left him a gold dollar coin, and he woke up (I swear this is true) at 4:59 this morning to check it out. We may have to switch time zones for Christmas if the tooth fairy got him that jazzed. **zzzzzzz**

We're having 12 people for Christmas dinner. Should be fun, I hope. Everybody's getting mismatched silverware and dishes because I don't have 12 of any single set. Ah well--shabby chic is in, yes? I'm heading out this morning to find stemless wine glasses. Too many elderly ladies and kids will be here to risk the regular kind.

We toured the White House the other morning, courtesy of my soon-to-be-ex neighbor, who's a Secret Service agent. Tres cool. Saw the gingerbread/sugar White House in the state dining room. I'd read about it in Roland Meissner's book and it was pretty awesome to see it live and in person. Not as elaborate as the photos I've seen of his houses, but pretty nonetheless.

With that, I'm out of here. The benefit of having your kids up before 5 a.m. is that you can hit the grocery store before it gets crowded, even four days before Christmas. :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Conversation with the Four Year Old

me: "That's because you're really smart, you know that?"

daughter: "Yeah. And Mommy? You're just a little smart."

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Can You See Me Blush On the Phone?

The popcorn guy called tonight.

IMy son sold popcorn to help raise money for his scout pack. $450 worth of popcorn to be exact. Good stuff--kettle corn, microwave butter, caramel, chocolate hazelnut, cheese, and something called "military" corn, which translates to tins of popcorn that are delivered to wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

I He spent about a month on this project, selling it and delivering it all to friends and neighbors. Hard worker, he is. And it was good for him. He learned a little bit about money and a lot about filling orders and walking two or three cans of corn down the street even though it's cold and windy and he'd rather be playing. Because that's the right thing to do, see.

Anyway, tonight, the popcorn volunteer from his troop called to see what prize we'd like for the boy. The choices, he said, were a marshmallow shooter, a hiking set (carabiner, thermometer, water bottle, etc.), or a pocketknife.

I was all set to say "Pocketknife, please!" Thinking that we'd show it to him and put it away and then get it out for camping trips and other events when DH would be there to demonstrate and supervise. Never once thinking we'd just hand a sharp implement over to a six-year-old and be done with it.

I opened my mouth and said "P", and then Popcorn Man said, "Of course, he's probably too young for the knife. But that's your parenting decision."

My mouth, which had already formed the "o" that comes after the "P" just stopped. Just stayed there, like it was waiting for something to fling itself in there and call itself dinner. My parenting decision? Like, if I actually say, "pocketknife," are you going to hang up and call Social Services? Are we going to be booted from the troop and blackballed from future activities in the fear that we'll just let first graders grab weapons all willy-nilly and impale themselves while we're off doing more important things? And then does that mean you'll call the Girl Scouts and put my daughter on some kind of "watch this one" list before she even signs up next year?

My mouth re-engaged, finally. "Hiking kit." I'll have to ditch the bright red fanny pack it all comes in, of course, but the stuff inside is pretty cool. For a six-year old.

We hung up. And then I went online and ordered the boy a pocketknife for Christmas.

After all, it's my decision. Heh.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

You Serious?

I laughed out loud in the car this morning at the report that "millions" of baseball fans were likely to be shocked that a whole bunch of their favorite players were about to be outed for steroid use.

Fer real, Ruby??

I mean, come on.

If a kid is good at a sport, we plop them into competitive leagues as soon as their little feet are large enough to support the weight of cleats. They practice two, three, sometimes four times a week while their families arrange their schedules around weekend and nighttime games. The sport becomes the center of the family, and little Babe Ruth is cheered on and begun to be taught that he is the best _____ player ever! Keep practicing, buddy!

Once school starts, the hard work continues. So, of course, does the adoration. My kid is six. SIX. And the most popular kids in his class are those who dominate the playground with their baseball or football skills. Little Pied Pipers in uniform. Jocks in the making.

Who do the girls want to date in high school? You betcha--the quarterbacks. And who gets the very bestest scholarships to the most well-regarded universities? The kids who play sports. We won't even get into the fact that the vast majority of those scholarship winners don't meet the minimum academic requirements for admission. Sports equal money, baybee, and those colleges want those all-stars! Bring on the free rides!

I read a study recently that said the University of Maryland hasn't graduated a basketball player in more than six years. Not a single one. Zip. Zero. Nada. And UMD isn't unique--the statistic held for nearly every state university in the country. How many of those players can't really read very well? How many probably can't do basic algebra? But we glorify them. Adore them. Hoist them up onto marble pedestals in the sky, and tell our kids that those are the people to admire. They're the million-dollar babies, and if you work really hard and become the very best at your sport, we'll all cheer for you too!

Steroids are a fantastic way to be your best. And when everybody else is doing them, well, it's hard to compete unless you do too. It's not rocket science, gang. Two plus two equals four.

The baseball commissioner came out today in favor of putting the whole soggy mess behind us. Let bygones go and all like that. How nice. What a kind, forgiving man (who also wants his pockets lined by all his winners).

What a cop-out.

I'm sorry to anyone who's shocked by all of this. I'm saddened to think there are people out there spending money on jerseys and tickets and all the accouterments of fan-dom, and who help drive the cranes that balance our heroes up on those marble altars in the sky, and who really truly had never once thought their playas were doping up for their talent. Who thought a college education was legitimate, even if one did wear an athletic uniform and spend most of their time either on the field or on the road. Who believed this was all on the up-and-up.

The athletic industry is a mess. And until we all demand better and stop brushing this under the rug and being so darned forgiving, it's going to stay that way. What a sad commentary.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Temper

You know your six year old is super furious with you when, confined to his room on the second floor, he squeezes into an impossibly small space between a huge armoire and the wall just to be sure that when he yells at you (in the basement) through the heating vent that's just above the floor in that tiny corner, you're sure to hear him.

*rolling eyes*

Friday, December 7, 2007

Elfing Myself


I bought myself a Christmas present today. Nothing big, but it makes me happy. :)



Mine will have a K on it.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Rule #1: Never Blog About Serenity

Yeah. That gentle snowfall? The inner peace? The enjoying the season?

It all went to crap right around 10:30 yesterday morning.

First, the "light dusting on grassy areas" turned into a good four inches of wet, cold snow all over the place. It's a non-discriminatory snow--it's on the sidewalk, it's on the street, it's all over my car. And it all froze up last night so right this minute, it's a big gigantic pain in the ass kind of snow. I'm waiting through a two-hour school delay, which means the little kid won't go to school at all.

Ordinarily, that'd be good. But two leetle tiny things are preventing me from breathing right now. First, I have a boatload of work to get done today. And second, I haven't bought the kids snowboots yet.

Yep. Mother of the Year yet again, ladies. You can all stop campaigning. I've got that one wrapped up.

The snow also means that the tree people are not, in fact, coming out to take down the Godforsaken Walnut Tree in my side yard. The tree I've loathed for eight years. The tree I've begged and pleaded to have replaced. So DH now has four more days to reconsider. See, he's a tree freak, and it doesn't matter how messy or dangerous that particular tree is. Thank God I already put down a deposit on the work, that's all I can say.

Moving right along...I was supposed to have lunch with a really good friend of mine yesterday. And around 10:30--right as the world was drowning under a "light dusting on grassy areas"--her husband called me. To tell me she was in the hospital.

Nice.

I then set to work worshipping the Gods of Sugar and Cocoa, to put my worried mind at ease. Which means I still won't fit into a dress for this black-tie, command performance party next Thursday night. "Hey, there's Kim...what a fatass!!" O Hershey, why hast thou forsaken me?

I can't find a decent source for an article I need to finish. Oh, and the post office, once again, lost a package of mine. That package happens to contain three prescriptions--one for my blood pressure, one for allergies, and one also for my blood pressure in that it keeps any more two-legged living beings from joining our happy, happy family.

The post office denies all responsibility. In between popping her gum and sighing heavily, the oh-so-professional worker who answered the phone explained it all. "Ma'am, it's the holidays. We have a truck of 500 packages we haven't even unloaded yet. Maybe it'll come tomorrow."

Thanks.

The prescription company was equally helpful, in that fantastic American managed care kind of way. "We can't replace those meds, Mrs. F. You don't have any refills remaining."

I get that. But I didn't actually receive the final refill. And I fail to see how that's my fault.

Long story short, I spent 45 minutes on the phone with various levels of management until I finally yelled a rant about this being the reason people hate mail-order pharmacy, and slammed the phone down. I never hang up on people. But right that second, I hit my limit of Shit I'm Willing To Put Up With. Done.

Needless to say, this all wasn't helping the blood pressure. For which I'm out of meds.

Anyway, the night ended somewhat quietly. I have a new day for the Godforsaken Walnut Tree to come down. My friend is feeling better and hopes to be discharged tomorrow, so that's a relief. The snow will melt. Boots will be bought. Like the song says, I will survive.

But I might be darn grouchy for awhile.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

It's snowing outside as I write this--the most gentle little snow I've seen in a long time. Tiny little flakes, almost specs, floating down from the sky and softly coating the grass in my yard.

