Saturday, 30 December 2006

tail envy

(for the lone grey squirrel)

I grew up in Northern Michigan. There were always squirrels around.
Mostly fat grey happy fellows,



but a great number of these sassy guys:

(litter mates of the grey ones!)

Now I live in Eastern Canada, and what they call squirrel around here is this:



I think I'm homesick for real squirrels, darn it.

blog-in-review

These are the first sentences for the first posts of each month of 2006.


January: (it's a new year, baby) Someone said that to me last night and my first thought, bizarrely, was those Virgina Slims ads "You've come a long way, baby" with the women all sultry and sleek, smoking their cigarettes with the silent adoration of the men with them... Yup, long way from that, baby.

February: In the last two days, I have:

March: (To distinguish between the spellings of principal and principle) The principal is your pal.

April: Mama? Did you know that my big brother is big enough to get stuff off the counters now?

May: The Boy gets gum from his grandfather.

June: I came home from work today and the house was sparkling clean.

July: There are moments with your kids where you're pretty sure your heart has stopped.

August: It's hot. Hot hot hot hot hot hot.

September: So! We tossed Mo and Curly into the car, and we were off!

October: We sent Cass to bed early tonight.

November: We took a long drive this morning after breakfast, through the woods and around the river.

December: November's over and it's the weekend and WHERE ARE ALL THE POSTS?

Happy 2007, everyone!


stolen from I Do All My Own Stunts (and hers are much better than mine!)

Friday, 29 December 2006

where did we put the tylenol?

Last night I went merrily to the manse - both kids asleep, hubby studying - why ever not, right?

An hour later I got the call. R was throwing up again. And now the flu had really hit. Poor baby. Poor Bear, who was stuck tending to both her ends (and the means!) while I sat a few miles away. For someone who doesn't like vomit and poop, B is getting quite the initiation with Miss Rosemary.

Today, of course, she seems better, but I think we'll give her a few days of nothing heavier than applesauce (whoops, forgot she lifted half of B's bagel at supper - well, it stayed down, anyway) before we give the all-clear to visitors.

The kids' big present from their Nana and PapaR (my mother and stepfather) was a V-Smile. Mom sent me the money, and I went out and bought the thing.* Cass is enchanted, and he does seem to be learning - it is educational, and does require them to do a great deal with the alphabet, it's not just a level of game and then three letters - but there's this little voice in the back of my head that is incredulous that I (willingly!) brought a video game system into the house. I'm not above hiding the thing if after a few days he doesn't want to play with anything else (and so far that hasn't happened) - I'm just uneasy about it. He seems so young.

Rosey has a speech assessment the eleventh - which we expect her to blow through. That is, of course, assuming she talks to the therapist. The last few weeks she's really turned a corner and is now repeating and using everything she hears. Three and four word sentences!

And now we know what we had suspected and been blaming on poor speech ability - my daughter, my beautiful, funny, precocious, smiling, precious daughter?

Has a stubborn streak as wide as the Erie Canal.

God help us when she hits her teen years.


*Just the machine and the cartridge that comes with it - does anyone have any knowledge of any of the other games? I know there's quite the assortment.

Thursday, 28 December 2006

reprieve

Last night R alternated throwing up and crying for hours. We figured it was the flu (we've been lucky so far (knock head) at avoiding it, but like all viruses, we knew it would catch up sometime) and dosed her accordingly, but then when that came back up we resorted to the heavy artillery.*

When that didn't seem to help, B climbed into the big recliner and rocked her for hours while I flitted around like a mama bird with cold cloths and flat seven-up on a spoon. Pinky was running a high fever and we just tried to make her comfortable - B looked like he was marooned on Littlegirl Island, surrounded by her bunny and her blankie and her special pillow and two or three of her baby dolls - and thought we'd ride it out. We talked about who would take her when - how we could move things around so she sould stay home with us, which appointments we'd have to move, etc.

She went into her bed at about midnight, and was back in our bed at two.

Her Daddy was the only thing she wanted. She was quiet when I held her and sang, but her eyes would dart around until she found Bear, and she really only seemed to settle with him.

All this to say: we expected the rest of this week to be a blur of temperatures, mopping up, and loads of laundry.


This morning, I was woken by a finger tapping me on the arm. Silently protesting the break of day (and can someone please tell me why kids are so attuned to that? Is it the magnetic pull of the sun or something?) I rolled over to see...

The bright-eyed and happily smiling face of my daughter. 'Tass toot.' she said, and grinned.**

She's fine. A little tired (she's in with B right now, having a long early nap) but sunshine-y and chattering and her usual bouncy self.

We talked about taking her to outpatients last night. We were both worried. She was burning up, racked with nausea, and clearly in distress.

And today, she's cracking jokes and carrying the cat around.


We have had a reprieve. And we're so grateful.




*I think it's sufficient to say there was a rubber glove and vaseline involved, and a very indignant two year old.

**Her biggest baby joke so far. R likes to blame her brother for all...uh...bodily odors. Last week it was the cat.

Sunday, 24 December 2006

we may fly big planes, but we're all just kids at heart

I know many of you have small ones at home - my son (and his father, frankly) are getting a kick out of this site.

The weather channel here had a small blurb on NORAD as well, talking with the Canadian pilots who get to take the jets up and 'escort' Santa on his route. Some consider it the highlight of their service years. Cass was amazed, listening with wide-open eyes and a'goggle mouth - big people! in fast planes! With Santa! Poor goy, he's having having trouble believing the Christmas is! finally! here!


I wish each of you the most amazing holiday of all.

ain't we got fun?

Sort of done!

I have wrapped, tagged, and boxed. I have sorted and folded and put away. Thanks to my sister in law, I am (for a few hours) childless. Thank you.

And, distressingly, I cannot remember writing my husband's name on any tags. So either the kids are giving him everything I bought, or there's a gift hiding somewhere.

How many more Christmas hidey-holes can I squeeze into a house with two nosey children? The gianticus Christmas plushes are out hidden near the dryer, the Santa gifts are in the pantry. regular gifts (ie from Mommy and Daddy)are in a laundry basket tucked in a corner behind the tree. (I really, really, really don't like wrapping presents. So protecting them from the possibly wandering fast fingers of the girl is key.)

Our Christmas is two days long - Bear works a 24 on Christmas Day, so the kids will do stockings with him early tomorrow am, then he'll go to work and we'll go for the Giant Unwrapping Of Loot, part One at my father-in-laws. When B gets home early in the morning Boxing Day (that's December 26th*) we'll open all the presents that my side of the family has sent and the family gifts.

So - I feel one last trip into town coming on. I still need to check and see if Rosey has enough to fill her stocking, and make the strata for tomorrow morning.
In honor of some of my newly-svelte relatives, I will also be bringing a fruit salad.

I'll check in later.


* Boxing Day was traditionally the day people would box up their leftovers for the poor. Now I think it's celebrated more as a day to get the best bargains.

Friday, 22 December 2006

gettin' crafty

I raced around after work tonight with the kids, looking for foam wreaths and gumdrops. Kiddley had a terrific craft idea, and C was hot to try it. (This has been happening a lot lately. He's either getting more creative or he should stop looking at the computer when I check my blogs.)

But there were no wreaths, and precious few gumdrops. I finally bought some sparkly pipe cleaners, round foam balls, and two bags of spice drops.

When we got home, we discovered that one of the bags had bigger gumdrops than the other, but no matter.

R snitched sweeties here and there while Cass helped me get the toothpicks ready and wrap the pipe cleaners around the styrofoam balls. Then we were off!



Cass picked up all the funny shaped gumdrops he could for his 'martian' ball - it's on the bottom. He really enjoyed doing this and it kept him occupied for almost an hour.

Aren't they pretty?

Thursday, 21 December 2006

maybe flying isn't such a good idea



Dean Martin and Foster Brooks, everyone. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 19 December 2006

five songs of christmas

Tagged by Erin

FIVE FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONGS
(in no particular order)

I had a hard time with this meme, probably because I worked in retail for many years and am so.muzaked.out.

1. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear - This gives me chills and throws me right back into memories of candlelight services at my church back when I was young enough to have being at chapel at night feel holy and still slightly spooky. My grandmothers clear sweet singing, my mothers slightly lower tones, and the feel and scent of the wax candle in my hand.

2. I'll Be Home For Christmas - Sinatra, baby.

3. Carillon of the Bells. Magical.

4. Arrival of The Queen Of Sheba, Handel. Okay, not technically a Christmas song. I usually only get to hear it at Christmas, though, since the CD I have also has the Messiah on it. Listen to this one. Really. It's a lovely, sunny, cheerful, joyous song, and makes me smile every time I hear it. I wanted to have this one at my wedding for the recessional (My, a long time ago!) but it wouldn't have been possible for the organist to do it by herself.

5. Merry Christmas Baby - Etta James. Bluesy, fooly piano, and Etta. Oh, Etta.

This was fun! I tag Squirrel, Molly, and that furry penguin lady.

And, you know, steal! Take! Make your own!

Monday, 18 December 2006

up on the rooftop

We drove around looking at the lights tonight.

Plenty to ooh and aah over - the kids were quiet, Rosey piping up now and then with 'More?' when we went around a dark curve. It was a night to think good warm thoughts about my little family and squeeze Bear's hand now and again.

B remembered a house from last year where they go all out - reindeer and a sleigh on the roof, lights everywhere, Christmas music playing. We came 'round a corner and saw:



this jolly old elf. WHO IS BIGGER THAN A HOT AIR BALLOON.

See the building he's tied down to? It's a two-car* garage/workshop.

We goggled for a bit and then R whimpered (probably wondering if GIANT SANTA was going to come down and flatten the car with her in it 'HAVE YOU BEEN GOOOOOOD, LITTLE GIRL?? HAVE YOU??') and we left.

We swung out onto the highway and while the trees are too tall to catch another glimpse of Santa's lair, you could definately see a bright spot in the night sky where he lives. Kind of like a beacon to the gods of holiday lighting.





*Actually, they keep old fire trucks in there. So jets can probably see him as they whoosh by. HE'S THAT BIG.

Sunday, 17 December 2006

need a snow day?

Need a Snow Day?

Go. Be creative. It's fun, and it's for a good cause.


lifted from stay-at-home-mommy

Saturday, 16 December 2006

i think i ate too much air today

My cupboards are beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Last night R and I went and bought all sorts of baking supplies (even tho' I still haven't decided what to make) and a box of clementines.

I didn't know the kids were going to love them so much. Last year C ate three and R would put them in her mouth, make a face and be done, but this year? This year they've both figured out how to peel them and have started stuffing them in their cheeks like chipmunks.

So tomorrow I may have to go buy more.

R has started feeding her baby dolls. She taps the spoon against the bowl before she lifts it to the dolls lips, which makes me grin, but she's deadly serious about it. This morning after busily feeding them and then wiping their faces and bundling them all in a blanket on the sofa (nap time?) she turned to...us.

All day long she's been shadowing either Bear or myself, asking hopefully 'Supper?'* and then spooning up pretend food to us. This has been simultaneously cute and irritating - it's very hard to do (well, anything) laundry or dishes or type on the computer while stopping to mmmmm and yummy every few minutes.

At snack time this afternoon I grabbed her bowl and pretended to dish some up for her. Tinking the spoon against the bowl, I asked "Would you like some supper, Rosey?"
all set to have her open up like a baby bird.

She shook her head and opened her hand, showing me what she had been carrying in her pocket.
"No, Mama. Norange. Rosey eat norange."


Later on, as she and her brother did the chipmunk routine again, I thought about hiding the box of clementines. But really, I was too full from all that air to move for awhile. Better just let them play.




*And it does still sound like hopper

Friday, 15 December 2006

two things I wonder about

The statue. What are the things wrapped around his waist like huge fingers? And why is he doffing his hat? Is he really saying 'Goodnight, folks?' Is this the famed statue of the Unknown Polite Canadian?




And now I KNOW I live in Canada....


Can you tell what this is?
That's right, folks,
it's an
illuminated,
animated
HOCKEY PLAYER Christmas decoration!
How could your yard be seasonally festive without at least two?

You can keep your ho-hum deer, or your yawn snowmen,
WE HAVE HOCKEY PLAYERS.
Brandishing moving hockey sticks to terrify carolers and visiting relatives alike.

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

being a good elf

Earlier today I wrote about re-stringing Cass's tree with lights.

Because:
"There's a light on this tree that won't light on one side.
So I'm taking it home to my workshop, my dear.
I'll fix it up there. Then I'll bring it back here."*

First, the only strand I could find that wasn't missing a ton of bulbs or blown completely was for the outdoors. The wire was bright white, (although the bulbs are colorful enough) and the strand was about twenty feet long.

This did not go well on his three feet tall, shiny blue tree. (Hers is gold. It's a tradition, darn it, noone said it was in good taste. Besides, blue is his favorite color.)

Wrapping the twenty-foot strand of lights around the spindly tree wasn't going to do it. Or rather, it would fit, but I'd be teaching the kids new cuss words and there we go with the good taste thing again.

So I folded it. Twice. And with my thick (but now only five foot long!) rope of lights, I whipped the tree into submission.

With the lights off you can see the cord. The tree looks as if it's a victim of foul play. Is there tree bondage?



But when his room-lights are out, and the tree is turned on, it's a real tree, and a dandy thing to fall asleep and dream Christmas dreams to.



And tomorrow they wake up to find funny headthings in their rooms - C has red antlers that light up and sing and R has snowflakes on springs. If I'm awake enough tomorrow I'll take pictures!

*Have you been Seuss-ified this holiday?

catching everyone up

Rosemary is better today - a little logy this morning, but I haven't heard a word from the babysitter, so I think she'll be fine.
B is still embarrassed. I'm still snickering at him.

***
Neither child woke up when I put the trees in their rooms. Rosey stirred once, leaving me breathless and fumbling for the door, but then she turned over and went back to dreaming. I will snitch C's back out tonight and restring the lights, (so he can wake up to twinkles) and then tomorrow morning begins the 'twelve days of elf-giving' - the kids get funny little presents that will show up under their trees in the morning each day.

Yes, I'm good at tip-toe.

***

Cass LOVED the museum - they have a huge Christmas tree loaded with old-fashioned ornaments, and they made....magical reindeer food? Reindeer dust? I'm not sure what the name of it is, (I think it's oatmeal and glitter) but Cassidy assures me that if we sprinkle it on the ground on Christmas Eve, the reindeer will come.

Why does that remind me of the washcloth story? Must be the sprinkles.

***
The snow has all melted, and we're due for rain. It seems so un-Christmassy, doesn't it? Nevertheless, I'll take it!

***
Nothing much new today - must bring my camera to work Thursday, as I just noticed the statue across the street looks like a man with a cowboy hat being grabbed from behind by some huge unknown thing (King Kong?) I think it's a Memorial statue of Canadian servicemen [do the Canadians have cowboys?] but will research and let you know.

Monday, 11 December 2006

the cadbury bunny has competition

Rosey threw up yesterday.

As soon as we got home from my father-in-law's, R turned pale and urped over Bear's coat, tossing up several times afterwards. She spent the rest of the night drinking Gatorade, keeping down a few tablespoons of applesauce and being petted like the princess she is. She went off to sleep after a (gulp) suppository of Gravol and some Kids Tylenol, and seemed cheery when she woke up.

We were a little concerned, because there's a flu-like thing going around, but she ate and drank like a champ this morning. She even managed to con my FIL out of some (contraband) candy he keeps in his pocket at lunch.

Which is why I was surprised to hear B shout for me a little later.

'She's got the diarrhea! She's in a mess! Oh, God...it's all up her back!'

