Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Help This Knitter Please!

Yesterday I actually chased a woman down on the street to find out where she got the pattern for the scarf she was wearing. I swear, it was the coolest scarf ever. It had cording woven in and out of the sides, allowing you to scrunch it up and adjust the length as needed. And the pattern on the scarf itself was beautiful. I just had to have it.

After getting over the shock of being virtually attacked while sipping her coffee and waiting for the light to change at a crosswalk, the woman very nicely told me that the pattern was available on the Bernat website for free. I raced home to look only to discover that it was not in fact there.

I have considered laying in wait at Starbucks for hours on end everyday in hopes that she returns and I can beg a copy of the pattern off of her, and I have considered trying to recreate it myself. But then I thought I would throw it open to all of you and see if anyone has any similar patterns.

So please, for the sake of the poor woman who just wanted to enjoy a cup of coffee in her nice warm scarf, help this knitter out!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Overheard in front of the TV

M: "I think we need a bigger TV. I can't read Tivo."

Chichimama: "I can see the TV. Have you considered the eye doctor? You ARE at the age that people need bifocals."

M: "I think we need a bigger TV."

Explain this to me

Why is it that I have made five cups of tea today and I have not sipped a single one of them nice and piping hot? Two of them had to be tossed because they had steeped for too long and were bitter. Another two got sipped at lukewarm, but quickly forgotten and scattered around the house (one of them still in an undisclosed location). The last? I have it here, reheated in the microwave, but not nearly as satisfying as a cup freshly brewed. And now, it is cold. Yet again.

I think the Today Show should do a piece on Mommies who Drink Cold Tea. Because I am trying to find "a healthy way to relieve stress," but clearly the hot tea thing is not the way to go. In fact, I volunteer to be their mommy blogger. But I want to go on with Dr. Phil.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

So where is the line?

Apparently I missed the mommy moment of the week on the Today Show last Friday, as it was cold and the kids didn't feel like getting out of their pajamas and so I skipped my bi-monthly trip to the gym yet again. But, never fear! I was soon brought up to speed by several friends and many, many blogs. Apparently, the whole "mommies who drink at playdates" thing is back, and Meredith Viera equated stay at home moms to babysitters. Clearly, I didn't watch the piece as I was putting together 100 piece puzzles and being cheered by my adoring preschooler public instead of plodding along on the treadmill, so take my summary with a grain of salt (or, considered it stirred, if you prefer your martini that way). But I have to assume that having heard the same story from multiple sources, it has to be at least somewhat accurate.

I must admit, I've always been a bit hesitant to have a cocktail when it has been offered up at a playdate. And I cringe at the rumors that flasks of margaritas get passed around the stands at weekend baseball games. But I've always been known as a bit of a stick in the mud, and just because I generally choose not to imbibe on a playdate doesn't mean that I judge those who do. Hell, if I did that I wouldn't have any friends. Seriously. I just generally choose to feed my Diet Coke addiction instead, and save my glass (or two) of wine for after the kids are in bed and I can actually sit down and relax. Because no matter how many glasses of wine I have, pushing swings and chasing kids around someone else's house is never going to be relaxing.

However! There is always a however! Let's assume for a moment that drinking while playdating is bad. Fine. But then where does the line get drawn? How about after the kids are in bed? Can a mommy have a drink then? Or how about at an evening party (say, a wedding or New Year's Eve) when there are children in attendance? How about with dinner? Are moms allowed to have a glass of wine with dinner?

And where, dare I ask, are the men in this equation? I don't see any segments on the Today Show about men who have a beer while watching a football game with their kids. Or a dad who has a drink while grilling up some food at the BBQ. Why is it socially acceptable for a man to have a drink but not a woman?

What do you think? Have you had a drink since your child was born? Did you, gasp, do it while they were awake? Or did you arrange for a babysitter to come and watch the children while you had your glass of wine?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Menu Week of 1/27

Saturday - Stir-Fried Vegetable Moo Shu Wraps

Sunday - Baked Ziti (you can ooh and ahh now!)

Monday- Barley, Black Bean and Corn Burritos (these never actually got made last week due to a scheduling error...)