I'm not a snow person. For the most part, I'm not into being cold and wet, and being outside in the stuff usually means just that. It's messy and makes the streets slippery, and hypes my kids up like some kind of naturally-occurring kiddie crack. We fight with boots and mittens and snowpants, we get the bathroom floor filthy each time we go in and out (and we're in and out a lot--I'm thirsty! I hafta go potty! I don't WANNA play in the snow!).

They're saying, though, that we'll get an inch. Two, tops. And it's not really laying on the sidewalks or roads, so that's not an issue this time around. It's just this pretty wintery coating where we don't need to walk. Very Christmasy against my neighbors' lights and our red bows on our wreath and windowboxes. Very quiet and still.

I'm trying hard to be quiet and still this holiday season. There's lots going on, but I'm working on keeping my blood pressure down and my voice lowered and my tension in check. Enjoying the season, as it were, and trying to control it instead of vice versa. Most of the shopping is finished, cards are mailed, menus are being planned, and while the calendar is filled, I know there will be lots of time to breathe and decompress in January.

It's not easy. I'm prone to yelling, quite honestly, and prone to worrying and stressing out. It's an effort. But if it makes this year's holidays a little more enjoyable for everyone around me, it'll be worth it. And maybe I'll enjoy it more, too.

I'll have the radio on today--we Washingtonians tend to panic when wetness falls from the sky, and I'm anticipating an early school closure this afternoon. But I have a steaming mug of coffee here and, for the moment, it's peaceful and calm and beautiful.

Have a good one, gang.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Back!

Miss me?

My beloved laptop is back, new hard drive and all. Most of my stuff is back too, thank the heavens above and Geeks On Site. I'm on the serious prowl for a decent backup system...I am NOT going through that again.

More later today...

Friday, November 30, 2007

Notes...

No computer yet. If/when I get it back, I haven't decided whether to hug or strangle the tech guy I hired to fix it.



A recipe for marinara sauce that starts with "jarred marinara sauce" isn't really a recipe, now is it?



DS went snooping in my room last night and found a Christmas gift. Luckily, the gift was intended to be from the grandparents and not from Santa, so the old elf is safe for now. And in a development that my mind is finding hilarious in a twisted sort of way, he's all excited thinking it's for him. But it's his sister's. Heh. That'll teach you to sneak around, you little so-and-so.



DH came home from a trip to Vermont last night and announced he could quite happily move there. So...I can't have a house 10 minutes away because it's on a busy road, but we're going to move way the hell up to Vermont and deal with like 10 months of winter a year and no jobs? Rrrrrrright. (He also emailed me yesterday and said that our next dog's name will be 'Wagatha.' I emailed back, 'That'd be your next dog, with your next wife.' In Vermont.)




My furnace just made a really weird sound and now my fingers are cold. That can't be good, can it?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

House Redux

We're not buying it.

DH sat outside it for awhile at rush hour last night and saw in the dark that a nearby intersection sends constant headlights through the front windows. Neither one of us could stand that after living on a quiet little side street for so many years. So the search (at least on my end) continues.

The computer: I don't have it back yet and it looks like a lot of my data was corrupted. Fan-friggin-tastic. I'm just praying for my Quickbooks files at this point.

The friend: She didn't mean it. She didn't mean it. She didn't mean it. She didn't mean it. And I'm too sensitive. I'm too sensitive. I'm too sensitive...

Nothing else to really chat about this morning. Lots to do today. Better get crackin...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Things Come In Threes

1. My dream house is on the market. In our (theoretical, of course) price range. I've visited the realtor.com page so many times, I can pretty much recite every word there from memory. It's an 1890 Victorian in absolutely stunning condition. Four beds, three and a half baths, gourmet kitchen, bay bump-out window, English garden...the works. The flip side of that is that it's on a pretty busy road, next door (directly) to an old school that's now a community center/daycare center. Not sure how I feel about those two things. So I'm pondering it. DH says he'll go see it if I really want to. I just need to decide if I really do want to.

2) Somebody did something this weekend (unintentionally, but still) that really hurt my feelings this weekend. I'm not quite sure how to handle it. I need to get the eff over it, but am not there quite yet. And part of this house lust is, I'm sure, based on emotions stemming from that. People drive me nuts sometimes.

3) My computer won't boot up. I'm typing this from our little desktop that the kids use to play games. A guy is coming over later tonight to pick up my beloved laptop and see if he can first, extract the data from the hard drive, and second, get it up and running again. My fingers are crossed so hard they're bruising. Wish for me, wouldja??

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My Heart's Happy

Lookie Lookie Lookie!!!



If you're my age or around there, you'll remember and be happy. If not...let's not discuss it.

:)

Pre-Holiday Brain Bubbles

  • Have you guys seen the new Accord? SAH-WEET! Mama likes! Mama can't have (no room for doggies in there) but man, what a hot little ride. Thumbs up, Honda. You finally got this one right.
  • The kids are home for Thanksgiving. DD is in the family room dancing in her new dress-up shoes. DS is at the front door watching the county's leaf-sucking-and-grinding truck and singing the Star Spangled Banner. I can't explain it.
  • I'm almost done Christmas shopping. Woot! A few more B&N gift cards and one more Amazon order should do it.
  • I gave up on a book. Hate that. But I just couldn't get through Nineteen Minutes to save me. Too Hallmark. Too made-for-Lifetime-Television. Bleh. I really really tried. Gave it to a neighbor. I'm curious to hear what she thinks.
  • DH is out tonight at a big hoo-ha at his high school. Men only. The kids and I are ordering pizza (sorry, A) and watching Ratatouille. In our jammies. Yay!
  • Last night, I watched an ancient Lewis Black special on OnDemand. Oh my God. It was old...all InSync and Britney Spears...but I could not stop laughing. My sides hurt I laughed so hard. I adore him. Absolutely adore him. If you haven't yet, you must rent some of his stuff. Classic and clever and hilarious.
  • The pumpkin pies are calling, pleading to be made. I must go. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Peace and love and heavy plates...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Crazed

It was supposed to ease off this week, this life of mine. And it didn't. Yesterday was a whirlwind. Co-opping at preschool followed by an oil change at the car dealership followed by a whopping hour of work followed by first grade pickup and homework and dinner followed by scouts followed by two hours in front of the laptop figuring out my client Christmas card list.

Today promises to be much the same. Another car to service, a preschool Thanksgiving show, early dismissal from first grade, dance class for the wee princess, and several late-afternoon interviews for an article I thought was finished but isn't. Apparently.

The weekend was also nuts. A very nice morning with a friend on Saturday followed by a very nasty afternoon with a bent-out-of-shape four-year-old, followed by a very crazy Sunday with two elderly in-laws and a lot of power tools.

And, just to add a little whoopee to the mix, I got our first-ever call from a teacher about a discipline issue. Very, very nice. Nothing like your six-year-old screaming an obscenity across the Catholic school playground to just get your evening kicking off to a fantabulous start. "Uh, he must have heard that on television, I guess." Right.

Anyway, all of this is saying that I'll be back with real posts very very soon. And if not today or tomorrow, then I hope you all have a lovely Thanksgiving and have lots to be thankful for.

Peace...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Seriously?

My son is a Cub scout. I'm good with this...great with it, in fact. I love the camaraderie, I love the fun, I love the learning. He's having a blast.

His pack is (apparently) the only one in the country with an active Drum & Bugle Corps. They open each meeting and they participate in community events. But as older kids graduate to the point where Scouts aren't cool, the Corps needs new members.

Which leads us to the email I received from the Scoutmaster. There's a parade coming up, and he needed new Scouts. "Those who don't play an instrument can carry flags and serve as color guards," he said. And that sounded great--DS has seen the Scouts marching in parades for years and was absolutely over the moon at the prospect of donning his own uniform and thrilling the crowds.

Practice was last night. He suited up and we trucked over to the school cafeteria. The Scoutmaster's face lit up at the sight of fresh meat a new recruit. He started digging around in his massive bag and handed my boy a hunk of brass.

A bugle.

A real, live bugle. For us to keep. He's a bugler.

My eyes bugged out. Color guard, my ass. It was a ruse! A trap! And I went marching right into it! I feel like Lewis Black being presented with a bowl of candy corn in October. Son of a bitch!

Practice was something else. And today...today has been extraordinarily loud in my house. He's trying really hard and I am proud of him. But it sounds like the world's largest elephant, farting into Aerosmith's PA system. Over...and over...and over...

Here's hoping we make it to the parade. Right now, I'm not overly optimistic.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Quote of the Day

"It is my firm belief that if you are president, you must know where you are on the space-time continuum"

Lewis Black
Red, White & Screwed

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Groupthink, a.k.a. Life's Too Short

I lied. I do have something to say today.

I just ordered new contact lenses. Four boxes. Less than two months after my last four boxes arrived.

Three months ago, I had my eyes examined and was fit with new contacts. This was the first time I'd seen this eye doctor--we'd never had vision insurance before and the list of in-network doctors was pretty darned small (God bless and keep managed care). After waiting an eternity to be seen despite being the first appointment of the day and after the exam and after being blown off by the dude behind the counter for awhile despite being one of two customers in the store, I finally grew a set, asked for my prescription in writing, and stormed out. Came home, got online, ordered the lenses in the script, faxed the miserable paper to the company, and got my boxes a few days later.

The lenses she prescribed were Acuvue Oasis. Everybody loves them. The latest and greatest thing. Comfy! Light! Permeable! Fanfriggintastic!