I zoomed upstairs, where B was hopping up and down like a little girl agitated and making chokey noises.
(My husband, the ham. Sometimes I just call him Pork Butt.)

Right. I grabbed up the nonplussed R, swept her into the bathroom, carefully peeled her shirt over her head, yanked down her pants, and stopped. I took a peek.

'B, she doesn't have diarrhea. There's no poop in there.'

B took a look. 'But it was all up her back! It's all over her shirt....'

I grabbed Rosey's t-shirt and inspected. Sure enough, there was a dark patch above her waistband. A dark patch....with small bright-blue bits imbedded in. What the hell?

I looked up at B.

'It's chocolate.'

Sunday, 10 December 2006

somebody else's christmas tree

Cass was worried the other night that Santa would miss Papa's house because Papa doesn't have Christmas lights up - and that would be a tragedy!

So today we went down to my father-in-law's, and put up his Christmas tree.

Cass, after all his fretting, was more interested in playing with other things than helping, so B and I put up the tree and began to unpack the ornaments.

I love the history that goes along with them, how a box full of old glass ornaments must be hung high in the tree, because those were from the first few Christmases that the newlyweds had all those years ago, and the cheeriness of the ceramic ornaments hand-painted by Bear's sister.

Rosey fell in love with a small statue of Mrs. Claus (I think painted by the same SIL?) and talked to it and patted it for awhile - it's about the same size as one of her dolls and if we had let her, she would have lugged it around happily.

There are always ornaments missing from year to year, and these are always in another box, one that noone brought downstairs. But the ones left are wonderful.

Last year was the first year the old angel that had been their mothers' was deemed too old and broken to be put up - now there is a star. Sweet, but without tradition, and I think everyone missed the old topper. This year B and I nixed the star (it was too tall and hitting the ceiling!) and instead strapped an ornament (another star) made out of jingle bells to the top, where it glitters in the lights.

A few pieces of silver garland, and we were done. We cleaned up the boxes and stepped back.


'She's a beautiful tree', said my father in law.

Saturday, 9 December 2006

whee!

I must be impressing them at my one day a week job.

Because

drum roll

they called and offered me a one day a week position
until September!

It sounds ridiculous, getting excited about this, but I love it, I do it well, the pay is good, and they are hopeful that this will lead to more time and more days.

I feel like C - for the cat, who has got all the cream.

(alphabet books tonight)

Tonight is the night I have to sneak the decorated trees into the kids rooms.
Cass should not be a problem, but Miss Thang can hear the cats breathing, so this will be interesting.



...and it's raining. All the lovely snow (the first snow is probably the ONLY time you will ever hear me refer to snow as lovely) is just about gone. Christmas lights are just not as impressive without snow.

How is your weekend?

Friday, 8 December 2006

where are they hiding the dinosaurs?

Cass goes to the local museum today for a school trip.

And of course, this morning Curious Georges' adventure involved George going to a museum. I'm not sure where George lives, but his museum? Is much bigger than the one here. George's museum has huge things, like dinosaur bones and fossilized tracks.

The museum here locally has antique toys, displays of things from the Mi'kMaq, and bits and pieces of local flora, fauna, and history - I find it fascinating, but I worry that a five year old may...well, not.

And that would be a shame.

I tried to prepare him this morning, talking about the different things he would see, how they will have a giganticus Christmas tree there, how they'll do a craft and sing some songs, but he was fixated. (My son is very clear-headed. He likes to cut through to the bare bones of a situation. Groan. Sorry, couldn't resist.)

I know they'll take good care of him over there and that he'll have a terrific time, but I'm toying with the idea of calling to see if they have any skeletons (raccoon? bear? deer?) that they could flash in front of him.

Just to flesh out the presentation. (Okay, okay, I'll stop.)

Tuesday, 5 December 2006

gingerbread trees**








**better get a brandy, Joke

yummy with ketchup

We have two cats. The gigantic one, Chumba, is a fine yellow-coated lazy fellow. He mostly lays on the bed and purrs.
Kate, the small and stripy girl, is busier - she likes to get on everyones laps and inspect things, and she plays with the kids.
But they're both very nice cats.

Except when the kitty bowls are empty.

I woke this morning to a 'rowr!' and a baleful glare from Chumba, who was perched on my chest like the ghost from Dickens. He was not happy. There were only crumbs in the bowl.

Luckily, there was a spare can of soft food in the cupboard, (although I knew that would not appease them for long) so I escaped unscathed.

However, Bear slept in this morning. He just 'phoned - apparently the cats have both been pawing at him while he was in bed and conversing in hushed cat undertones. He has the distinct impression they're deciding which part of him would be tenderest.

He called to see if we needed anything else, as he's headed for the store.
His Momma raised no fools.

Monday, 4 December 2006

living in pompeii

It snowed.

BIG fat flakes that appeared out of nowhere, floating down out of the grey skies, looking all the world like left-over ash. Traffic stopped, and people came out of the shops to marvel at the whiteness and to laugh and shiver a bit at the sudden onset of winter.

Now everything is white and cloudy and cold. The snowplows are out, spraying salt on the slush, and even the funny little machine that clears the sidewalks has zipped around town twice now.

I think I'll make soup tonight. Split pea or pasta e fagioli, something hot and rich and comforting that I can drink out of my favorite cup, clinking my spoon against it while the snow comes down and the christmas lights glisten.

Sunday, 3 December 2006

holiday readiness

Cass put all his toys out on the sunporch and cleared away everything to make room for the tree.

He was fairly levitating when I brought the big box down the stairs. After we snipped open the tape, he yanked open the panels and froze.

"Mommy? That's not a tree."

Why no, son, you're right. It was originally plastic pellets, (or some other material never found in nature) forced and extruded into shape at some huge factory, cobbled together by the quick fingers of (probably underpaid) workers, strung with lights by other hands. And now it's a tangled flattened lump from twelve months of sitting in an attic. But look! If we attach this long part with this part, and find the tree stand, and where the hell is the plug?, and beat and bend these branches into submission....why.....voila!


"Oh" he said softly, amazed by its beauty as it lit up, "oh".

i, er, did it



What is that, the Merry Sunshine Elf?

This absolutely begs for some sort of smartass 'thirty days in a row? Aren't I sore?' comment, but I'll refrain......

Saturday, 2 December 2006

and I think I'm going out of my head....

November's over and it's the weekend and WHERE ARE ALL THE POSTS?

NaBloPoMo - wow. An experience. But now I think I'm going through withdrawal.

Before, I could click on Bloglines (a useful tool, I recommend it) and there would be 20 or 30 freshly minted posts there for my perusal....now there are 4.
FOUR.

Only in weight loss could it be considered a good thing to go from a 20 to a 4.

Pens up, people! I miss you!

night sounds

The wind is rustling around the house tonight.

The autumn we were first married, the wind used to wake me up at night. Not because it was so strong, but because it sounded different - we have mainly spruce and cherry here close to the house (besides the giant oak I keep taking pictures of - look! It's the daysgoby mascot!) and the wind creaks softly through their branches and sounds not at all like the pine and willow (and the birds and owls) that were near my window where I used to live.

The place I lived before that had a night freight express that would send a lonely call...it was so hard to get used to it, and even seven (eight?) years later, I still miss it. That and the occasional yip of a stray dog or scream from territorial stray cats would be the only noises against the never-ending swoosh of cars on the highway nearby.

When the windows are open in the summer here we can hear deer snort and blow to each other, spreading the word, giving the all-clear (Which can really make you jump) ...and we see and hear skunks, beaver, and the occasional porcupine crashing through the trees. Every once in awhile we'll hear the far-off call of a coyote, and there's a family of foxes that live up the road in the cemetery.

It's kind of like living in Wild Kingdom, minus the investment banker commercials and the voice-overs by the host.*



*I'm not the only one who remembers that show, am I?