Tuesday - Cornmeal Crusted Tilapia

Wednesday - Random Meal out of the Freezer Day (otherwise known as "too lazy to walk out to the garage and check what is in the deep freeze right now" day)

Thursday - Enchilada Casserole

Friday - Leftovers


I never discovered what Dumb Cat was after the other night. Eventually he gave up his prowl and began whining for more food, and that was that. But as M and I were watching Sea Biscuit last night (we're only a few years behind in movies), we heard a scratching at the now sealed cat door. "Dumb Cat" we said as we rolled out eyes, and then noticed that Dumb Cat was accounted for on the chair. M headed over to the cat door mumbling "It isn't the NEIGHBOR cat, is it?"

But, indeed, it was. There the cat sat, scratching at the door asking to come in to a house that was not his. M wanted to open the door so he could pet the cat (who's the softy here, huh?) while asking if the cat was nice. "How would I know? I've been mean to it. I don't want another cat thank you very little," I replied. Then M started wondering if it had a home. "Maybe it's a stray?" "That cat is too fat to be a stray," I insisted. Eventually, I went to the door and gave it "Mommy Angry Face" and it took off.

But this morning when I woke up, it was sitting on our porch furniture. You don't REALLY think this is a stray cat, do you? I mean, it is FAT. Not quite as fat as Lazy Cat, but much fatter than I would expect from a stray....

I am NOT getting involved with this cat. I am just not.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Apparently, I am not the only one who set her sponge on fire. I feel so relieved.

A flick and a growl

Dumb Cat is currently growling and flicking his tail in a very focused manner in the middle of the family room. Clearly he is hunting something. I am just very unclear what it is that he is hunting. And it makes me a bit nervous. After the mouse incident, and then the visiting cat hubbub, can you blame me? Now Lazy Cat is in on the action, but I am unclear on whether that is because she is curious as to what Dumb Cat sees, or whether I am missing the giant rabbit in the room somehow.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sorry Ducks

In a fit of desperation today, the kids and I headed to the playground. Yes, it was 38 degrees. No, I could not find a matching set of hat and mittens for anyone. Yes, my God, it was cold. Yes, we were the only people running circles around the jungle gym and swinging the tire swing as far and wide as it could swing. And yes, every. single. person. I know in town drove by, rolled down their windows and laughed. A lot.

Anyway, at one point, when I could not possibly push the tire swing one more time, I suggested that we take a short hike to the pond to see if there were any ducks. Was I expecting ducks? Not really, it was 38 degrees and mid-January. Any self respecting ducks should be sunning themselves in South Carolina or wherever they head for the winter. But yet, as we plopped down on a bench and cringed at the cold on our tushies, they appeared. First two ducks, then four, then a loud-mouth gossip announced the arrival of small children, and the flood gates opened. All around us were ducks, hungry, hungry ducks. Ducks used to the constant summer fodder of bread and bagels and leftover picnic lunches.

The kids were enthralled. There were ducks on the land, ducks in the pond, ducks overhead. "Look at all the ducks! Look! Look!" They thought the ducks were all there to say hi. "Hi ducks! Hi!" All I saw were hungry faces, begging for a meal, ducks who in the summer heyday would head as far away from wee ones as they could as their tummies were full and the risk of a stick landing on their heads was high. But in the winter, a human face brought hope. And as we slowly got up and followed the siren's song of the tire swings, the ducks one by one headed back to their hiding places, calling the soulful cry of the hungry.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Can you tell that I'm a bit snarky tonight?

What is the Republican obsession with red dresses? I'm just saying.

How does he plan to balance the budget without raising taxes? Is he cutting defense spending? That would be lovely.

Really, John McCain shouldn't wink. He looks a little scary in a "lecherous uncle" type of way when he winks.

Don't even get me started on the No Child Left Behind Act. Just don't. I will personally write letter upon letter against its reauthorization.

He can't say tax deduction. It took me a good five seconds to figure out what he was talking about. Or maybe it was the accent. Or perhaps is was the disconnect between the link between tax deductions and health insurance.

I have an itchy pimple on my face. Do you think I should put some money aside in my health savings plan for that?

I'm sorry, I missed the link between health insurance and immigration. Holy lack of transition Batman.

