Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Saga of the Uppity Bath Towel

This is the tag on my bath towel.  My basic, run-of-the-mill, dry-myself-off-with-it-everyday bath towel.  I had never really read it until today.  Do you see what this tag says?  "Machine wash blah-blah, delicate cycle..."  Delicate cycle?  Seriously?  Who does this towel think it is fooling?  Delicate cycle, indeed.  Self important piece of terry cloth.  Or, so I thought.

Then I kept reading, to the bottom of the tag where it says, "do not iron."  Hahahahahahahahaha.  Do not iron! As if there was ever a chance aytch-ee-double-ell I was going to iron my bath towel.  Now, I know the towel is just a joker.
 Hubband's parents are coming to visit this week, so I may not be around much.  Or, I may be around a lot more than usual.  It could go either way.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Week in Kids, #4

This week... 

There is not much to report.  It is as if these children know that they are my greatest source of material and they are entering contract negotiations. I expect to hear from their agent/lawyer/father any day now.  I am prepared to play hardball.

Also this week...

Samuel's school had their open house.  Nana stayed with Jonah and Cate, and Hubband and I took Sam.  He was soooo excited to have us all to himself, and so proud to show off his work (like the bunny ears above) and his friends.  Then we took him out for a special treat.  It was a Sam date.  His smile just melted out hearts.  A lot of kids are nice, but one at a time is very sweet too. 

Also this week...

We've had beautiful Spring weather for the most part and we are taking advantage of it, as you can tell from the pictures.  (Big shout out to Grandpa Bill (my dad) for getting us the swing set, and putting it up.)  One day it was even so hot, I dressed them in their water clothes and chased them around the yard with a hose.  Squirting them, not beating them, in case that wasn't clear.

Also this week...

There was cake.  It is funny, when my kids want cake for breakfast I say, "No."  Then my kids ask me, "Why not?"  And, I have no real good answer.  I am a fraud.  I want cake for breakfast too.  I'll admit it.  I mean, if they are going to eat cake at some point in a day, does it matter at what point.  (Unless sugar on an empty stomach makes your kids puke, which it does not mine.  Big surprise, huh?)  So, this week there was cake, but not for breakfast.  I swear.

Also this week...

Jonah said, "Mommy, you are such a beautiful a-hole."  And he said, "a-hole" not the derogatory phrase.  I know where he gets this bull-s.  I must stop listening to talk radio in the car.

Hubband and I were hugging, or huggsing as Sam calls it, when Sam ran up, threw his arms around our legs, and said, "I like this.  I like this."  Oh, c'mon.  That made you say "aww."

Catherine started saying "apple," "bus," and "ball."  Bus and Ball sound exactly the same, but she points in a different direction.

See you next week!

Grandma Christine (Hubband's mom) is coming to visit next week.  These children, if they know what is good for them, will start acting cute again.  And, they are not getting a penny more.  I don't care who their lawyer is.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My First Award

I won.  An award.  For my blog.  THIS blog.  It is true.  Yipee!

This is the Honest Scrap Award.  Yes, at first I thought it was the Honest Crap Award too, but it is not.  This is for real.  The Honest Scrap Award is "for bloggers who put their heart on display as they write from the depths of their soul."  I would like to humbly (yes, a stretch, I know) thank Kate over at Calamity, Kids, and Other Stuff for passing it to me.  She really is full of heart and soul, that one.  No, seriously.  Go over and check her out.  But not yet.  I have Honest Scrap business to attend to.

You see, with awards come obligations.  I am to pass the award on to another worthy blogger, which I do at the end, and I am supposed to write ten honest things about (my favorite subject) me.  Note, it says honest.  I had to  break a sweat, but this is my list.

1.  I had twenty-one paying jobs between the ages of seventeen and thirty-five.  Some were concurrent.

2.  I have lived in twenty-five different houses/apartments in eight different towns.  Eighteen of those houses and five of those towns have been since adulthood.

3.  I am really good at trivia games.  Scary good.  But I have never been able to beat my mother at Scrabble.  I am waiting for her to get old and lose her mind.

4.  There are at least a dozen people who knew me, before I knew Jesus, who would tell you I am a psychotic bitch, and in all fairness to them, from their perspective, I am.  Or, rather, was.  That was life BC.  I'm different now.

5.  I love television.  I don't mean that I love watching television , I just love the medium, its potential for telling a story.  It is a great way to tell a really long story in short bits, that a movie can not do.  Yes, it is true that so much on television these days is, as we call it around here, "carp, that troublesome fish."  Reality TV is CARP, that troublesome fish.  Cable news is CARP, that troublesome fish.  But if you are going to do something like the show Lost, TV is the only way.  I love Lost.  Maybe that should be it's own number.