Thursday, 30 November 2006

cotton monster

I can pick out my own clothes. (pretty well, actually. Or so I assume. Not too many people laugh and point, so I figure I'm doing okay.)

Dressing the kids is relatively easy- they both pick out their own outfits, and R is at the stage where I can't even try to assist her, or there will be much tears and wailing...

But.... the socks. The socks are killing me.

Downstairs near the dryer sits a ten gallon wastebasket, filled with socks. Not a pair among them. There are striped socks and solid socks, in glorious disarray. A sock with fuzzy dogs. A tall grey one with soccer balls up the calf, little pink socks (four, none making a pair) and winnie-the-pooh toe socks, one green, one red-striped.

Where are all the matches to these socks?

My house is not always tidy, but it's ludicrious to think that somewhere there's another pile of socks, waiting to be found. I could accept the washing machine eating a couple, but that many? Without breaking?

They're not in the kids' rooms - I've looked. What's left - under the dryer? Is there a place socks go to die?

Someday, I'm going to throw away the entire bucket of socks - devil-may-care, and start fresh.

Except, of course, if I do that, all the missing socks will decide it's time to end their wandering ways and come home...



NaBloPoMo note: Thirty days hath November - and now, November's over. It was...interesting.

Wednesday, 29 November 2006

merry little meme

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Hot Chocolate with peppermint schnapps. Or Egg Nog with a leetle Kahlua.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Santa is MUCH more coordinated than I am. (Me, gift bag queen.)
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? The tree, she is white. House lights are my husband's fault.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? Not so far.
5. When do you put up your decorations? First week in December - small boys will wait no longer!!
6. What is your favorite Holiday (Christmas or Thanksgiving) meal include? Turkey, sweet potatoes, oyster casserole, corn bread stuffing, pecan pie.
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? Going sledding on my new sled (I was sixish)- the whole world was brand new snow and it felt like I was the only one on the hill...wheeee!
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Yes, Virginia, Santa doesn't floss. There. I said it. My mother finally broke down and told me last year. Besides that - lalalalala I can't heeeer you!
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? When I was growing up, we each could pick one gift to open. My kids get teeny gifts (like matchbox cars and trial size shampoo - that small) left in their rooms when they wake up the ten days before Christmas - those are gifts from the elves.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
Mish mash - many many many ornaments from my childhood and now my kids things. Would love to have a 'decorator' tree (maybe pick a color? One color?) but then I see the china angel bell from '84 and the calico cat ornament that was my first and how could I not put those things up?
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? So pretty to look at - so horrible to be out in!
12. Can you ice skate? HELL NO. See #11.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift?Easy Peasy. Christmas Day 1999. My engagement ring.
14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you?Laughing and talking with my family and passing on traditions.
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Panettone bread - its an italian sweet bread with little pieces of candied fruit and walnuts in it. I'm drooling a little now.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Driving around Christmas Eve to look at the lights, then singing in church with the candles flickering - and watching the family the next morning, everyone giggling and happy.
17. What tops your tree? We have an angel but she's seen better days - I think we may get a star this year.
18. What is your favorite Christmas song? Silver Bells or I'll Be Home For Christmas (although it makes me cry!)

Steal it, use it, whoever wants it.

goreyness

What horrible Edward Gorey Death will you die?




You will be smothered under a rug. You're a little anti-social, and may want to start gaining new social skills by making prank phone calls.
Take this quiz!

stolen from Paper Napkin - Sheryl finds all the cool stuff!

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

she's a part-time career girl

Things to buy for work:

Sweaters
Wooly socks
Trousers

It's freaking cold there! (Damn the skirts!) The office is in a refurbished old building - it's really lovely, wide planked scrubbed wood floors, lots of windows that show off all the old buildings around and views of the harbor. The company that owns it likes both strong Scandinavian influences and Feng Shui (you know what I mean? Clean, open lines with purpose?) and unfortunately, that will be lovely in the summer but holy cow the building doesn't heat up until noon.

My first day was fine - thanks for all the good wishes!

The next month is going to be BUSY - this job will be two or three days a week, my old job has asked me to come back one day a week, (short term - for a month*) and somewhere I need to squeeze the manse in there too. This could quickly de-evolve into a case of 'I''m here, it must be Monday!'

Not that I'm not up to the challenge. Actually, today? Picking the kids up, after not having them all day plus talking to adults? Made me happier to see them and more relaxed about sitting on the floor playing when we should have been eating supper, etc. **

I think I make an awesome part-time Mom, and I don't think I do the stay-at-home all the time gig very well at all.

Hats off to those of you who do.

After almost two years of trying, I can say now without guilt that my kids do better with a loving caring babysitter a few days a week then we all do together forever.

Anyhoo! First day was great! Tomorrow, my old job! New stresses, friendly faces!


And how was YOUR day today??



*And CW? Hi, girl! I WILL be grilling you on the status of the DOH and the request to hire me. Because the great big world of working? SUCKS when you have a job that you love and do well and can't get a permanent job with. Just sayin'.

**Cass said tonight at supper TWICE "You're not tired, Mommy!' and when I told him I was tired, actually, he said ' But you aren't telling me to be quiet!' Poor kid. What have I been doing?
I told him I was just happy to see him, which made him smile and got me a pizza smeary kiss.

Monday, 27 November 2006

my comfort zone is shrinking

I've gotten used to being casual. Jeans, a t-shirt - little or no makeup, cute socks. Periodically I do a spruce job, but for the most part I'm pretty.....sloppy.*
So tonight it was with horror I faced my closet and began trying to find an...(sharp intake of breath) outfit.

You see, I start a part-time job tomorrow.
And I have to look good, as I'll be meeting the public and so on.

I already know the kids and I will be leaving early tomorrow, as I haven't a pair of intact pantyhose in the house - thank goodness the grocery opens early - and now I'm flailing around, wondering where in the heck my slip went.

This weekend? I'm buying some nice khaki workpants. This skirt thing is for the birds.


*Yes, S, I did toss the jogging pants. Promise!

Sunday, 26 November 2006

happiness is

My God.

My son? Is reading.

Sounding things out, of course, and hesitantly, but he's in his room, knocking out Hop On Pop* (and a giant thank you to my sister-in-law, who hunted around the attic and brought out Seuss treasures from her own childhood - C gets a huge kick out of reading 'Auntie K's books' ) and giggling over the illustrations.

Reading. Holy shit.

I am SO PROUD.



*Huh. Ah. Puh! Huhahpuh! Huahpup! Ha-op! HOP!

Saturday, 25 November 2006

some days, other people say it best

Sometimes being married is more work than not. When we're both running on no sleep and the kids are long and loud and (holy hell, are there really only two of them??) just insane it's easy to start to lose faith in each others' ability to parent.

Stuntmother from I Do All My Own Stunts wrote:

I also get so mired in my own self-righteous exhaustion that I forget that simply choosing the kinder thing to say matters a lot. Or not saying anything if I can only think of ratty, carping stuff. And it's not efficient to demand kindness from another in angry words.*

And I need to tattoo that on my wrist.


*complete post here. Go read it. She says it well.

cyborg name decoder


Digital Artificial Youth Skilled in Galactic Observation and Basic Yelling


Get Your Cyborg Name

Friday, 24 November 2006

daddyhopper

Sometimes the girl gets herself in a rut.

She'll seize upon a phrase, and 'peat and repeat until the sounds don't mean much anymore; they're background noise and I think she just likes the feel of them in her mouth.

Today, she and I dropped C off at school, ran a few errands, then got coffee (me) and a cookie (her) and headed for home.

She helped me tidy up a bit and then she sat down with her baby doll and Ellie Phunt.

'Daddyhopper.'
'Daddyhopper.'


O-kay. I kept unloading the dishwasher. Some days I can translate, some days not.

She kept sing-songing it while I finished the dishes, chopped veg for dinner and bustled laundry around.