I tried. I swear. I tried to love them. I tried all the way through a whole box of the blasted things. But they feel like sandpaper on my eyeball and it's all I can do to get to 7 p.m., which is when I allow myself to claw them out of my eyes, drown them in their cases, and put on my ugly-but-functional glasses. I've tried every solution on the market. I've tried rubbing them, despite the no-rub guarantee on said solutions. I've tried soaking them, not soaking them, using drops of SupraClens, rubbing my eyes, putting them in backwards.

This past weekend, we saw some friends whose son is serving in Iraq. His dad recently asked him what the climate was like there. His response was, "Get out Mom's hairdryer, put it on the highest, hottest setting, hold it three inches from your face, and every few seconds throw a handful of sand in there just for the heck of it."

That's how my eyes feel. I'm not comparing uncomfortable contacts with Iraq. But that hot, dry, sandy ick is what my eyes feel like, and the scratchiness continues until I fall asleep, even when the horrible lenses have been out for awhile.

So today, I finally went back online to see if I could return the unopened boxes. I can't--it's been more than 30 days. So much for trying to fit in with the cool people who loooooooove these Oasis things. So much for stubbornitis.

Know what? Life's too short. I ordered four trusty boxes of Acuvue 2s, faxed my prescription again, and vowed to donate these horrible sand-lenses to whatever charity wants them. Maybe their beneficiaries have cooler eyes than me. But life's too short to be this uncomfortable all the time.

And no, I don't want Lasik. Thanks. Just my old Acuvue 2s. I'm just not that cool.

Drowning

*gack*

I have so. much. work to do this week. My posterior is glued to my desk chair, I swear. Stupid, stupid holidays. Can't think of anything to blog.

While I'm digging out check out these sites:

China-Free Christmas

Consumerist

More soon...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Diet Waits Another Day

Peppermint frappacinos are back.

:)

Sad Commentary

November 2: I go to the mall to run a few errands.

The North Pole has relocated.

It's Christmas already. November 2. Santa's photo studio is set up in the middle. Macy's is decked out in red and green. Hallmark is playing Christmas carols already. Fa la la la la la plbththth!

I try to buy a Thanksgiving decoration. No go. Nobody has 'em. Halloween was two stinkin' days ago, lady, and we're all about the elf and your credit cards. Have a nice day.

This is me, drumming my fingers on my steering wheel in the parking garage, pondering thankfulness and gratitude and sharing, and the two little people in my back seat whose heads are filled with visions of Power Rangers and Barbies under the tree. And who are already mourning the gifts they won't get. Who live in a pretty affluent neighborhood, go to private schools, are surrounded by family and friends, and who already know what they don't have, poor babies. On November 2.

Fine. You want to play it that way? Let's go.

Michael's. Michael's will save me.

We go. Wander the aisles. Christmas, Christmas, Hannukah. Clearance on Halloween!

I ask. "Pardon me. Could you please tell me where I might find a Thanksgiving craft for my kids to work on?

She blinks. "Thanksgiving?"

Um. "Yeah. In three weeks? Maybe a turkey they can put feathers on? Or pilgrims? Or something about giving thanks--a cornucopia, perhaps?"

Shakes her head. "No. We don't really have Thanksgiving things this year. We have Christmas."


*pop*


(that was my head exploding)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Spurred By Recent Events...

Dear Grandparents:

I know you mean well. And I know you love your grandchildren. But if we are all going to enjoy a happy, peaceful co-existence, we're going to have to abide by some basic ground rules. And 21 hours of labor entitles me to set the rules, at least where my kid is concerned.

First rule: Don't undermine me. If I've taken something away from the child, forbidden the child to have something, punished the child in some way, or otherwise offended your delicate sensibilities about the child, please don't give them whatever it was under the table or behind my back, roll your eyes at me in the kid's presence, mutter under your breath, or otherwise steal my parental thunder. You're not helping anyone. My rules are my rules. If you have a problem with them, please set aside some time to talk with me when the kid isn't present. Or butt out. That's probably even better.

Second rule: Before you accuse me of being too harsh with the child, too loud with the child, or too anything else, I want you to think really really hard about raising me. You yelled. You took things away. You slammed doors. You whispered in that terrifying way. And you got to spank. Without social frowning or Social Services. Our generation doesn't get the spank, so we make a lot more use of our voices. Your "better way" doesn't work--I've tried it. Spare me the lecture, remember what it was like to parent, and unless you think there's actual abuse happening, have a nice tall glass of Mind Your Own Business.

Third rule: Sugar is not a food group. And it really isn't funny to get my children all hyped up on the stuff and then leave me to be the bad guy and clean it all up. An occasional treat is fine; an entire box of Froot Loops in one sitting is not. So help me, I'm passing on the dental bills to you.

Fourth rule: Santa Claus makes his appearance one day a year. You do not need to shower the little angels with gifts every single time you see them. I'd like them to love you for you, not for your credit card. And this deal where they expect stuff all the time? Not attractive. Please stop it. Give them kisses and hugs and time instead. You'll all be better off.

Fifth rule: I'm sure school is much too challenging these days and my children's' teachers know nothing. Ditto for their pediatricians. But please keep those opinions out of earshot of the little guys. Undermining those people is about as helpful as undermining me. I didn't pick them randomly out of a phone book. Please don't insult me by assuming you know more than they do.

Sixth rule: Ixnay on the outingpay. Remember how you'd flip when I pouted? It's not working so well on your end these days. They're my kids and I'm going to make decisions I feel are best for them, even if those decisions hurt your feelings, offend your intelligence, or otherwise go against your personal grain. I'm the parent and it's my prerogative. Deal with it in an adult manner.

We love you. Grandparents rock. But lately, the helping isn't so helpful. It's my job to set rules and boundaries and enforce them. I'm trying to let these little cuties grow up into decent, responsible, healthy adults. I'm not trying to insult you or hurt your feelings; in fact, most of it has nothing at all to do with you.

I'm just asking you to work with me. Be part of my team. See where I'm coming from, try to remember when you were in my shoes, and if all else fails, pipe down and let it go. For all of our happiness.

Love,

Your Daughter, the mom

Friday, November 2, 2007

Lump of Coal Indeed

If you haven't yet seen this, take a minute (OK, four of them) and watch it. It's real--I spent some time yesterday validating it after a co-w0rker of DH's sent it to us.

Somebody says at the end, "I didn't expect that." Me neither. But I'm glad I saw it.

(And yes, he's well on his way to everything he deserves. Sometimes, things really do work out.)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Eight Weeks...

We survived another Halloween. Costumes were a hit, enough chocolate for a small country was collected, I didn't get egged for handing out pretzels (take note, all ye naysayers...lots of parents thanked me!), and the girl and I hit up Target this morning for bargains galore. She scored a Hello Kitty ball gown and he got a Home Depot Nascar racing suit for $7 each. Definitely worth getting up for this morning.

But the thing about that was that it's Christmas in Target. Magically. On every floor and in every department. Decorations galore, lights, even music. Deck the halls, October's over. Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Poor old Thanksgiving. Gets sandwiched in between the "Gimme" holidays. Besides the turkey and football, it's become a non-holiday. Too bad--the concept is a good one.

My shopping has begun. The kids' big presents are already up in DH's closet, along with some smaller gifts. I'm done with DH, done with neices and nephews. If I can finish the ritual sacrificing of the credit cards before the Day Off Formerly Known as Thanksgiving, I can then spend the next four weeks decorating, baking, and planning the menu for Santa Day itself. That would make me happy.

So I guess we're officially in That Time of Year. Stock up on the blood pressure medication and Bloody Mary mix, folks. It's all downhill from here...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Baby Steps...

The migraine is gone. Alleluia.

The boy had the day off school today. It's been a long day.

My first CSA delivery came. My kitchen runneth over with apples, pears, tangerines, spinach, sweet potatoes, garlic, onions, tomatoes, and more yummy stuff than I can remember. Between that and a Trader Joe's run this morning, it's a healthy food warehouse in here.

Course, I just sucked down three Hershey Kisses from the kids' stash. Nice.

(ps--Dear Hershey: A big YUCK to the strawberry-goo filled Kiss I just bit into. BLEH!! Fruit, even in the form of high-frutcose syrup with a little flavoring and extra sugar, has no business in my chocolate. No raisins in my cookies, no fruit in my candy. Got that?? Feh. Blech. Ick. What are you thinking?? Chocolate that comes in foil wrappers goes with caramel, puffed rice, cookie pieces, and the occasional blob of peanut butter. That's it. Period, amen, it's in the Bible. You're going to kill people with that.)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Um...Ouch

We got home from the lake around 4 yesterday. Unpacked the car, started laundry, threw two turkey breasts into the oven (one for us, one for MIL and FIL--FIL was having surgery this morning), helped DH shut down the fishpond for the year, yelled at the kids about a dozen times, made peanut butter sandwiches for dinner (cuz I rock like that), got both kids into bed, and started making cream of wheat for DH.

My eyes went funny. I'm not sure I can even describe this accurately, but it was like dozens of clear worms were swimming in front of my face. Sort of like looking through a shower door--I could pretty much make out the world, but I couldn't focus on anything specifically. Couldn't read the clock, for example, but I could keep stirring the pot on the stove without burning myself.