Yeah, doubling the border patrol will do wonders for building that human chain across Texas. But yet, we are a big melting pot of love...

Wait, now we are on energy. There is not a transitional sentence in this whole speech. I should have been a speech writer.

Clean coal? Nuclear power? Yeah. And it is not VeHIC-cule. It's just not. But I am all for improving fuel economy standards.

Nancy Pelosi is licking her lips quite a bit. I think she might even be biting her tongue.

Whoops, on to the judicial system now.

And, on to homeland security. I think I have whiplash.

Cheney needs to work on his posture. Maybe it is all that time huddled in an undisclosed location.

Still on homeland security. And Iraq. I'm tuning out a bit here, forgive me.

I think McCain is falling asleep. There seem to be a lot of sleepy faces in the audience. Or maybe it is just me.

Still on Iraq. I'm not going to comment. See? I can hold my tongue. Really, I can.

People in Iraq do want to live in peace, I am sure. Which is oh so possible with hundreds of thousands of US troops wandering around. Sorry, I was supposed to be holding my tongue.

How many times do you think he is going to invoke the memory of 9/11?

Still on Iraq. Clearly, this is a speech on domestic issues.

Baby Einstein? In the State of the Union? Kudos for all her good work, but really, not very relevant to the running of the country.

Go forth with confidence. The State of the Union is strong.

A Public Service Message

Just in case you read this article, and decided to sanitize your sponge in the microwave? Yeah, about that. Just make sure it doesn't CATCH FIRE, OK? OK. Thanks.

Brought to you by The Nothing Quite Seems To Go the Way That It Should Housewives Network.


Is it wrong of me to be rubbing my hands in glee at the thought of being able to watch the State of the Union tonight? I love picking apart Bush's speeches. I really, really do.

Don't believe everything you hear

At preschool drop off today, C went running into his classroom full of news. "I'm getting a new baby sister!" he exclaimed. Before I could open my mouth, the teachers offered up congratulations, the moms ohhhed and ahhhed over how I didn't LOOK 20 weeks. Finally I was able to stutter out an "Um, no. My SISTER in the Really Big State with Cowboy Hats had a baby girl last night. Not me. Done. Very, very done."

But, by the time I made it across the street to the gym, the news had spread far and wide. I am going to be spending days explaining that really, my tummy is just in need of some sit ups. Sigh.

Welcome to the world Baby C2, even if I am very glad that you are not mine. Your mommy is much better at this parenting thing than I am, trust me. You are much, much better off.

Overheard from the "crowd"

While rehashing the details of the college basketball gamed they watched with M this weekend...

A: "Give me an S! Give me a Y! Give me an....applesause! Give me a spoon! What does that spell?"

C: "SNACK! Go...Oranges!"

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Decisions, Decisions

As part of the school registration process for next year I have to select whether my kids will be attending morning or afternoon sessions (yes, we have a half-day kindergarten program). My ideal? Both kids in the morning. Morning school makes sense. We get up, we get dressed, we have breakfast, we make beds and off we go. We come back, it is lunch time and half the day is nicely accounted for. Unfortunately, the drop-off and pick-up times for kindergarten and the preschool in which C is currently enrolled are within five minutes of each other, and there is no busing available. Meaning that either I need to switch preschools, I need to place them both in the afternoons when the pick up times are staggered a bit better, or one child needs to go in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Switching preschools would make the most sense, except for the fact that this preschool is everything I always wanted in a preschool. The children play with sand and water. There is lots of art. They sing appropriate seasonal songs (played on RECORD PLAYERS people), paint rocks, and make a turkey centerpiece for Thanksgiving. There is no formal curriculum. There is no expectation that children will know how to read by the end of the pre-K program. The highlight of the year? A parent-organized Spring Carnival that involves games like blowing ducks across a wading pool using straws and playing hopscotch. Really.

I just. can't. leave this school. I just can't. So the next logical solution? Put both kids in the afternoon. I would get three afternoons a week to do whatever. Go to the gym. Take a nap. Gasp, read a book. But....C is not a great morning person. Oh, he is up bright and early, but trying to get him out of pajamas and into the car? Painful. Very, very painful. And I fear that our combined laziness would mean that if we had no place to go until 12:30, that we would be racing around at 12:25 trying to get dressed. Which is fine for next year, but would make the 8:25 am start in 1st grade a living hell. In fact, I am somewhat fearful that we might never recover from a year of afternoon school.