When we picked C back up she greeted him with a big 'Tass! Daddyhopper!'
and kept repeating it while he told her about his day (Shapes! And paint! And yellow and blue makes green!) By the time we were out of the grocery store I was so tired of hearing about the daddyhopper I resorted to string cheese* just for some blessed quiet.

Bear came home, I got the plates out of the cupboard, poured milk, etc. Rosey came running into the kitchen, a huge grin plastered on her face. Her arms windmilling, she pointed to Bear, the counter and the table.

'See! Daddyhopper!'

Bear worked it out first. We all sat down to hopper...er, supper soon after that.


*My kids? The candy they can take or leave - but the cheese? You want to be careful, and mind your fingers.

Thursday, 23 November 2006

popular for all the wrong reasons

And, according to Google? I'm now the number one and two results for kandoo song.
Welcome, potty-training people! Feel my pain.

turkey lurkey

Last night, I laid in bed with Bear and had a long, in-depth conversation about our days and who we saw and what we learned and what we're anxious about - and it was nice. We don't do that enough.

He's rather busy, that husband of mine, between his job, and his casual job and his schooling and being a father - so much that some days we talk only about surface things - a litany of 'Greats!' and 'Okay, I can do that' and 'How much gas is in the car?', and that's fine and okay and works in the short-term.

But some nights (after the kiddles have shuffled off to bed) we talk.

And it's good. I remember all over again what a neat guy he is, and he's surprised how interesting I am. (And vice-versa.)

Here's to more of that.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

Wednesday, 22 November 2006

five books meme

1. Take five books off your bookshelf.
2. Book #1 -- first sentence
3. Book #2 -- last sentence on page fifty
4. Book #3 -- second sentence on page one hundred
5. Book #4 -- next to the last sentence on page one hundred fifty
6. Book #5 -- final sentence of the book



1. Ooof, these are heavy. (How has my night-table not caved in?)

2. Book #1 - It's not ordinary for a bare-chested man wearing jaguar teeth and owl feathers to grace the pages of The New Yorker, but these are not ordinary times. - Biomimicry, Janine Benyus

3. Book #2 - 'You'd better get it out of the way before the children see it.' - Going Solo, Roald Dahl

4. Book #3 - 'I am angry nearly every day of my life, Jo; but I have learned not to show it; and I still hope to learn not to feel it, though it may take me another forty years to do so.' - Little Women, L.M. Alcott

5. Book #4 - The next day he came out wearing a long rubber glove and a bowler hat. - Mama Makes Up Her Mind, Bailey White

6. Book #5 - You would have sworn that round the snowy cliffs you could hear crashing chords of Beethoven echoing in the wind. - Slay-Ride, Dick Francis

I know this has already been around once, but I didn't do it then! I tag all y'all who want to play.

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

too much PBS

I took the kids shopping today.

I needed an interview blouse, and we were out of the basics: milk, cheese, bread, clementines, those little horrendously expensive yogurts for kids...

And, amazingly, the kids both did really well. Cass is at the stage where he wants to help with everything - which usually means he's running full-tilt into someone and I'm apologising (and by the by, HOW do you get your child to pay attention where he's going? I realize he's a short person and I don't expect him to notice everything, but checking to see whether a cart is about to take him off his feet is...expected.)

So after he ran into two people at the department (you didn't really think I bought a blouse at the grocery, did you??) store, I banished him to the cart and he and R had a grand time singing theme songs and quacking, of all things. Then I went the wrong way in the store and ended up near toys. My only hope was to move quickly.

Nearly mowing down two small boys myself (maybe it's an age thing with the oblivious behavior?) I was almost out past the Barbies and the glitter-dolls when Rosey started hooting. She was staring, not at the Baby Wets dolls, not at the creepy giant makeup and hairstyle Barbie head, but at a poster.

'Boofoo!' warbled my daughter. 'Boo-foo!'



It was a poster of a lemur. I was bewildered.

Cass, of course, took it all in stride. He nodded. 'Yup, Zoboomafoo!'
Rosey grew even more excited by this. She half-stood up in her seat and said (loudly, echoingly, powerfully) 'Cwap! Cwap!' Then, questioningly, 'Cwap?'

Cass looked around. I was busy hiding my face in digging a breath mint out of my bag. 'I don't see the Crap brothers, Rosey. Maybe they're off giving Zaboo his lunch.'

Rosey looked down-hearted. 'Ohhh,' she said, sadly. 'Cwap.'


(They are, of course, the Kratt brothers. But darned if I'm going to correct my two!)

Monday, 20 November 2006

teleportation



Don't you wish you could just walk into this picture?
Go down the little hill into the sunshine and suss about in the crackly leaves until you got to the river, then float stick boats on it until dusk?

It looks like a friendly place to do things like that.


(Sorry it's a little blurry - the car was moving when I took this shot.)

Sunday, 19 November 2006

bunny garden remodel



Wish us luck. She's thrilled - setting her bunnies just so, picking out a pillowcase for her big-girl pillow, busily arranging her huppah*.

25 months, 4 days. (sniff)


Sweet dreams, big girl.

*I know it's a canopy. Huppah is more fun to say.

the metaphor of the yellow hat

Hans and Margret were just in their thirties when they fled Paris to avoid the Nazis. They barely had time to pack anything before they had to leave on bicycles and make their way to Spain, where they caught a train to Portugal, and then on to Brazil and New York City. One of the few possessions they carried with them their entire journey was a manuscript they had both collaborated on - a children's story about a small monkey who was always in trouble. They worked on that story during their escape - late at night, when neither could sleep, they would settle themselves by imagining new adventures for their creation, and Hans would draw the scenes on any scraps of paper he could find.

In 1941 the young couple had their book published, and the world first read about....

Curious George.






The kids have been watching the PBS show and we're re-reading some of the original stories.

Imagine running for your life, trying to keep the person you love calm by making up a story about a monkey.

Makes me hug my kids tighter.

Saturday, 18 November 2006

things we do here

stolen from that mountain chick

THINGS WE DO HERE
* library cards for everyone!
* popcorn and movie nights on Friday
* bubble baths
* tickle fights
* daily chores
* reading and rocking
* goodbye kisses
* prayers
* kitty zen
* photography
* Arthur and Curious George
* get grubby outside
* cooking lessons
* naps
* bear hugs

Friday, 17 November 2006

pine grove


We went back to the park - it looks very different this time of year.

Cass decided the benches were good for standing on (at one point he had Rosey 'surfing' on one with him)but I think he was a little overwhelmed at how still everything was, now that the leaves are gone. This did not seem like the park he remembered.



The whole park is littered with giant boulders - some with plants and trees growing out of them. The pines damp down the sounds, and it feels like you're miles from everywhere, not within an easy walk to the highway and the town.



Even in the fall, though, the park has secrets - we found a vivid patch of holly growing off a side trail, a gaggle of ducks pestering for bread, and watched a raccoon slink down to the river.


I can't wait to see it in winter.

self portrait, South Park style


Pretty accurate, actually, although I'm not quite that short.
But the pointy hair and the quizzical expression? All me.

Thanks to Her Bad Mother for the fun.
Wanna make one? Go here.

Thursday, 16 November 2006

living in 1766

The first job I had here was a summer job at the Perkins House, guiding tourists through a home-turned-museum, dressed in period costume. The first two weeks were chaotic - getting the facts down and working them into a spiel- Simeon Perkins had a long and illustrious career, and a busy life - remembering what happened when (especially with nine children thrown into the mix) was tricky, at best.

(Nice, isn't it? It was built in 1766.)

The house was darker than you'd imagine, and filled with treasures that made that time in history come alive. I used to love dusting it - picking up small objects, wondering whose hands had held it before, peeking in the many drawers of the desk. The period dress (nothing so fine as you might think, we were dressed in homespun dresses, with aprons and mob caps) was itchy, usually hot, and always easy to trip over. But the tourists were interesting and it was a fun, engaging job.