After I made the cereal, I went and laid down for awhile. Which felt nice, but the worm symphony didn't go away. And being totally level-headed and not prone at all to overreacting to things, I came to the most logical conclusion available. Clearly, I was having a stroke. The whole high blood pressure thing had caught up with the whole chocolate addict/overweight thing, and I was about to collapse on one side of my body and either die right there in the family room or become hopelessly and completely debilitated. At the ripe old age of 37.

Having a stroke sounded better than meeting this week's deadlines and dealing with the Family Drama Du Jour, so I laid back and waited. Truthfully, I was kind of curious to see how this was going to feel. And DH was absorbed in some Discovery Channel thing, and the kids were in bed, and we've already been to the ER three times this year and I have no more energy to mediate between the hospital and my insurance company this week.

After awhile, the worms moved on to someone else's skull and things felt a little normal. No mobility loss or anything like that, although I couldn't think of the word "garlic" for awhile. At the time, that seemed more amusing than disconcerting. Garlic, garlic, garlic.

Later, a stabbing pain came piercing thru my skull. Ah. Not a stroke. An aneurism. Interesting. The TV was still droning on and I was still unwilling to wake up the finally-peaceful house, so I did the next logical thing and threw our green blanket over my head to pass out where nobody could see me. And where it was warm.

That went on for awhile, and when DH finally yanked the blanket off my head and said something loving and kind, like Go to bed already, dumbass, the light shot thru my eyeballs like lasers. Which, finally, made sense. Migraine. Of course. Duh.

I went to bed. Well, first I threw three Advil back, but then I went to bed. Felt better for awhile this morning, but then the light invaded my sensitive nerves again and I took two Excedrin Migraine pills. On an empty stomach. Real smart.

Long story short, I'm not feeling so hot today, gang. I just choked down a baked potato and some Coke Zero and I have a hot date with the couch, my daughter, and the Toys R Us Big Book. And a marker. For circling things. Most things, as it turns out. But "not the boy stuff--that's dumb."

Sunday, October 28, 2007

What I Learned at the Lake This Weekend

If you're ever invited to watch a bunch of rednecks chuck pumpkins into a whitewater course and race them down the river, you must go. It's the single most hilarious thing I've seen in recent memory.

Especially when one accuses the others of cheating.

:)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sometimes...

it's a good idea to just shut up.

Know what I mean?

Happy Friday...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dear Hon,

Remember when I cautioned you to control your antics in front of the kids, lest those antics come back to bite you in the posterior?

Uh huh.

Bear that in mind next time you're about to burst into song, particularly if that song involves anything from the 1970s and your unique brand of artistic license. Because today, when the hayride-in-the-rain got to be a bit much for our four-year-old field trippers and the teacher couldn't get them to even break out with "Old Mac Donald," she encouraged your daughter to "Sing your song!" And she did. Loudly and with great abandon.

FEEEEEEEEELINGS!
WOO OOO OOOOOH
FEEEEEEEEEELINGS!
WOO OOO OOOOH!

You should have seen it. Really. From the bottom of my heart, I wish you'd been there. Because I was there, and every adult eye on that blasted wagon landed on me.

Have you ever stopped at the zoo to watch the prairie dogs? Then you know what I did. My eyes got huge, I murmered something like, "Oh, dear God," and tried my darndest to burrow under the wet straw for the rest of the excursion.

Control yourself. Please. Or else take over field trip duty. I'll be in the haystack, waiting for it all to be over.

Your blushing bride

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Blips

Day four of sticking to an actual diet. Not fun, but neither is feeling like Shrek in a town full of supermodels. Book club is Thursday, which means desserts and wine will be plentiful. If I'm good all week, I might allow myself something little and a glass of wine. A girls' gotta live.



Got an email from HR at DH's company. Re-enrollment time for insurance. And in a very rah-rah kind of way, we peons of the kingdom found out we'll now have something called co-insurance. Which means we pay a $300 deductible per person each year and 10 percent of all medical expenses upfront, on top of our copays. We'll also have a $50 deductible per year on prescriptions and have to pay the difference between generics and name-brand drugs. In my humble opinion, that's a really sucky way for a big company to save a few dimes. I plan to protest, loudly and with abandon. Insurance is the biggest scam in the world.



Speaking of that, I think we're going to drop our dental insurance. They don't pay for anything anyway. Why am I coughing up premiums, exactly?



DS has a playdate this afternoon and it's supposed to rain. That can't be good. Say a little prayer for my eardrums, wouldja? And for tomorrow, for my shoes--I'm taking DD's class to the pumpkin patch. The very muddy pumpkin patch. Doesn't rain for six stinkin' months, and it's going to open up on the one day I have to take a hayride. I'm not amused.



On a happier note, DS had a blast at Cub Scout Camp this weekend. I am so glad he wants to be part of scouting. Say what you will about the organization, but they put such emphasis on responsibility and personal accountability and being part of the community. I'm beyond impressed, seriously. And he's learning so much. There's a huge place in my heart for the leaders who are giving their time to head up the group for these boys. Huge.



We swapped Thanksgiving for Christmas yesterday. So Christmas will be at my house, all day. That makes me giddy. It takes away such chaos and stress. *~*happy dance*~*



My first CSA delivery is coming today! The list looks divinely yummy. I've never had acorn squash but am itching to try it! And we're getting bananas and lettuce and apples and cabbage and a bunch of other yummy, farm-raised treats. It's like Santa on a John Deere. Yay! Our grocery stores have such pathetic produce...I can't wait to get something with some actual flavor to it.



Off for the day. Have a good one, gang!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Baby Steps

We were out yard-saleing on Saturday morning when we passed the street. The one with the house for sale. In a neighborhood we love, at about half its value, from the estate of its original owners.

DH spoke first. "Isn't that the one with the house?"

We swung back. Found it. Pretty yellow cape-style colonial with a butt-ugly garage on the front. "We could fix that," said DH.

He hopped out of the car and walked around the vacant house, peering in the windows.

"It needs a ton of work," he said. I nodded--it was built in 1928 and pretty much not touched since then. I was sure that for the price, it would need renovation. But we've done that before.

We sat and stared at it. "It really does need a ton of work," he said again. And then he pointed at the really really hideously ugly house next door--think 1960s dentist office. "I'm really not sure I could stand being next to that, either."

Good point. We drove on. But the next day, he said, "I'm not sure we could make that house work for the money. And I really dont' like that thing next door."

So that one's out. Which is OK. At least now I know I'm not the only one with the bug. I think it's a matter of the right house for the right price. And I'm patient.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Headline Reality Check

Y'all know this Dumbledore guy isn't real, right? That he was made up between J.K. Rowling's ears and exists only between the covers of books? Fictional books? Fictional children's books?

Just asking...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dear Ellen:

Two things:

1. Returning the dog to a rescue is standard procedure if the dog doesn't match up with you at home. Nearly every rescue I've talked to--and there have been many--has the same language in their adoption contract. It protects the dog and it protects the rescue from liability down the road. And it was in the contract! You seem like a literate gal. Try reading the document next time.

2. If you didn't want it to become a circus, what was with the cry-me-a-river hysterics on national television??

*shaking head*

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Run, Stephen, Run!

This is hilarious.

And I swear on my orange vinyl Halloween tablecloth, if he makes it onto the ballot, I'm voting for him. Hands-down.

He can't screw it up much worse than any of these other bozos, right?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Randomness

Another crazy, time-crunch weekend. Started out with a wonderful dinner at a friend's house (I still want that recipe, A!), blitzkrieged into a soccer game and birthday party Saturday, and into a family hoo-ha-turned-disaster on Sunday. I am so flippin' tired. And this week involves an afterschool playdate today, soccer practice tomorrow, co-opping a playdate, and a soccer party Thursday, and pre-camping nuttiness on Friday. And my mother's coming over that day for lunch. And I had the heating people here today and two tree companies coming later this week. And work. UGH. I loathe weeks like this.




Someone on a board I visit asked how we all plan to treat ourselves soon. I ordered new exercise shoes yesterday and a new laptop battery today. Practical, to be sure, but treats all the same. The shoes should be here tomorrow. Maybe they'll motivate me to get off my quickly-widening rump and move my body.




(And I might need to hit REI tomorrow for this shirt. Totally not practical, but I heart it. Hee hee!)


I'm reading to my six-year-old's class in a few weeks. Anyone have a book suggestion? I'm leaning towards Leonardo the Terrible Monster (I read them Edwina last year), but am open to ideas. I'm supposed to read it and discuss it with them.
Anybody know how to juice up a FIOS wireless modem? It's not as powerful as my old DSL Linksys system, and I can't get a signal on my back deck. Harumph.
I am *this close* to having DH talked into a house addition. This close!!!! Everybody send up powerful chants for me. Oooommmm....oooooommmmmm....

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Lesson learned


Don't ever follow up a dinner of garlic roasted red potatoes with a dessert of a fresh Rice Krispy Treat.


*retch*


Mommy is a Fusspot

This is what my daughter said to me today, shortly after I picked her up. I laughed when she said it--we've been calling her a fusspot for well over three years. But unlike when we say it about her, I really am grouchy today.