My final option is putting C in morning kindergarten, and A in afternoon preschool. Which, while fine and lovely for them, leaves not a second in any day that belongs to me. AND puts me in the car four freaking times a day. Because C will not be attending our neighborhood school that is two blocks away. No, he will most likely be attending kindergarten on the other side of town because of a nightmare of a redistricting situation.

So what do I do folks? What do I do?

Overheard in front of the TV

While watching an ice skating routine on TV this afternoon:

A: "Wow, she's beeutiful."

C: "No, I am pretty sure she is cold. Who ice skates in a sun dress?"

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Menu - Week of 1/20

Well, since I'm not going to be living it up in New York this weekend, I might as well cook.

Saturday - Maple Mustard Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Apples, side of green beans.

Sunday - Clay Pot Chicken and Vegetables Pot Roast

Monday - Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Tofu and Kale

Tuesday - Leftovers

Wednesday - Chichimama's Ultimate Chili

Thursday - Leftovers

Friday - Barley, Black Bean and Corn Burritos

Croup is a four letter word

I had big plans this weekend. BIG PLANS I tell you. M was taking the kids to see his sister and I was headed into the city to spend the night with friends, check out a new wine bar, eat some yummy food, and wake up in the morning for a lovely brunch. I was going to be kid-free for a full 36 hours or so, and it was going to be fabulous. But, like all good plans, this one too came to a screeching halt at 5:30 am this morning when C woke up coughing, that oh so distinctive "barking seal" cough. Croup is not. my. friend.

On the up side, he is old enough that he just sounds like hell, but in reality he could still breathe fairly well. And that is a good thing because our hot water heater is so old that I couldn't actually generate any steam in our bathroom.

Sigh. And do you know who I actually feel worse for? C, and not because he is sick. He was so looking forward to going to see his cousin. When I broke the news that he wasn't able to go, he looked like his heart was going to break. Poor thing.

Friday, January 19, 2007

I is for iPod

Yesterday was visitation day at C's preschool. All the mommies (no daddies this year) came and sat behind their child for an hour and got to "see first hand" what a day in the classroom was like. Never mind the fact that 99% of the kids were attached to their parents' sides like flies to glue traps (except of course C, who insisted that he sits on the letter K and as the letter K was against the wall there wasn't room for me so I should just stand by the door).

The class is working on the letter "i" and each child was asked to come up with a word that began with "i." "I" is for ice cream was a popular answer, as was "i is for iron. Apparently there are mommies in the US who iron too, Rebecca. One girl, whose parent was not in attendance, jumped up and down and screamed "i is for iPod!" The teacher applauded her, and then asked if her mom or dad had an iPod. "Oh, yes, but mine is PINK!" she replied. "Theirs is just boring white." A four year old. With her own iPod. I sure hope they got accident protection insurance with that.

The first snow

We woke up this morning to what could be called a dusting of snow, if one wanted to be generous. Just enough that a snow brush, if I had one in the car, might be useful. But I don't, and I have no idea where it lives, and M is out of town so the kids and I will just sweep our mittens across the windows and call it a day.

A's face is currently pressed up against the windows and she is gazing out at the snow in the backyard, very insistent that there is enough there to make a snow man. I have tried to dissuade her from that idea, but I have a feeling that the instant C is up and coherent we will be pulling on snow pants and boots. She probably doesn't remember the snow very well from last year, although she might. You never quite know with A. But right now, it seems magical and wonderful to her.

I'm generally very pro-snow. I love to look out at the yard, the trees and bushes have such a regal yet gentle look when laden with white fluff. But this year I find myself hoping that it doesn't snow, as if it does we have a real snow removal issue as we will have to shovel out two houses.

At the old house, we had three walkways, a circular drive and a long shared drive back to the detached garage that all had to be shoveled, by hand, because it was gravel. Here there is only one short walkway and a much shorter drive to deal with when it snows. As an added bonus, there are teenage boys on either side of us and across the street, so there is some hope that one of them might be dispatched to our place to shovel if we ever get more than a dusting, especially if M is out of town, which he always is when it snows. So once the other house is someone else's problem, it can snow all it wants.