The nicest part, though, was when there was a lull. We would go outside and sit on the benches under the huge old trees, laughing or doing handiwork or just smelling the good sea air and the old-fashioned roses, looking all the world like time had stood still, and we would soon be called in to begin supper.



It was a nice summer.

Wednesday, 15 November 2006

no diaper

Sunday morning Small Determined Girl decided she didn't want any more of those nasty Pull-Ups, and brought me some of her panties.

Taking this as a divine sign from God (the stray sunbeam framing her hand holding her new tiny whities didn't hurt, either - really, all we needed was a chorus singing in the background) I said something about being a Big Girl now* and she was all nods and smiles and 'I pee in potty. Okay?'

Absofrickinglutely okay! I grinned and snapped the tags off. "Sure, honey."

So yesterday, she remembered twice, (with five long, book-reciting false alarms) and forgot four times, including one where she went into the bathroom and pee'd on the floor in front of the toilet. Diapers, of course, (which she hated with a passion usually reserved for cough syrup and apple skin) for nap and bed, but I thought we were making progress. I barely managed to contain myself and not break out the champagne.**

Monday she didn't want anything to do with the potty, the panties, the big girl!, nothing. She brought me a Pull-Up. Her expression dared me to comment.

But, today! Sunshiney, glorious today? She woke me with a demand for big-girl underwear.
'No diaper, Mama. Wosey no diapah.'

I'm still smiling, and I don't care about the puddles I'm wiping up. She's trying.***

And that's pretty neat.






*and no, we weren't singing the Kandoo song.
**I'm on five straight years of diapers and counting. Which doesn't qualify me for a World Record or anything but feels like a fricking loooong ass time, anyway.
***And Cass didn't develop like this (it's like she woke up one morning and decided Must! Be! a Big Kid! all at once) but the fact that she's transitioning from a crib now pretty much dooms her to fail on this, doesn't it? Too many milestones at once?

Tuesday, 14 November 2006

games big kids play

A friend of mine just had a birthday party for her two year old and she was bemoaning the tons of 'Thomas the Evil Train' stuff he was sure to get. Her little boy loves anything Thomas, and she's tired of stepping on the toys, tired of putting them away, and most especially tired of hearing the theme song and the little blowing whistles.
I sympathised but neither of my kids have ever really had a tv or toy obsession (yes, I realize I'm most likely heading into Barbie territory, but that's at least a few years away, right?) so I wasn't really connected.

But that's all changed.

You see, around here they do a wonderful job of not overloading the kids with candy on Halloween. Cass and Rosey both had great things in their bags like little Halloween snowglobes, whistles, chips, juice boxes, fruit snacks, stickers, dinky cars, stuff like that. Obviously there was some candy, but not the slew of chocolate I was expecting. Which was definately okay. (But no flavored tootsie rolls! I may have to do an internet search....)

Cass is almost to the end of his stuff. He very methodically picks out two things he eats every day. He's been so good at spinning this out that we've let him handle it, and so I was unprepared when he thrust two small packages in my lap.

Pokemon cards. I stifled a shriek. Isn't he too young for those?

"What are those?"

"It's a (think Jessica, think) evil, evil thing. Aaaah! game big kids play."

Well, that didn't slow him down. He was already flipping through them, eagerly looking at the pictures.

"Can you play it with me? Look how cool! This one looks like a big fat worm with a chicken head."

"No, sorry, honey. Mommy has no idea how to play." (Said truthfully, but not...really...sorrowfully.)

So he was happy looking at all the cards. In fact he carried them around for a few days, sorting, mixing, talking about the different beasties. I watched with a jaundiced eye and figured I was going to have to actually read a book? watch a show? Get the local eight year old to teach me? learn the game.
I was steeling myself to ask the librarian if there were any Pokemon tutoring classes for adults when.....he stopped carrying them around.

Then Rosey had three of them that she was busy coloring on. And B started using one as a bookmark.

So I breathed easier. Perhaps, just perhaps, our house had scooted under the Pokemon radar. Just a couple more years without anime taking over everything from the games he plays to the clothes he wears, please?

And then yesterday? He brought out two more packs and laid them in my lap. They were in Rosey's bag.

And the obsession begins again.

(whimper)

Monday, 13 November 2006

pssst

Wanna hear a secret?

I'm not enjoying this NaBloPoMo thing as much as I thought I would. There, I said it.

It's a wonderful exercise, to write something every day, but the point of it is not only to write, but to write something worth reading. And reading back through my November posts, I can see the tone of my voice is a bit shrill and squashed in places. Not so attractive.

I suppose I could just be getting used to the discipline of it, of the writing every day, of trying to present my life in tidy heaps of words, but the contrast of some of my NaBloPo stuff to a well-thought out, few-days-mulled-over post is striking. Where is the humor?

What will I do?

Well, I signed up, and I mean to complete the month. I think I will take a page from Lala and begin paper journaling, sorting out the good, the bad, the disgustingly cutesy, the boring (seriously, two days of narrating that health conference? Someone needs to tell me when I'm boring and pedantic!) and re-writing posts until my inner voice can giggle and agree that what I commit to this blog....well, that it's me.

Because that is the point - to be me. A month of me, not this hurried person.

And I'm kind of looking forward to December.

________


On another point, Miss R has gotten out of bed and wandered downstairs to cuddle with me and read a book three times. The crib is no barrier now.

After three times of leading her upstairs and putting her to bed, I just sat down on the stairs and waited. First, a thump! then the sound of feet pittering across the floor. The door creaked open slowly.
"Back to bed, Rosemary" I said, trying to sound stern.
'Aaaah!' she squeaked in surprise, slammed the door, and pitter-thumped her way back in the crib.

We'll see if I end up having a visitor tonight in my bed, shall we? Crazy girl.

Sunday, 12 November 2006

wosey up

Today there was some thumping and bumping and Rosey appeared out in the hall, looking gleeful and clutching her blankie.

'Wosey up! Hi Mama!'

It was a minute before this struck me as odd. I was busy grinning at my happy little girl and wondering how on earth I managed to get a child (actually, miracles of miracles, I have two!) who is happy to see the morning, everyday. (So not like me. So not like me.)

Then it struck me. Didn't I leave her in her crib?

So what was she doing out....here.....

It appears that soon we need to switch Miss Rosey's House of Bunnies to a bed. An honest to goodness bed. Her crib converts, so it won't be huge and scary for her, just different.

She'll probably be thrilled - one more step into Big Girl Land. And (bonus for her!) she can creep into Cass's bed if she wants.

And I will never be sleeping late again, will I?

Saturday, 11 November 2006

the cycle ends here

So Daddy is going in the woods to shoot something? With a gun?

Yes. Maybe.

But...Bambi. Bambi's Mom. Why would he do that?

There weren't always supermarkets. That used to be how people would get food. The Daddies and Mommies would have to go into the woods and find it. Sometimes people didn't have money to buy things, and they could trade parts of the meat for things like flour or sugar.

(thinks for a bit)
So are we poor?

No. Why?

We usually go to Tobey's.*

Yes we do.

Will Daddy bring home the deer? Do I have to eat it?

No. He may bring home some part of the meat, but it will be small, and daddy will eat it. You can try some if you want to. (I can see he's thinking an entire dead deer carcass is going to be there the next time he opens the fridge)

Why is Daddy doing this?

Because he grew up doing this with his father.

Do I have to go kill deers when I get big?

Shit no.




*a mispronunciation of Sobey's, a chain store around here.

Friday, 10 November 2006

hooligans



And this is what happens when I don't make my bed. Notice how nonchalant Chumba is (he of the incredible girth and soft yellow fur) "Who, me? Pull the bottom sheet off? Wreck the bed? Really."

And Kate is sleeping on my pillow.
(Probably exhausted from playing hide and seek under the quilt with Fluffo.)

Bad cats, both of them. Bad cats.

We'll see how smug they are when I let loose the small girl who loves to fold kitties up and carry them around.....

nummy nummy apple crumble

for velcro, and bb, assuming she wants yet another apple recipe....