6.  I wish I were a red head.

7.  I would love to write for television.  In high school, I took an aptitude test that said I would be best suited as a teacher, lawyer, or television producer.   I have been a teacher.  I have been a lawyer.  I am just sitting at home, waiting for my career as a TV producer to take off.  If I'm producing, I will hire myself to write as well.  You see, it is a brilliant plan.

8.  I wish I could time travel.  But, only into the past and only me.  If everyone could do it, it would get too complicated.

9.  There are no photos of 40-year-old me on Facebook, or anywhere else, standing around in a bar, with blood shot eyes, wearing a low-cut, too tight dress, surrounded by similarly aged and clad women, holding up a shot glass of an eighty proof liquid, desperately pretending it is the best time I've ever had, and for this, I can honestly say, I am quite blessed.  Because there, but for the grace of God, and a husband who has not left me, go I.

10. My children are feral.

Now, for the BEST part.  I get to pass the award on to someone else.  I know so many awesome bloggers, but I am going to limit myself to two. 

Drum Roll Please.....

The Honest Scrap Award is getting passed to Susie at Laundry Woes, and Carolyn at Fruit of the Carolyn.

Congratulations ladies!  I love your blogs.  They inspire me, and now my readers can be inspired by you as well.  (I hope your ISP can handle all the traffic.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Eggs, sideburns, and bacon?

My son's teacher must thinks I am bi-polar.

Most days when I drop him off at school, I manage to get dressed in my street clothes (those un-stained, un-torn articles that I save for leaving the house and immediately remove upon returning home), comb my hair, maybe even wear a little lipstick. I chat with the teacher for a short while, as the other students get off the bus, hug my boy, and depart.

Some days, I arrive wearing baggy sweats and clogs. Hair, pulled back, but uncombed. Oatmeal and banana stuck to my person somewhere. Teeth unbrushed. No lipstick. Maybe some of yesterdays mascara smudged under my eyes. I do not talk. I do not even really stop. I slow down, unfasten the child from his car seat and roll him out the open door. I let out a low growl and drive away. These days, I have a migraine.

If I am lucky, I can tell a headache is coming, though I am usually powerless to stop it. Sometimes, there is a dull tension in my neck, and I know. Sometimes, the warning is not pain, but some other neurological difficulty, like last week when I was giving Hubband a hair cut and I got really frustrated because I could not get his "hashbrowns" straight. It might have been easier to cut sideburns (and remember what they were called) if I was not getting a headache.

My migraines are usually not debilitating. Usually. Which is a good thing, since they can be triggered by sinus trouble, of which there is no shortage this time of year.  I am averaging about one a week so far this Spring.  Yipee.
So if you ever see me out, clothes dirty and unmatched, wearing slippers, yogurt in my hair, driving a gold "ball and chain" (that's  migraine for station wagon), it is safe to assume my head hurts.

Monday, March 22, 2010

All the Yiddish I know...

This is my 100th post.  Five months, and one hundred posts into this crazy idea of Hubband's, I think blogging has made me a better person.  Seriously.

First, it has given me an outlet for all the grown-up things that rattle around in my head.  I love my children, but they just don't get me.  And, at their ages, I really would not want them to.

Second, it has made me live my life more fully and with more attention to detail, because I never know where great blogging material will come from.  (Unless I go anywhere with my friend Jennifer, in which case she will spoon feed it to me and then tell me I am brilliant.)

Third, because blogging has changed my life in the two previously mentioned ways, I have had to make time for writing and living, leaving less time for housework, which is just as well because I was taking it too seriously.  Now I have made it my goal to lower the bar for housewives everywhere.  (More on that in another post.)

Fourth, blogging has made use of something about myself that I always knew, but until now, never appreciated.

I'm a kvetch.

In case you don't know, kvetch is a Yiddish word that means "a complainer".  I wanted to say that I "like to kvetch," but once I started to write this post, I realized that all the Yiddish I know, I learned from the Dick Van Dyke Show, and that perhaps I should look it up, so as not to embarrass myself.  Well, according to Yiddish Dictionary On-line, kvetch is a noun.  It has a verb form, kvetchn, but I am not sure how to use it.  I have heard it used several times in the way that I want to use it, but I am not sure that it is correct, so I won't use it that way.  For now.  I wonder if there is a Yiddish word for tangent.  Anyhoo...

The other day I posted a story about the breakfast dishes.  It was riveting, I assure you.  In it, I implied that I have been so busy doing dishes, raising kids, etc. that I have not had the time to look up and even notice my life, let alone enjoy it.  Well, Vince, a frequent commenter, called me on it.

He said, "You seem to be saying that the business of marriage and breeding over the last 6 years had kept you so busy that you did not see the pure fun of what you had created. But then I realised the why of reading your blog IS that joy you have. And while you might be grinding your teeth while the lawyer is scraping poop from the walls you are mostly on a cloud of delight."