At the old house I could sit on the sun porch sipping my coffee and imagine that we were alone with the snow. The new yard is not quite as peaceful looking as the old one, however, as we can see the houses behind us clearly and the deck ruins the view in some respects. I am also fairly confident that our new neighborhood is going to be gregarious on snow days, which, while fun for the kids, means that I will spend snow days traipsing around instead of enjoying the enforced solitude.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Overheard from C

C appears in the kitchen without a get out of bed free pass...

Chichimama: "C, back to bed, you used...."

C: "Shhh, shhh. My tummy is full but my mind is empty."

Chichimama bursts out laughing and can't stop. C is finally dispatched back to bed. Chichimama continues to laugh. Is still laughing. Will be laughing for days.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Are my kids the only ones...

who don't actually play with their toys? I mean, we'll get ten minutes here, ten minutes there, mainly with the legos and blocks, and then the rest of the time? They either run around laughing and screaming or they do things like stand at the kitchen sink for over AN HOUR using turkey basters to transfer water from one mixing bowl to another and back again.


Weffriddles. I am addicted. I might have to block it like Phantom. But boy has it done a great job of distracting me from my pity party. So don't get worried (Nana) if I don't post for a while, I'm just following a puzzle trail...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The bottom step

Our real estate agent held yet another open house at the old place this afternoon, and as far as I could tell from my bordering on stalker-like drive bys, there were lots of people traipsing in and out of it, but no one who looked at all interested. After it was all over I swung by to make sure the heat had been turned down (it hadn't) and turn off the water in anticipation of the cold snap arriving later this week.

It was dusk, bordering on dark when I arrived, necessitating the turning on of lights around the house. I flipped on the switch to the upstairs hallway and burst into tears. I just sat on the bottom step, as I used to every evening as I talked to my sister or Rebecca on the phone and cried. Tears of hopelessness, tears of sadness, tears of homesickness. Even without the furniture, the giggles, and the drone of sibling bickering, in the dusk, with the lights on, the stairs felt like home.

I really didn't think I would miss the old house, and in day to day life, I don't really. Not the house itself anyway. But I miss life the way it was before we moved. Life with only one mortgage, life when my best friend didn't live an ocean away. Life when M and I didn't snap at each other at the drop of the hat, life when I could sit on the hard wood of the bottom step and just enjoy my home.

A big shout out to Al Roker

Last week during one of my not so frequent trips to the gym (positive thought: I DID make it to the gym!), I caught the tail end of the Today Show. Al Roker was doing a sleep segment with some expert, I can't remember which one (Jodi Mindell maybe?) that was aimed specifically at the older child. Apparently, Al has a toddler who sleeps almost as poorly as my two, and all of his questions mirrored what mine would have been had I pursued that career in broadcast journalism instead of ditching out on the first day of freshman year when the director of the program announced that 75% of the people sitting the the room would never ever see the inside of a television studio.

We have already implemented two of the suggestions, the "Get Out of Bed Free Card" and the "Good Morning Light." The "Get Out of Bed Free Card" is a brilliant, brilliant idea (so far) for the "pop out of bed 25 times in 15 minutes" variety of child, which C has turned into. Before bed we make sure that he has peed, has water, has all necessary stuffed animals, and then any additional request requires the surrendering of the "Get Out of Bed Free" card, and then there are no more nighttime visitations unless he needs to pee, poop or has "an honest to goodness" nightmare. The first night I had to impose a few extra rules, like a second book does NOT get read at 11pm, even if the magic card is presented, but other than that we have not seen C more than once after he has been tucked in for the night. The card has worked less brilliantly with A, who is still a little young to work through the process yet. She surrenders the card, then wants it back so she can surrender it again.