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix together:
3/4 cup tightly packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Peel and slice:
4 cups apples (I use 6 to 8 apples, what's up with this 4 cups sliced stuff?)

Toss:
2 cups freshly made breadcrumbs (bread in the blender, woo-hoo!)
with 3 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

Butter a 11/2 quart casserole.
Arrange alternate layers of apples, breadcrumbs, and sugar mixture.

Combine:
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Pour over top.

Cover dish and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, until apples are tender.

Serve hot. We like it with ice cream.

recipe from the Purity Cookbook, 1967

Thursday, 9 November 2006

shivering on the promenade deck

An incredibly blustery day today - wind and driving rain. I got soaked at the gas pumps, flung the kids at the babysitter and rushed into the conference right on time, leaving a drippy trail behind me.

Like most second days of meetings, this one was longer, and a bit more tedious. We were in the draughty conference room - the one with the bank of windows that looked out over the ocean like a cruise ship. After an incredibly good lunch (note to White Point Resort: Thanks for the Greek buffet. Nummy. But maybe not such a good idea to feed people huge chunks of red onion in their greek salads when after lunch we all have to do projects together?) the last few sessions seemed a bit surreal - one lady brought a huge prop,which leaned up against a chair for most of the afternoon.
I thought it was some sort of deranged moose, but it turned out to be a tree.* (I did get pictures and will put them in later, but my cameras at home and I won't be till after midnight. So you'll have to imagine.)

Moose-like, no?

I also got some shots of the beach and big waves. Pretty. (Imagine again)








Bottom line: It was a neat thing, the conference. I understand a lot more about Population Health than I did before, and we all came away with new ideas. I didn't end up looking like an idiot (always a plus!) and I now feel more able to help the Health Board.

Rosey threw a tantrum tonight, one of those shake-the-walls kind that reverberate in the air long after they're over. I think the twos are going to be fun with her. She's busy trying to be independent and learn everything, and it exhausts her to have to explain to us over and over again, don't we get it? that she wants to do things herself.

But one thing's for sure - our days? Will nevah be boring with her around.


Mao Tse-Tsung Toddler, exhausted from bossing the rest of us around.
Why won't we learn that her way is the best way?




*Actually, it was a good visual aid. All the little leaves on it represent parts of her programs (she works for Public Health). I was just logy after lunch.

Wednesday, 8 November 2006

my ears are in the gutter

The first day of the conference was today - lots of facts, and lots of new faces and organizations to learn. It was pretty fun - a really nice, dynamic group.

The main session was held in a long, echoing conference room that fronted on the sea. The lead speaker was droning on (and I'd like to introduce blah blah blah....) and we were all paying half-attention (digesting lunch!) while looking out at the grey and angry ocean. The sound system was pretty clear, except for the odd echo or two, most that seemed to happen when the speaker was talking about herself. We learned she was an sexual addictions counselorr-r-r-r-r-r-r and she lived in.... and I lost track of it and looked out the window again.

Then the woman sitting next to me poked me. Her face was scrunched up and her eyes were merry. "Listen!"

"Now", the speaker said, "we're all going to divide up into teams and I'd like yoot (yoot, yoot, yoot) to discuss the scenarios. I want yoot (yoot, yoot, yoot) to really pick out the best terms, things that jump out at yoot. Yoot should all be able to find some things to discuss. Yoot will have fifteen minutes for this exercise."

Now I'm quite sure the woman wasn't talking about her girl parts. But we snorted and winked at each other and thought it was funny. Because after all morning learning terms and processes and success rates and failures, a giggle was a nice thing to have. Don't yoot know?

Tuesday, 7 November 2006

feeling a bit fraudulent

Tomorrow and Thursday I'm slated to go to a Population Health conference. The group I belong to was asking for volunteers, so it's not as if I was blind-sided into going, but I've only belonged to this board for a few months and there is a LOT I need to understand. Not only do I not really know the area, I also lack a fundamental grasp of the basics - not only who does what, but which office does what, and whom reports to whom. I missed out on a lot, not growing up here, in this country and political system, and some of the questions I have are so ridiculously simple that it's difficult for people to break down things to answer.

And I'm wondering if this (which feels like being tossed in the deep end) is the best way to learn.

Tomorrow I will take my big book-bag, a thick pad (or two!) and prepare to be amazed.

Aw hell, even if it's an entire bomb and I don't understand a word, the conference is taking place at a lovely resort here - killer views and even better food. So - if I am to be a fool, I'll be a well-fed one, who walks around staring at the amazing ocean views with a smile on her face.

beans, beans

So, imagine you made Beef and Stuff* and the smell was percolating through the house....

What dessert would you choose to go with it?
Apple crumble?
Oatmeal chocolate raisin cookies?
Lemon Delicious?


Whatever you pick, don't start thinking how you've been trying to perfect that english toffee recipe (because there are only eight weeks until Christmas!) and decide to whip off a batch.

The kitchen smelled like candied cabbage.

And later, when B got home and saw what was on the table, he was shame-faced, picking at his food and finally admitting he'd had chili for lunch.

Yes, I slept on the couch. He and the cats reveled in his umm...glory? and had a musical night.





*Well, what else would you call it??
Pot Roast, two big cloves of garlic, four smallish potatoes, one big onion, shnook of butter, a strip of bacon in the bottom, half bag of baby carrots, two big handfuls of mushrooms, toss in crockpot, simmer all day, add half head of cabbage last hour (when the crock's down low)

Monday, 6 November 2006

how do I love thee

Julia wrote a post some time back remarking on Her Bad Mothers post on baby-love. (Go, read, I'll be here.)

I loved my babies. Loved how small they were, how tiny and perfect, how they were completely their own people and still parts of me, tied up in my heart-strings, attached to me by love so strong it awed me.

It is a fierce love - one born of seeing the world become a much better place by simply having this small, new person in it, and knowing that now my never-ending purpose in life is to make their lives better.

When my parents adopted my brother my mother used to let me help with his bath. I can remember how tender she was with him, kissing his belly, sliding the washcloth down his long legs and making funny noises so he would laugh.

I asked her recently if she felt any differently with my brother than she did with me, if there was less of a instant connection as a brand-new baby or she had to work to fall in love with him, and she was bewildered by the question.
"Of course not. He was my son. Instantly. I could not imagine our family without him from the day he arrived." A fierce love.

I love giving my babies baths too. Soaping up their lengthening arms and legs, carefully wiping faces and rinsing hair. Marveling in how glorious all their parts are together and amazed that anything this beautiful could come from me.

My children are so beautiful.

I could tell you all about my sons' hands or the way my daughters' calf curves and how I could kiss the back of their necks forever. I am completely in love with these little beings.

I love how Rosey drapes herself on the chair and pushes back into me, making herself a nest so she can lengthen out and put her hand on my face as we rock. Or how Cassidy puts his hand in mine when we read the last few stories, and won't say goodnight without three kisses. How my boy is quick to leap into the games and slow to leave the playground. How his sister watches him, tilting her head like a small bird, trying to figure out what he's doing and how she can do it too. How they already have private jokes and he has opinions all his own. How they change every day, learning and growing and sometimes messing up but always willing (with a pat or a hug or a cookie) to try again.

And I am in awe - in awe! - of the curve of her cheek.

Sunday, 5 November 2006

and sometimes an idea...is just an idea

After two days and nights of listening to her pace the floor, whine whine whine whine whine and repeat, two days of her not eating a thing (dry food, wet food, milkbones, peanut butter, fat from shredded granny pants - not one morsel would pass her sorrowful doggy lips), realizing that we had taken a dog that was used to being outdoors a lot, with six other dogs to play with, and put her in a home where she would spend her nights indoors and dog-friendless, we decided (after a bit of coyote-type howling at three a.m. woke Cass and he padded in to say "Mommy? I think the dog is scared and wants her Mommy') that she would be happier at her old home.