  • DH (doesn't stand for "dear" today, by the way) picked 10:30 last night to attack a slow drain in our upstairs bathroom. He is very, very good at many, many things...plumbing just isn't one of them. So he banged and plunged and dropped things and made all kinds of racket for a few hours before waking me (sort of) at 2 a.m. to tell me to call the plumber today. The sink went from slow to completely un-usable and I'm wiped out for lack of sleep. Thanks, hon.
  • The plumber can't come until tomorrow. PITA.
  • While we're talking about him, we have this godforsaken walnut tree in my side yard. It's huge--towers over my two-story house. One of many junk trees to litter my tiny lawn. And around this time ever year, it starts pelting the yard with walnuts. Which are not soft. So last night, the damn nuts start pounding the roof and the AC unit. And Head Dipshit acts like this is so shocking, that they're damaging our property. God only knows what they're doing to the neighbors' house. But he still won't lose the tree. I have two arborists coming next week to give me estimates on drastically pruning it, but it has to stay. I wonder if I can slip them a little cash to kill it. Accidentally. Whoopsee.
  • I had to go to a class coffee at DS's school this morning. I loathe walking into rooms full of people for social events. I'm a small-crowd kind of girl and feel so horribly out of place at crap like that. Bleh.
  • I keep stuffing my face and am getting downright fat. It's compulsive.
  • We're out of dog food. And the WDCL eats prescription food that I can only get from our vet. Who's 20 minutes away. Off we go...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Heeeeeere We Go!

October 9, and the holiday drama has already begun. This one doesn't want to have that dinner at the other one's house, this one over here is going way down there and avoiding the whole thing, and the other one doesn't give a rip but is not helping this year. Period.

Sadly, I've come to hate the period between November 15 and January 2. Thank you, very large extended pain in the ass family. You've sapped every ounce of joy out of the season and replaced it with stress and anxiety. And just like the decorations in Target, you start earlier every blasted year.

Ho ho, bah humbug.

*sigh*

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Rant O' The Day

I got the look today...the "You're seriously not getting a flu shot??!!" look.

*sigh*

The answer is no, I'm not getting the flu shot. I think the flu shot is a load of hooey, quite frankly. It "protects" against one or two strains out of hundreds, it's a total guessing game to decide which strains get included in what year's shot, and there hasn't been a single study that's proven the flu shot actually protects anyone against the flu. In fact, a study was released last week that showed it didn't protect the elderly, which has always been the #1 demographic encouraged to get the stupid thing.

The flu shot is a gigantic coffers-booster for pharmaceutical companies, who have tremendous lobbying power. Period. The reason you're so strongly encouraged to get one is that those companies lobby Congress, which leans on the AMA. And those companies also stock your doctor's freebies closet. If S/he doesn't dole out enough shots, s/he loses that closet full o' loot. Which s/he relies upon greatly.

Don't think I'm right? Then answer this: what other supposed vaccination can you get at the grocery store without a doctor's prescription? So far this year, I've seen flu shot clinics at the grocery store, Target, Wal-Mart, the library, the senior center, and my child's preschool. If one was so inclined, one could run around all autumn and stock up on flu shots, getting one after another, and nobody would keep track. You name another supposed lifesaving drug that's just handed out willy-nilly like that. It's all but over the counter! How effective could it possibly be?

I also just passed on the chicken pox booster for my six-year-old, but that's a whole 'nother rant...

Monday, October 1, 2007

Another Language, Maybe?

With many apologies to those who've already listened to me whine about this...I spent part of last night (inspired by my friend, A) looking skyward and asking the Power That Is to please find another way to communicate with me. I suspect s/he's trying to get a message down here, and I'm just too dense to get it.

Why do I think that, you ask? Because in the past week, we've ("we" being me and DH) survived three visits to the emergency room with various immediate family members, one rush to the pediatrician's office for a right-now sick visit, one phone call about another young family member having a heart attack and being hospitalized, and the news that my six-year-old needs to see a cardiologist soon. (Appt's next week)

So, while I get that the Power needs to get something across to me, I'm not understanding what it is. Do you? And if you do, could you please enlighten me before anybody else gets hurt?

I miss the old days, when divine messages came via burning and talking bush or very vivid and very idiot-proof dreams. Much clearer, those messages. If you ask me, this isn't much of an upgrade at all.

Maybe Bill Gates really is God...

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Happy Birthday, Dad

My father would have been 69 today.

It feels weird to type that. He's been gone eight and a half years already, though it doesn't seem like that long.

We didn't always get along. In fact, we didn't really get along at all until I turned 21 and graduated from college. But when that happened, it was like a switch was flipped somewhere in the universe. For almost eight years after, we had that perfect kind of golden father-daughter relationship that the Lifetime Network loves.

He was a strong presence. One of those people who took over wherever he was--from the marina docks to the boardroom--without trying to at all. It just happened. His viewing was packed. You almost couldn't walk across the room, it was so crowded. People came out of the woodwork. And almost no one knew he'd been sick; his death was sudden to them. So it was shocking for my mother and my brother and me to see what seemed like half of Baltimore crammed into a funeral home parlor to say goodbye.

He had three passions: our dogs, his business, and his boat. The last dog died about three years before he did. The business was packed up in boxes and eventually shredded. And the boat was sold a few months after he died, but not before someone raided it and made off with the GPS, radar, and (inexplicably) a little lighthouse sculpture, which was the only thing my mom wanted from their floating weekend home.

Knowing my father, he's CEO of the afterlife by now. And he has that 50-foot Hatteras he always dreamed of outside his back door and a yard full of labrador retrievers.

At least, that's how I like to picture him.

Happy birthday, Dad. I love you.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Opinions

I read this article the other day and cannot get it out of my head. It's bugging me like a flock o' gnats in July.

The article is here. I know what I think...but what do you all think? I'd love to hear.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Easy Peasy!

Good morning, thank you for calling L.L. Bean. This is Brenda. How may I help you?

Hi Brenda. I have a question. I placed an order online on Wednesday, and this morning, I got an email saying you're offering free shipping. Is there any way we can make that offer retroactive?

If you'll hold on just a minute, I'll see what we can do about that. Is this Kim *****? (she pulled up my name and order number from her caller ID)

Yes, it is. Thanks.

wait...about five seconds. Literally.

Mrs. *? We've taken care of that for you. So there will be no shipping charge on your order. Is there anything else I can help you with today?

That should do it. Thanks so much.

Thank you for shopping with L.L. Bean. You have a great day!


And THAT, my friends, is how you make a lifetime customer. For all of $8.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

My Achin'...

I have a confession to make. A wrong that needs to be righted. A terrible belief of mine that's been proven horribly incorrect, and I feel so badly that I need to tell you all.

I always thought yoga was a crock.

I mean, give me a break. You sit and roll and pose and chant. How on earth could that be fitness?

Um. As my dear mother would say, don't knock it 'til you've tried it.

I've been exploring my workout video options lately--weird school schedules and work schedules and sick kids and such are making it difficult for me to get to the gym as often as I'd like (and it's seriously two blocks from my house...pathetic). I've done the Leslie Sansone, the Shape and Self, the Crunch and Firm, the Tae Bo, the Windsor, the Denise Austin (she rocks by the way, annoyingly chipper or not). Been there, done that. *yawn*

The other night, I saw a neighbor for the first time in a bit. And she looks fantastic. When I asked her what she was doing, she said yoga. Sha right, said I, what are you really doing? Yoga. Twice a week. Period.

So what the heck, let's give yoga a try. I got a video, popped it in, and started with the prayer pose, trying not to giggle and trying really really hard to get my "Eat, Pray, Love" on and actually center myself.

Half an hour later, my body ached. My forehead and back of my neck were drenched. And--shockingly--I was feeling way peaceful, way centered.

Well whaddayaknow?!

As of today, I'm addicted. I'm specifically addicted to this series of videos, which are short (half hour for the most part) and upbeat and fun and don't require any special equipment or props. I've collected five of them so far and ordered another three today. And honest to God, this conservative Republican Catholic is finding that starting my morning with one of these DVDs (after coffee, of course) is really a wonderful way to kick off the day. I hurt--everywhere--but it's a good, healthy kind of hurt. The kind that just feels good, you know?

Thought I'd spread the word. I apologize for anyone I've snickered at in the past for this. This is a real workout and a very good thing.

I'm off to find more...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Rock on...

A 35-year-old friend of mine was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer eight months ago. Amazingly, she's doing great with treatment and attitude and has no intention of giving up.

She emailed me the other day about a walk she's doing to raise money for PC research. The walk's in two weeks in Baltimore. I had nothing going on that day that couldn't be shifted, so I signed up to walk with her. Set up my fundraising website and sent emails out to most of my (personal) address book about it.

72 hours later, I've raised $500 for the walk, and our team is the top one for fundraising for the whole event! YAY US!! And YAY to my friends who've donated--THANK YOU GUYS!!! ***SMOOCH***

(if you want to find out more or donate and help a girl out, email me thru my profile and I'll send you the link to the site.)

Best Hair Stuff Ever


Sorry to have been gone for a few days and to re-join you with such a lame post. We had a long night last night and I'm wiped out. So this is as good as it gets this morning.


Got my hair cut Saturday--new style. And the hair lady asks me if I use hair spray. Why, yes. So she says, "Try this. It holds your style and gets rid of frizz, but lets your hair move."