The second brilliant suggestion was the "Good Morning Light," to solve the issue of the early morning riser. Apparently, in the Roker household there is a child who wakes up at 4:30am, which made me feel so much better about our 5:30 wakeup. The "Good Morning Light" is a night light selected by the child and plugged into a lamp timer. The timer is set to turn the night light on at a reasonable hour, and the child is instructed that if the light isn't on when they wake up, they should try to roll over and go back to sleep. If the wake up hour is, say, 5:30 and you would really like the child to learn to wake up at 7, you are supposed to gradually adjust the time that the light goes on by 15 minutes ever few nights.

I have to say, I ignored that piece of advice and went straight for the 7am setting. And you know what time we were up this morning? 7:20. A was up a few times before then and heard muttering "Uh oh, no light. Nighty night A," but she did not set foot in our room until the light was on. I'm not going to guarantee that this will be a long term solution for us, as it seems nothing ever is with her, but I am more hopeful than I have been with other techniques.

The other piece of advice that I wish I had heard two years ago when we forced A gave up her nap way too early because it made it too hard for her to go to sleep in the evening, was to still let the child nap in the afternoon and then at night allow her to lie in bed for half an hour or 45 minutes with the lights on looking at books. If she gets out of bed, the light goes off until the next night. I think it might have saved us hours of agony.

So anyway, there you have it. Wish us luck. And send good sleeping vibes in the direction of the Roker household as well. Because no one should be waking up at 4:30 in the morning with a toddler. Even if they have to be at work at 6am.

Friday, January 12, 2007


Just to get it out of the way, my happy thought for the day is that my house is (almost) clean. Let's just ignore the fact that I was up until almost midnight last night scrubbing toilets and rinsing showers, OK? Focus on the positive, clean potties and showers.

Last night I was not a very good wife. M was in the city for what I thought was a business meeting. And I guess there was a meeting involved, at five, and then he met up with friends of ours for dinner and drinks. But I didn't know about that part until 10:15 or so when he called to see how the kids were doing. I had just crawled into bed after spending the day dealing with two over-tired, whining children, A was already showing signs of having a not very good night of sleep, and the cats were loudly expressing their displeasure over the closing of the cat door. Basically, I was not in grand mood.

So when I heard that he was out having spur of the moment fun instead of doing business deals like I thought he was, I burst into tears and whined "So nice that SOMEONE gets to have fun in this family." Then I felt guilty because really, it wasn't his fault that the kids were trying and the house was a wreak, and that I had done (literally) eight loads of laundry that still needed to be folded, and that I was PMSing and hungry and my favorite show hadn't recorded. But once the tears are out there, you really can't recover from that as hard as you try to insist that really, everything is fine and to go and have a good time.

Once he had assessed that I wasn't going to throw myself from the second floor window or ship the kids off to the circus, I was instructed to go to bed and he went on with his evening. But the guilt kicked in and I decided to scrub the house instead. Because, well, I don't know why, besides the fact that I was already feeling guilty about the fact that I am a horrid housewife, and while I couldn't do anything to fix my guilt trip of an outburst, I could at least get the house clean.

Of course we all know that with two kids and no school today, there will be no sign that the house was actually clean at midnight last night, but I swear, it was. If you sniff really deeply in the upstairs bath you can still smell the shower cleaner.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The trauma

In the space of one day I had to register C for kindergarten and A for preschool. There should be a law about overlapping enrollment days somewhere. I am rather traumatized by the whole thing.


Thanks to the geniuses at Haloscan, I was finally able to get my comments installed properly on an upgraded template. So don't mind me while I play around with the layout for a few days...

So many things get revealed in t he middle of the night

One of the major perks of our new house is the cat door that is built into the sun porch. For the past few months, I have not had to let a cat in or out of the door, there have been no flying objects launching themselves against the windows, no loud bangs on the doors, no howls in the middle of the night when someone hasn't realized that bedtime had arrived for the human residents of the household. So when I was awoken by cat noises in the middle of the night, I was a bit confused for a few minutes.

I finally decided that the cats were bickering about the cozy spot on top of the heating vent downstairs and got up to investigate, only to realize that one of the cats was snoring away at the foot of the bed. More confusion clouded my already foggy brain. If Lazy Cat was asleep on the bed, what on EARTH was Dumb Cat DOING? Finally it clicked in, clearly another cat had found the entrance to our home through the miraculous cat door. As I raced downstairs, I did indeed hear the telltale thwank of the cat door swinging after someone had gone through it. And I found Dumb Cat pacing back and forth, staring at the swinging cat door.