And she was.

After Bear said goodbye (and he really liked having a dog here) and the kids gave her a last pat, I took her back. Pulling up in the driveway, the dog wormed her way out of the back into the front seat and gave a couple of joyful barks. Once I let her out, she ran around and played fetch and rolled over in joy so her tummy could be rubbed by the man that raised her. She was acting like a puppy - a big change from the timid, restless, unhappy animal I'd had at my house, all doggy grins and flopping, foolish tongue.

So we are still looking for a dog. Perhaps a puppy.
Waiting until the fit is exactly right, though, doesn't help with the emptiness here in the house tonight.

free hugs* by sick puppies



Tessa, babe, right back at you.
I'll miss your bouncy humor - and I hope this is wonderful, this new part of your life!

*Okay, the song is actually called All The Same. Whatever. It's bouncy and it makes me smile.

Saturday, 4 November 2006

in the company of madness

This morning, I woke to find my family had been replaced by a pack of trolls.

The tall one was gruff and grouchy and needed strong coffee to get going. Once this was dispatched, he went on his grumpy way, but I was forewarned - the other members of the pack would be making their appearances shortly.

The furry one clattered up and down the stairs busily with the medium-sized troll, playing some sort of 'you go next - I go first!' game I was afraid to learn the rules of, while the youngest one drummed her head and heels on the ground for what felt like hours at a time and howled.

For no apparent reason. You see the trollishness of it all?

I would take refuge with the cats in my bedroom, but the cats? Are still pissed we brought home the dog-shaped object.

I think I may go explore the attic.

Alone.

Friday, 3 November 2006

the trouble with tribbles




So far, she's whined incessantly,
tried to crawl into my lap,
and been intimidated pretty smartly by both cats.

This was a good idea, right??

a randomizer, and a way to make a difference

The amount of people participating in NaBloPoMo is huge, and getting, well, huger. A One neat way to scan some of the entries is this:

The NaBloPoMo Randomizer

A friend of mine, Lala, just moved from the city to the country, and her fourteen year old son is facing a birthday away from his friends. If you get a minute, could you send him a birthday greeting? Details are here.

More later - I hear an unhappy cat upstairs. If they could only say "Ouch! Laroo! Leggo my tail, oh fiendish small girl with sticky hands!"
I might come to their rescue faster.

Thursday, 2 November 2006

one of these things is not like the other

Can you guess?



Bear made supper tonight - when I came in out of a chill and drippy night the house smelt of meatloaf and onions and it was wonderful to come in and have supper done.

While I was dishing up for the kids he held out his hand. "What do you think of this potato?"
I looked, thinking it would be warty or sprouty or in the shape of a capitol C.... but it looked like a potato.

Except it's a rock.


He found it in the potato bag. Stone Soup, anyone?

Wednesday, 1 November 2006

avgolemono

(Greek Chicken Soup with egg and lemon)

THIS, even my basic-food loving hubby likes. And I loooove it.
It's simple and easy and absolutely wonderful when you're sick or on a cold crisp day. It perfumes the house and is lovely with nice bread. And you can make it with leftovers.

1 3 pound chicken, cooked. (I buy the ready-cooked ones at the deli.)
1 box chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
1 large garlic clove, smooshed and chopped
2 bay leaves
2 medium carrots, cleaned and chopped into soup size bits
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2/3 cup rice
2/3 cup water
2 large eggs
juice of one lemon (1/2 cup)


Heat oil in pot and add onion, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic, cooking until onions are clear. Pour in stock and bay leaves. Take chicken off the bone and chop coarsely, adding to broth and cooking over medium heat until carrots are tender. Add rice and water, cook until rice is done. (I've even used Minute Rice with this in a pinch - it's still yummy) In a bowl, beat eggs, add lemon juice. Dip about 2 cups of broth out and add to egg mixture, beating with fork constantly. (Or else you'll get Egg Foo Young.) Pour the tempered egg mixture into the pot and stir well. Season with salt and pepper at the table - you may find you don't need it at all.

It re-heats nicely.

welcome to November

We took a long drive this morning after breakfast, through the woods and around the river. It was beautiful - when the sun hits the yellow leaves, it rivals the lurid color of the highway divider line. And the sky was so blue.

Cass, being Cass, wanted to know why so many people were taking down their Halloween decorations. And then he was astonished that it was over, that all the anticipation and spookiness and (probably candy-getting) was done.

But November stretches in front of us like a twisty old country road.



He was quiet in the back seat for awhile. Then:
"So will it be Christmas soon?"

Groan.

Let me enjoy the russets and yellows, the reds and oranges, the crunchy-leaved crispness of fall.



THEN we'll talk about Christmas.


(and Blogger, Blogger, why hast thou forsaken all who like to put pictures with words? And why so long?)

Tuesday, 31 October 2006

s'posing they could snark


Rosey: Why are you laughing?

Cass: Because, sis, this is going in YOUR babybook. I look relatively normal, but you....you look like the Statue of Liberty exploded on your head. Vegas, anyone?

Rosey: But I'm little and cute. I can get away with anything!

Cass: Just remember who looks sane here.

------



We were leaving the little store in town and Cass stopped and looked at me.
"Mom? I'm a big tough pickup truck, okay? I'm not......precious.
Can you get (nice neighbor lady) to stop calling me that?"

Me: (doubtfully) "I can try...." (under my breath) Wooshy Sqooshums.
-------


His costume? Three days. Her costume? Thirty minutes.

Happy Hallow'een, everyone!

Monday, 30 October 2006

ready for hallow'een

His costume is fixed (it had a 'flat tire' at the party), her costume is put together. Bear will get off work and we'll take the two out, probably holding onto both of them for dear life, as the winds are fierce and should remain that way for a few days. (We might get HAIL tonight. HAIL, people. Not my favorite thing.)

Actually, in light of that, I might take the petals that are attached to the neck of her shirt and sew them to a scarf, since it's prit'near certain both bambinos will be wearing BIG THICK WINTER COATS.

I did tell y'all Rosey is going to be a daisy, right?

OF COURSE there will be pictures!

Friday, 27 October 2006

he wanted to be a pickup truck

HOW TO MAKE A PICKUP TRUCK COSTUME



1. Find a suitable box. This old car seat one did nicely. After many jabs and pokes at it, ask husband (he of the hairy arms) to cut it out. Husband does this, even measuring to make sure both sides match.



2.Use a discarded flap for the hood (make a small slit in 'doors', slide flap in to anchor. Tape edges down.) Paint the whole shebang blue with stippling brush left over from three second fascination with learning to tole paint, as this will be the only paint brush you can find in the house. Remember you're out of wine. Cut massive hole in bottom of box (to insert child) and thread straps through.



3. Take sheet of heavy-duty plastic (I used a heavy dry cleaning bag) and hot glue to dashboard. Stretch plastic up over side pieces, gluing as you go. Frighten both cats with your stomping and swearing as you sizzle your fingers. Cut excess plastic off, tape edges. Take extra piece of box and stretch it across top of windshield. (I taped it to it.) Again, go at it with the blue paint. Make grill out of silver paint, headlights out of white. Realize you will never in a trillion years make perfect circles for headlights. Fret. It is at that moment the mantra 'this is a child's costume' will begin running through your head.
Wonder if there's any cooking sherry hidden in the pantry.



4. Paint four heavy duty thick paper plates brown and hot glue them to sides of truck for wheels. Use end of paintbrush to make lines on grill. Realize you're almost at the end. Resolve to call Mom more, remembering all the princess crowns she made you out of glitter, jewels, and twisty pipe cleaners. Do cute stuff on car - gas cap says 'Regular Boy Fuel Only' and bumper sticker says 'HONK IF YOU LOVE CANDY'. Yay! It's midnight! (And Blogger won't let me upload photos now. I guess I'm over my limit? Sigh. )

I'll get pictures tomorrow of him wearing it.