Sha, right. Heard it before. But you know what? She was *right*. Three drops in my dry hair and it's magic. Magic. I am in love. Sunday found me at Ulta buying a container and chucking my can o' hair glue.
So that's my wisdom for the day. Hair magic in a little squeezy bottle. I'll have something more profound tomorrow.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Nummy

I got nothin' of substance to say today, so let's talk about my dinner.

A friend of mine had a baby a few weeks ago and I took her dinner the other night--remember my catastrophe/shooting star story? And ever since, I've been thinking about how good it smelled despite being literally tossed together from my pantry and freezer. So today, I made it again and we'll eat it tonight.

I thawed a pound of large (41-50) cooked, tail-on shrimp and hacked the tails off (sorry, shrimp). Then I minced up three cloves of garlic and put some whole-grain spaghetti on to boil.

Once the spaghetti was in, I covered the bottom of my favorite skillet (Calphalon rocks, my friends) with extra-virgin olive oil and heated it up on medium. Tossed the garlic in and let it swim around until it started talking to me, and then stirred in a can of diced tomatoes (drained), a pinch of red pepper flakes, and a scant palmful of Italian Seasoning.

I let that very gently simmer (don't burn the garlic!) while the noodles cooked, and then drained them. Stirred the shrimp into the sauce, let them get nice and warm, and tossed the spaghetti in there. And then I stirred in a handful of shredded Parmesan.

We'll steam up some broccoli and have ourselves a little, very easy, very yummy feast tonight. I cannot wait!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Moment Today

Dear Person Who Knows Me Well Enough:

Next time you're talking to me and trying to explain why a certain Midwest town sounds like hell on earth and the main reason is that "people all go to church on Sundays," I want you to stop and think for a minute.

I'll wait...

See? Is your personal light bulb blinking on? That verbal filter kicking in?

One more thing on the topic: next time you're in a room full of people and you're about to say something really derogatory about Catholics in that tone and with your nose sniffed up that way, see if you'd say the sentence out loud with either "Jewish" or "black" inserted where the horribly offensive faith was going to be.

No?

Aaaaaaaaaah. Point clear enough?

*sigh*

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I'm Sure There's Something Meaningful Here

DH has been away all week. That coupled with my apparently insurmountable sense of chaos at the whole back-to-school thing has made life a little bit hectic. Kind of like my normal life, only on fast-forward.

I went to dinner with a dear friend last night. She asked about another friend, which reminded me that I promised the second girl dinner tonight (she just had a baby). Crap! I tried making one dinner late last night. Disaster ensued. Just when I'd given up and decided that a chicken from Whole Foods was acceptable, I spied a bag of Trader Joe's shrimp in my freezer. That, plus olive oil, plus garlic, plus a few spices, plus spaghetti, plus some chopped tomatoes would make a great scampi.

So this morning, when the WDCL woke me up at 5:15, I rolled out of bed and started assembling ingredients. Discovered that the dishwasher had, once again, trapped the detergent in its little cup instead of using it to actually clean the dishes, so started that up and faced a sinkful of other dirty dishes.

By the time WDCL and I walked out the door for her morning constitutional, my brain was racing. Dinner to make and deliver, school to get kids to and from, about six phone interviews today, ballet class this afternoon, time to get outside, and six or seven house-type things I wanted to accomplish today.

It was dark out. WDCL stopped to sniff at something and I looked up...just in time to see a shooting star. The second one I've seen in my life. At that time of the morning, it was totally silent on my street, and something about that streak of light shining through the blackness and the quiet made me breathe a little deeper, relax a little bit, and enjoy the peace for just a moment.

I'm trying really hard to hold onto that moment today. It wasn't quite meditation (which has never done it for me in the relaxation department. Too much pressure to relax!), but it let my muscles un-tense and my spine shift a bit and my brain take a bit of a respite from the September craziness.

My wish for all of you is for a shooting star, in whatever form it may take, sometime in your day. Breathe...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Geezin'

You wanna feel old?

Take your first-grader to Family Fun Night on the field at his school. The big party with the four moonbounces and the cotton candy and the face painting and the DJ who's booming loud enough for the whole flippin' neighborhood to hear. (Those wacky Catholics!)

Get your dinner at the barbecue, escort the kids to the moonbounces, socialize with the grown-ups. And then, when the line dancing starts and the DJ yells something about everybody getting a prize, race up to the front of the field with your kids to make sure they don't get trampled.

You're there...you might as well dance.

YMCA. Check.

Macarena. Check.

Electric Slide. Check.

I Like to Move It. Check.

Shout. Double check.

Cha Cha Slide.

what the hell...?

New Dance Alert! New dance to a song you've never even heard of before!! And all the kids are doing it! EVEN YOUR KID! WHO'S SIX!!!!!

Come home, watch the damn thing on You Tube, and convince yourself it's not all that bad. You were the queen of Fell's Point back in the day, dammit...a regular at Sanctuary! You had the moves! The clothes! Every! Single! Song!

And now...a minivan in the driveway. You're the dorky mom trying to keep up to some hip-hop song. Ack.

Who ever heard of a Catholic event without beer, anyway? *grumble*

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Where I Rank

DS is in first grade at a Catholic school (let the flogging commence!). He has a nifty religion workbook--really fun stuff. He brought it home last night to be covered on Contact paper and DH and I flipped through a bit.

On several pages, he's asked in a few different ways who teaches him about God. And they all say "Mom." Some have drawn pictures, some are just the word. But over and over. Mom.

Can you see my heart swell as I type that? I rule!

Tonight, as we were breaking land-speed records despite D.C.'s rush hour (it's a long story) and he and his sister chilled in their jammies, chomping on Ritz Bits, under strict orders to please, please, please be quiet and just let Mommy drive for the love of all that's holy, they started chatting about school.

I hear him mention the book and how much he likes it. And he starts telling his little sister about these pages, where he's asked who tells him about God.

"Well," he says. "I could only say one person, and we have two priests at school and I couldn't pick."

OK. That's valid. We go to church every week as a family and he goes every other week with his class. Priests are huge in his life right now. Cool. I'm second to a monsignor. I can handle that.

Then he says, "And I was going to write 'teacher,' but that's a really long word to write. And I don't know how to spell it. It would have taken a long time. So I didn't put that."

Uh huh.

"So," he finishes with a shrug (my nifty Odyssey has a mirror just for watching kids in the backseat. Despite my Mario Andretti maneuvers tonight, I was watching this), "I needed somebody with a short name that I could spell. And I like writing 'M's.' So I put Mom."

*pop*




That was my formerly swelled heart, deflating just as fast as I was driving, and my parenting ego flying right out the sunroof.

Kids...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ballooning

We spend the whole summer thinking things will be easier once kids are in school, but you know what? They're not.

My son's finishing up his second week of school, and my daughter has been in almost a week. I am a *wreck*. Two back to school nights, thousands of forms and papers to fill out, soccer practices, ballet lessons, scout activities...and it's week TWO. Our schedule is a mess. It doesn't help that they're at two different schools on two different timetables, and that one is a co-op which requires my participation on a few levels.

I feel like the hamster on the wheel right now. Rushing to drop kids off, rushing to run errands, rushing to finish work, rushing to pick kids up...make lunches and dinners...get here and there...fill out everything ASAP... reply to emails and phone calls, and find some time for myself in there (yeah, right). My house is a mess. My calendar looks like something from A Beautiful Mind. My desk is covered with papers and Post-Its. I'm totally lost.

We'll hit our groove. I know we will--we always have. It doesn't help that we're all tired and that the schools just can't seem to get their acts together, so everything is a last-minute emergency. And DH is traveling a lot and working a lot, so most of this is falling on me alone. Everything but Scouts, come to think of it. And I do know that lots of this is optional, but I'm feeling like soccer and ballet and scouts are really important in my children's overall development. I should be able to suck it up and deal with this and breathe.

I've been up since 3:30 this morning. My eyes just popped open like roller shades and that was that. I filed a bunch of stuff, did some laundry, worked on some articles, went through my calendar...and I still feel totally behind.

Time for soccer. Then, there are three textbooks to be covered in Contact paper (I don't even know how to do that!!), dinners to be made and cleaned up after, children to be bathed, paperwork to finish up, interviews to schedule for the rest of the week. A class brunch this weekend at one school; "family fun night" at the other.

Like the great man said, stop the world. For the love of God, I want off...

Monday, September 10, 2007

On Britney

I didn't see the VMAs so I can't comment on her performance there. And yeah, she's a train wreck.

But if that's a "beer belly" on Britney Spears and completely offensive to the rest of the world...I am in serious trouble.

*sigh*

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Thursday 13

Haven't done one of these in a long time, and I'm feeling generally pissy. So...