I headed back upstairs and explained what had happened to M. "Well, you closed the cat door, right?" he asked. "Really? You think I have to do that?" I replied sadly. Silence. "Right. OK." So, with a heavy heart, I closed the cat door. I was so nice while it lasted. On the upside, I now know why the cats have been peeing around the house, and why we have been going through outrageous quantities of cat food. On the downside, I was interrupted five times while tying this to let a cat in or out.

Once we sell the other house, we are SO getting one of these....

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Menu - Week of 1/7

Back to menu planning. I've discovered that without a menu I spend way too much at the grocery store and still have nothing to show for it. This week is courtesy of my pantry and deep freeze as I'm trying to clean out some of the stuff I bought thinking it "might be useful someday," as well as use up some of the stuff I froze to prepare for a cold, snowy winter. At the rate the temps are rising, I'm not going to feel much like stews and chilis much longer!

Sunday - Three Sisters Stew (From Moosewood Low-Fat, fabulous if you have never tried it)

Monday - Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Tuesday - Smoked Sausage Cassoulet

Wednesday - Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Thursday - Ham and Squash Casserole

Friday - Zesty Flounder

Saturday - Moroccan Chicken

Saturday, January 06, 2007

This should suprise no one

The Subtle Neurotic
You scored 88 anxiety, 95 awkwardness, and 47 neuroticism!

You have all the makings of neuroticism without any of the amusing trappings--you are The Subtle Neurotic! Plagued by doubt, fears, and worries, you are much more likely to have a quiet existential crisis off on your own than to bite your fingernails. You worry a lot over social situations, but take heart--chances are, you're not nearly as awkward as you feel you are. The best advice I can give you? Confide your worries in someone--no matter how irrational they seem. You're far too likely to keep everything bottled up.

Your high anxiety score implies that you are unable to relax, worry about the future often, and probably are plagued by irrational fears and self-doubt.

Your high awkwardness score implies that you are socially nervous, probably have difficulty with conversation, and perhaps feel uncomfortable in large groups of people, such as at parties.

Your low neuroticism score implies that you don't exhibit subtle neurotic behaviors--your nails are probably an acceptable length, your pencils aren't covered with bite marks, and your bookcase isn't arranged alphabetically by genre. Congrats!

The Neurotic Test
, as seen at Mimilou

Overheard from the hubby

M: "I find this [70+ degree] weather so depressing. But what galls me about it the most is that it is making Gore look good."

Remind me of this

Someplace in my house, a cat has peed. Not in the litter box. I cannot find where. I have spent hours on my hands and knees sniffing every inch of carpet and upholstery. I cannot find the source(s). Remind me of this when I start talking about getting a cute little kitten someday.

I don't have a happy thought right now. There is nothing happy about a house that smells like cat pee.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


We made it through our strep induced days at home, and (hopefully, as he is still asleep right now) C will be returning to school today. Hurray for school! In actuality, yesterday wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I did about a dozen loads of laundry (Really! Everyone's sheets, plus three grandparents-worth of sheets and towels, plus all of C's special friends=lots and lots of laundry). We did every puzzle in the house, set up an elaborate train track, used up about a ream of paper, and built a solar system mobile (from the back of a coloring book, don't start thinking I was getting crafty or anything).

When the kids started melting at about 1:30, we went outside, without jackets because it was that warm, and swept and washed down the front walk and steps. We chatted with the next door neighbor for a bit, and then A discovered some chalk and drew all over the freshly washed walk. But it was all good. Except for the fact that the trees are starting to bud, in fricking January. Not. Good.

The day ended with copious quantities of PBS kids, as by 4pm I was fresh out of ideas, C and A were starting to wrestle, and I am desperately trying to keep A from getting strep. Because we could survive three days at home, but I'm not sure how we would do with another three. Especially since M's travel and conference schedule has picked up again and he'll be jetting around to all the warm, sunny spots until June or so. Gah. Why are academic conferences never anyplace like Vegas or West Palm Beach? Or was I just in the wrong field?