13 Things That Are Pissing Me Off Today

  1. The money being spent to look for this Fossett dude in the desert. I said it when the Croc Hunter got his and I'll say it again: flirt with danger long enough and it's going to do you in eventually. Stupid testosterone.
  2. The general chaos surrounding tuition payments (and missing tuition payments), soccer, uniforms, etc. I mean, the school's been operating for like 60 years. Summer happens every year and classes start up again every September. What is the deal with the complete and utter panic, disorganization, and complete lack of information? Seriously, people, I have high blood pressure as it is. I cannot take this.
  3. DH.
  4. This freaky attachment that my DS (God love him) develops to every material thing in his world. I had out last year's Halloween costume to sell in a big yard sale this weekend--this huge stuffed dinosaur costume that has literally been hanging in his closet, untouched, for the last year. Can you say hissy fit over it? Dear lord.
  5. They don't make soccer cleats in an 11 1/2 for kids. They make a 10 1/2, and a 12 1/2, but no 11 1/2. Which happens to be the size the child is. What...the...hell...kind of system is that? Huh? Or is the Sports Authority chick just lying to me and there's some kind of rogue shortage in that size in my particular store that spans every color and every brand?
  6. The moron who wrote "Heaven has a tenor" as the headline announcing Pavarotti's death on cnn.com this morning. Oh puh-leeze!! I'm all about the heaven thing and the life-after-death thing, but I sincerely doubt that old Luciano is up there belting out Madame Butterfly in some opera house in the clouds. *Retch*.
  7. Sally Foster fundraisers. Dumbest rip-off idea ever. And telling kids they can win prizes if they stalk their friends and relatives into buying this crap is just a load of manure. I refuse to participate in this one. Fifty percent...guess who's making the other 50 and getting rich AND getting a massive tax break for their "corporate donation" at the end of the campaign? Sickening. I'm telling you, give parents the option to write one check to the school and take a pass on the ridiculous fundraisers and 99 percent of 'em will whip out the old checkbooks right there on the spot. (Yes, our catalogue came home today. It's out on the curb in my recycling bin.)
  8. People who fling Jolly Ranchers off parade floats. Um, OUCH.
  9. Free community newspapers that pile up in driveways and turn into some kind of disgusting mushy street compost after several weeks. We don't want your free papers--if we did, my guess is they wouldn't be free. Quit chucking them in our yards!
  10. Did I mention DH? I really should...
  11. All the bitching and moaning about gas prices. Don't want to pay it? DON'T DRIVE. Or give up your big honkin' SUV for a Honda Fit or something. (I love big honkin SUVs, but I don't bitch about gas, see?). Visit Europe. Do the math and figure out that it equates to about an extra $200 per year per family at the moment over last year's prices, and shut up already. You're not entitled to cheap gas. Suck it up.
  12. The research company that calls my house at 6 p.m. every stinkin' night.
  13. Blockbuster Online. Which compensates for our rabid movie habit by shipping movies via pony express. Or snail. I'm not sure which.

IMHO...

  1. Child abductions are extraordinarily rarely carried out by strangers.
  2. Parents don't generally leave their young children alone in hotel rooms in foreign countries while they go party the night away.
  3. The whole Madeliene McCann thing smacks so hard of JonBenet I can barely hear over the din.
  4. Ditto for Susan Smith.
  5. Cops keep interviewing the parents.
  6. Mysterious forensic evidence has surfaced in the hotel room, including droplets of blood on the walls.
  7. You know what I said about abductions and strangers? Like, triple it for child murders.
  8. And now...now that world opinion seems to be turning just a wee bit...little Madeliene's parents are suddenly calling off their in-person search and heading homeward.

Sorry, McCanns. I'm calling bullshit.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Homework

First day of first grade seems to have gone well. DS was happy when I picked him up this afternoon, which is usually a good sign. I'm already drowning in paper from the teacher. Ack!

So I have homework for you guys. Find me a new purse, please! I'd like something brown leather, maybe a hobo style, maybe with a buckle or something on it, for a decent price. I love the Dooney Lock Sac, but boy, that's outta my range. And I got a cute Coach from Ebay, but it's just too small. It'll likely be re-auctioned.

Anyone got a good source? Anyone? Bueller?

Friday, August 31, 2007

And So It Ends

Labor Day weekend. Whew.

Sorry for the lack o' post yesterday. The kids and I spent all day at the Maryland Science Center, playing and learning and touching and experiencing. It was fab. A wonderful way to round out the summer--we had a great time and didn't get home until the bath/dinner/bed/ cleanup rush. My poor computer felt so neglected! ;)

School starts Tuesday. We have a jam-packed weekend planned. Should be a fun one!

Hope all of you enjoy the official end of summer. I'll admit, as much as we're all ready for school to start, I'm going to miss my little boogers around the house. It's gonna be quiet in here! DS's new teacher called last night to see if we had any questions. Very sweet. And DD's teacher came to the house on Wednesday and spent about a half-hour with her. The kids are pumped. We're looking forward to a great school year.

We're having one more swim playdate with friends today. Then the whirlwind weekend, and then the bell rings.

Have a great weekend, gang! Happy fall!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Proof of Miracles

I bought an external hard drive, hooked it up, downloaded the software for system backups from Microsoft, enacted said software, and backed up my entire system, and it all worked the first time.

Did you hear that? The. First. Time. The exact way the directions said it would.

I mean sure, downloading the backup utility for some reason zapped Internet Explorer right off my computer, but that was relatively easy to fix. And not really the new drive's fault, right?

A new computer device worked the first time. Don't ever tell me there aren't paranormal events.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Close to Home

My neighbors put their dog down yesterday. She was a sweet oldish golden retriever. Saturday night, she collapsed. The emergency vet found cancer everywhere, and the family spent Sunday saying goodbye before having the vet come to their house yesterday and help her move on to whatever comes next.

It hit a little close, honestly. Their dog and the WDCL were the same age and I always thought she was way healthier than my beast. Hearing that she had to go and that it was just that fast rocked my world a bit. My heart broke for their family...I left a card for them, not knowing what else to do, and sent good thoughts down that way.

My kids took it pretty hard. DD burst into tears several times over the course of the day saying, "I don't want the doggie to die!" And DS drew several pictures of her, in his introverted, thoughtful way, and asked questions about putting dogs down (he saw the vet arrive at their house and quickly put the situation together) and if his friends were sad and if dogs go to heaven just like people.

I'm going to miss her. Honestly, I'm more of a dog person than a people person and she's been on the block for 7+ years. She's been at every party and happy hour I can remember and was the sweetest thing ever.

I'll tell you something else: WDCL can't figure out what happened, but she's been spoiled absolutely rotten since we heard the news around 6 yesterday morning. Even when she puked on my beige rug at 4:30 this morning. Hugs and kisses and cuddles and green beans (she loves green beans) and nuzzles and lots and lots of tummy rubbins.

If you have a good thought to spare, send it to my neighbors, would you? They're dog people like me, and their world is pretty empty this morning.

I'm off to the Lab Rescue website. Maybe we'll get that second dog after all.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Same As My Preschooler

Dear Michael Vick

Don't say you're sorry. The only thing you're sorry about is that you got caught.

Ugh.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Vacation Wrap-Up

Seven days at the lake. Holy cow.

  • Got the living room and dining room painted. Including their massively high vaulted ceilings--we had to rent an industrial ladder. NOT fun.
  • DH almost fell to his death (I'm kidding, but it was kind of freaky for a minute there) when his folding ladder collapsed under him. The ladder went in the Dumpster. Life's too short for faulty equipment.
  • Saw "Daddy Day Camp." Poor Cuba Gooding. I swear...from an Oscar to a fart/burpfest with kids in the woods. Sorry, dude. Really.
  • Boated. A lot.
  • Ate way WAY too much. Detox starts tomorrow.
  • Ran through the area corn maze and then, because it was slow, got a private guided tour of the dairy farm from the farmer--a terrific Mennonite lady named Alice. The kids milked a cow. We pet baby cows and baby lambs and horses and giggled at a renegade pygmy goat who rules the joint. Such fun!
  • Saw wild deer and groundhogs and skunks and chipmunks and, on our last day, a real live baby black bear. Thrilling for us city folk!
  • Got the chimney cleaned. Didn't get the cable internet fixed. Ah well. Wished, for the billionth time, for Comcast's demise.
  • Bought a sweatshirt for me, a T-shirt for DH, and a few little toys for the kids, who were SUPER good while we painted and it rained for two days straight.
  • Enjoyed my new camera once I got the pics off the old one. Let me tell you, the difference in quality between my old 5 mp and my new 7.1 mp cameras is amazing. Upgrade!!
  • Scored a new Coach bag off ebay this morning. (**insert evil grin here**) My one yearly indulgence is a nice new handbag in the fall. I can't wait to get this one!
  • Came home to NO CATASTROPHES!! HOORAY!! Major achievement for us, folks. Every trip, we seem to return home to disaster, from dead fish in the pond to a dead fridge full of food to a basement flood to you name it. Nothing this year! Huzzah!
  • Put the kids to bed last night and curled up with my new Michel Richard book and read recipes and drooled all night long. Happy, happy me.

I've caught up on all the blogs but haven't had time to comment. I'm with ya, my peeps! :)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

My Hands Are All Cramped Up, But...

So here's a lesson...

When your husband insists on holding your beloved Canon Powershot in the pocket of his life jacket, insist...insist...that you buckle the buckle yourself.

And when you head into the dock and you hear a plop followed by a stream of obscenities, don't even look. Because your PowerShot and all of your photos just hit the lake and it's going to take every ounce of lip-biting you have not to burst into tears right there at the pier with the kids and all your neighbors watching.

Later, when His Jackassedness has apologized a thousand times, fished your camera out of the drink, and you've called Canon on the phone and they've told you it's just shot, cross your fingers. Be nice. Tell him it's not the end of the world, even though your heart is breaking because you took some gorgeous shots of your kids on the water that morning and some great ones last week, and they're probably all gone. Don't curse at him like you want to. Don't kick him in the crotch because you never liked boats anyway and this just sucks. SUCKS DO YOU HEAR ME?

And then quietly nod when he offers to take you to Wal Mart right now. Don't jump up and down when you find a fantastic model for a way-impossibly-cheap price, and don't totally flip with joy when you find out it has no--NO--shutter lag. Just buy it, quietly thank him, and move on.

When you get home several hours later, after mini golf and dinner and ice cream, and you finally get up the guts to put the memory card from the drowned camera (which is still deader than Princess Diana) and it very slowly reads, try to just hold your breath without anyone knowing.

But when all but one of your photos pops up on the screen and you type like lightening to get them on your hard drive and save them as fast as you possibly can before the fluke ends and it zaps out again, and it works?

You can sigh and thank God out loud and clap your hands and be ecstatic...and enjoy the new way-nicer camera...and promise yourself that you will never ever EVER again let 300 shots pile up on your memory card without saving them to CD. Ever, do you hear me??!! And then quietly put the new camera in not one, but two Ziploc bags, and silently remind yourself to hold on to your own stuff on the stupid godforsaken boat no matter how nicely he offers or how bumpy the ride is. It's always safer in your own hands.

And uncross your fingers. It worked. My some miracle, it worked.

It's Called a Calendar

This is why I could never live up here, in a small town in the mountains.

Three weeks ago, I called a chimney sweep to schedule a cleaning. Fine, yep, can do Thursday, first thing in the morning. Great.

Three days ago, I got a message. "Mrs. F? This is the chimney guy. I have you down for today and I just wanted to see if that was still OK?"

Um. Today--at the time, at least--is Tuesday. We scheduled for Thursday. That's important--Tuesday, we were painting the room with the fireplace. Fresh wet paint + chimney cleaning = very bad idea. I called him back. Oh...Thursday. Good. No problem. Done.

Yesterday, I got another message. "We'll see you Thursday afternoon!"

Well, no. Morning. First thing. See, that's why I called you weeks ago and in the off-season. Cuz I really want first thing in the morning. So I'm not stuck here with two cooped-up kids on a gorgeous day. Mor. Ning.

Oh. Well. See, the guy who was supposed to clean your chimney has to be out that morning. You can't do afternoon?




(this is me being silent)



Um. I could call someone else in, I guess. Do you want me to?

That'd be great. Thanks for all your help.

So here I sit. Thursday morning. DH and DS are out on the boat, and DD is stuck here with me, waiting. With about 50 percent confidence this is actually going to happen.

The joys of homeownership.

DH called me a bit ago from the boat. "Is the chimney guy there?"

No.

"Yeah, well. He'll probably come over next Thursday. Just like you told him."

Har dee har har. Plbthth.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Amazing...

Only because some of you have asked...and then I'm going to shut up about it.

Citronelle was absolutely, without question, the best dinner experience I've had in my life. Bar none. Better than the inaugural ball, better than private clubs, better than anything I can imagine.

If you're a foodie, you must--must--figure out a way to eat there. The whole dining room faces a massive glass wall, behind which is the kitchen. And the kitchen was like the most elaborate ballet I've ever seen. At least two dozen chefs, all in impeccable white uniforms, moving at top speed with impossible precision.

At a huge wooden table in the front of the room sat the man--Michel Richard. All in black, in contrast to his staff. Watching. Motioning this person or that over to inspect a plate, and engaging in animated conversation after. Sending out samples of new dishes to see the reaction of his diners. Meandering through the dining room to shake hands and laugh.

I had his famous faux eggs. Incredible. I'm telling you, I'm ruined for regular food. Every bite was like fireworks in my mouth. Food combinations you'd never imagine...you'd never put together in a thousand years...but perfect, like a symphony on a plate. Even DH, who giggles at me and the Food Network, was completely entranced by what was going on around us.

We sat for three hours. Ate and ate and ate, drank marvelous wine the chef recommended, and soaked up the amazing atmosphere. The service was perfect--absolutely perfect--and it was a night I can't wait to repeat someday when I'm wealthy.

I found out yesterday that Richard is offering a series of small, intimate cooking classes this fall. I am SO there. Even DH, who would have pooh-poohed the idea a week ago, is excited for it and encouraging me to sign up despite the cost. I absolutely cannot wait.

If you love food, go. If you just enjoy it, go. Worth every last dime, I promise. I am completely, totally in love with the place. I can't wait to finish up my new book (DH gave me an autographed copy for my birthday) next week!

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Dress...


The Bag Game

Mama T. played the bag game earlier this week...the one where you dump out the contents of your purse and show the world whatcha got in there. Her bag is way cooler than mine (man, if I could find a bag like hers with a shoulder strap, I'd be a delighted chicka), but for your amusement...

























Inside are...

  1. My very big, very loud wallet. Which I love b/c I never have to search for it.
  2. Two lip glosses. Same color.
  3. Crystal Lite water bottle flavor packet
  4. Mints.
  5. Pocketknife.
  6. Baggie o' wipes.
  7. Check waiting for its trip to the bank.
  8. Cell phone
  9. Tissues
  10. Little tube of sunscreen.
  11. Ticket stub from recent puppet show.
  12. Handful of change.
  13. Notebook.
  14. Pen.
  15. Stack of receipts.
  16. B&N gift card.
  17. Stack of business cards.
  18. Baggie of Band Aids, Tide to Go, and other assorted necessities.

Who wants to play??

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Perfect Dress

My birthday is coming up. DH, in a rare moment (you have no idea), somehow managed to secure reservations for us at one of the nicest restaurants in town--I've been a closet groupie of its famous chef for years. Certainly a highlight of the year for me.

But what to wear?

This is a tie-and-jacket-required restaurant. Rumor has it (at least, according to the Washington Post's food critic), it's the only one in town. So fancy is required.

I'm a stay-at-home mom. The fanciest I generally get is khakis and a clean sweater, or maybe a denim skirt and blouse. Occasionally. And the clothes I wore in my pre-kid life just don't fit anymore despite losing all the baby weight. Bodies change.

I have a dress I wore to DH's parents' fiftieth anniversary party two summers ago. It's nice. And it still fits (proving, once again, that there is a god). But it doesn't ring any bells for me. The colors aren't really my style, I don't have shoes that go with it very well, and it just is kind of blah. Fine for a party with relatives; not so much fine for a dinner I'll likely remember forever (I'm a foodie, what can I say?).

Yesterday, I dragged the kids all over the mall. Macy's. Nordstrom (yeah...like that's realistic), Ann Taylor, Sears. If they sell dresses, I was there. Saw lots of pretty ones. But they were either sewn for women without hips or cut down to *there*. Which is fine on most people. Not my style, you know?

I bought a very nice skirt and top at Ann Taylor with a bit of disappointment. They fit. They're nice. They were on sale. They're just not what I wanted. But whatever.

We didn't have much planned today. I turned in an article this morning and had planned to sit outside and watch the kids run through the sprinkler, but it started pouring down rain. This is a good thing--I don't think we've had a soaking rain since the beginning of June. And I really tried to get the kids to accept it as a natural sprinkler, but no dice.

So in a fit of last-ditch desparation, I drove 25 minutes to J.C. Penney. I've done a bit of online shopping there this summer and they seem to get me. Classic clothes that fit me well at decent prices.

You know what?

I found it.

The perfect little black dress. Thirty percent off! I mean perfect. It hugs my curves where they should be hugged and drapes gently where they're not so much flattering. It's classic--I can easily see a young Kate or Audrey Hepburn in it. Not matronly. Shows a bit of cleavage and a little bit of collarbone, but not too much. It's comfortable and a little bit swishy around the skirt and I am so completely in love with it I could scream. Assuming I don't change too much size-wise, it's a lifetime dress.

I have black heels to go with it. I have a great necklace for it. I'm set.

Those who know me know I'm not a fashion maven. I'm such a jeans-and-T-shirt girl it's almost amusing to think of wearing this out (I wore a skirt one day in college for a job interview, and a friend of mine yelled across the parking lot 'HOLY SHIT--KIM HAS LEGS!!'). But this dress...it was made for me.

The Ann Taylor stuff is going back tomorrow. I have to admit, this one tiny find has really boosted my mood. Nothing like a little retail therapy in the right place!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Toys...

Two more Polly Pocket sets, back to China from whence they came.

*sigh*

Whoda thunk that toys would become such a hot topic? Even something as basic as Thomas--wood trains, no batteries, good wholesome fun--turns out to be toxic. Literally. Forget Baby Einstein...it's the active-participation stuff that's going to kill our kids.

My frustration led me to seach for US-made toys last night. And the good news is that I found many more domestic toys than I anticipated. Some of the sites I particularly liked:

http://www.madeinusa.org/nav.cgi?data/toys

http://www.stillmadeinusa.com/toysngames.html

http://www.usmadetoys.com/

http://www.turnertoys.com/

I'm not panicking over it. I'm annoyed. And I'd like to start supporting some of these companies. Maybe if we do that, more American businesses will take back part of the market and we can all breathe just a bit easier, huh?