A and I are going to celebrate C's return to school with a trip to Trader Joe's. Because nothing says "I survived winter break plus an additional two days" like a trip to the grocery store with only one child in tow. Those of you with only one, or none, think I am kidding, but it is true. Shopping with both children is an exercise in futility.

Oh, and my happy thought for the day? Rebecca got a wonderful present for the holidays, a US phone number through the Internets that allows me to call her at no cost to me (or her) as much as I want (time-zones permitting). Which makes the whole mommy-gut check "should I take my kid to the pediatrician" questions so much easier. Although she still can't help much with the "what kind of jacket are you putting on the kids today" type of questions. Now if only they could invent a way for her to send me eggs and box of soy milk when I run out....

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Years Resolution

I am going to try and whine less.

Phaw. Who am I kidding. I whine. That's what I do. Let me try this again.

OK, I am going to try and balance out my whines with happy thoughts.

Happy thoughts. I can do this. Really I can.

My happy thought for the day, (not that I am trying to jinx myself or anything) A has been in underpants for three days without an accident. With very little reminding on my part.

Not just a fever

Yes, indeed, C has his first case of strep. Now that he has seen the doctor and been given medicine, my used to be somewhat cheerful son has now thrown himself on the couch, declared himself "very sick" and has commenced the whining that he feels a doctor's visit worthy illness requires. Sigh.

I am now off to perform the obligatory "So glad you came to my party, hope you had a great time, oh, and as a door prize, you won some strep germs" phone calls. At least we made it to Target before the diagnosis for tissues and Diet Coke.

Questions and more questions

Today is supposedly the first day back to school for C. But I am still in my pajamas, and so are the kids, and it is not because preschool is closed for the national day of mourning. No, C's fever came back yesterday morning, and he literally spent the day in bed. Sigh.

Besides the "what REALLY constitutes a fever" thing, this raises an interesting dilemma, the mommy disclosure. Do I call every parent at the party and inform them that my son has a random fever and no other symptoms? I mean, if he had something requiring antibiotics, sure, I would call. But random viral something or other? Not so sure. And the whole "fever free for 24 hours" thing, is a fever of 99.5 at 7am REALLY a fever worthy of keeping him home again tomorrow, assuming it doesn't get any higher by tonight? And can I take him out in the world, say to the yarn store to replace the non-washable baby yarn? Or to Target to get tissues for the sinus impaired in the house? Inquiring minds want to know these things.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Bullets of of the New Year

  • I was pleasantly surprised to discover that even though we ended up with 12 adults and 11 kids, our house could have held a lot more easily. Although did anyone congregate in the actual living room? Of course not. Well, except for the kids who were using the chairs for an elaborate game of "hide your head and put your tushie in the air and call it hide and seek."
  • I have to remember that people actually arrive well after the start time on the invitations. By the time anyone showed up, the baked brie was cold. And not very tasty.
  • I made way, way too much food. Some baked beans, sweet potato mashed potatoes, or ham anyone?
  • Children don't actually eat real food at large parties, unless you count popcorn, pretzels, and cupcakes as "real food," which you might...
  • Apparently, this group of people like beer, seltzer, and chocolate milk. May I offer anyone a bottle or two of wine to go with their baked beans and ham? Or some soda? How about a sparkling cranberry juice? A Clifford juice box?
  • My children lasted an hour and fifteen minutes past their bedtimes, and then basically put themselves to sleep upstairs, even though all of their friends were still downstairs playing "hide your head and put your tushie in the air and call it hide and seek."
  • When eleven children are in the same house, they don't actually play with toys. They run around screaming with glee. Or they play picnic under the dining room table. And apparently, I am a "cool mom" because I didn't see anything wrong with a picnic under the dining room table. Hey, if I could have fit I would have, it looked like fun.
  • I must remember to invite at least one obsessive compulsive cleaner to every party I throw. Thanks to M and Friend who Might be Moving to London Too, my house looked like this by ten fifteen.

She started cleaning up "just a little" while I was seeing people out.
  • Although M and I made it to midnight (barely) we missed the ball drop because we were too engrossed in Grey's Anatomy, season one, episode 7.
Hope everyone had a happy and safe New Years Eve.