While I would never use the phrase "cloud of delight" to describe anything that was not edible, I have to admit, he has a point.  I love it when my life stinks.  I love it when things go horribly wrong (so long as no permanent damage is done).  Why?  Because there is good material in there, and I am a kvetch.

There are people, like my friend and fellow blogger, Jordan who can always see the bright side (even when she has to bathe in cold water at six o'clock on a Sunday morning) and when there is no obvious bright side, she makes one.  This is not as obnoxious as it sounds.  She is a genuine delight, really.  I love this about her.  But, that is not me.  I'm a kvetch.

But, I am a happy kvetch.  I actually like complaining.  I like looking at the darker side of things, and lightening them up, by making them funny.   There is nothing ugly about this, or even all that negative.  Kvetching (if I may be so bold as to make a verb and then a gerund out of a Yiddish noun), and all the things in the world worth kvetching about, bring me joy.  Great joy.

Does this make me a bad person?  Maybe.  But, it makes me a better blogger, and blogging makes me a better person (see above).  Or, maybe blogging just makes me a better kvetch, which makes me a better blogger which makes me a better person.  Oh, I'm dizzy.

 This is clearly 'kvetch' being uses as a verb.  
And, the guy who wrote this book probably knows what he is talking about.  
I feel better now.

Thank you all for coming.  I hope you will be here for 100 more.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Week in Kids, #3

This week...

Gimme Boobies

Jonah and Samuel both brought home new vocabulary from school.

I was not moving fast enough getting Sam his yogurt, so he reached out and said, "Gimme, gimme, gimme."  What manner of obnoxious is this?  I gave him a withering stare until he stopped, and then walked him through proper asking procedures.  He has tried it a few times since, but if I stare at him long enough, I usually get a polite, "Please."

Jonah, bless him, is growing up.  Sunday at breakfast he held two small biscuits up to his chest and said, "Look.  Boobies."  Hmm.  I figured a withering stare would be more attention than this deserved.  So, I casually asked, "Where did you learn that?"  "Some boys at school," he said.  And then, rather sheepishly, "But it is not polite."  "No, it is not," I said.  I never looked away from pouring the orange juice.  I guess he didn't quite get the response he was expecting.  (Yes, I have a sense of humor about these things, but he does not need to know that.)

Also, this week...

Adventures in Yogurt

I know, the bangs are ridiculous.  But I'm telling you, she moved.  It had to be done.  This is her before shot.

Also this week...

Toddler Games

Samuel has created a few new games to play with mommy.  One is the repeat game, where he says a few random syllables and then expects me to repeat them.  This is actually more fun than it sounds, because my kid is just so gosh darn cute.  He has started playing the game with our emerging talker, Cate, too.  Which is priceless, and educational all around.

And there is "Cry kiss?"  "Cry" is how he says, "Can I."  So he says, "Cry kiss forehead?  Cry kiss eyebrow?  Cry kiss glasses?"  And my favorite, "Cry kiss pumpkin?" by which he means my nose.  This makes him laugh every time, because he quite clearly knows that my nose is not called a pumpkin.

Okay, maybe the kid has to be your own for this stuff to be interesting.

See you next week.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Theme Thursday -- Breakfast

This is a Theme Thursday post.

This week's theme is BREAKFAST.  That made me think of this song.  Click the title to have a listen.  Or at least skim the lyrics.  They are quite clever.  "None of us knew his checkout time would come so soon, but before his brain stopped waving, he composed this tune."  C'mon.  You gotta love that.  And just remember...they don't serve breakfast in hell.

by Newsboys

Hold the milk, put back the sugar
They are powerless to console
We've gathered here to sprinkle ashes
from our late friend's cereal bowl.
Breakfast Clubbers, say the motto
that he taught us to repeat:
You will lose it in your gym class
if you wait `til noon to eat.
Back when the Chess Club said our eggs were soft
every Monday he'd say grace and hold our juice aloft
Oh, none of us knew his checkout time would come so soon
But before his brain stopped waving, he composed this tune:


Breakfast clubbers, drop the hankies.
Though to some our friend was odd,
that day he bought those pine pajamas
his check was good with God.
Those here without the Lord,
how do you cope?
For this morning we don't mourn
like those who have no hope
Oh, rise up, Fruit Loop lovers -
sing out sweet and low
With spoons held high
we bid our brother, Cheerio!

Lyrics: Steve Taylor / Music: Peter Furler
© 1996 Dawn Treader Music (SESAC) / Warner Alliance Music / Soylent Tunes (ASCAP), Dawn Treader Music admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing. Warner Alliance Music / Soylent Tunes admin. by I.C.G.

This is a Theme Thursday post.  Click the link to see what everyone else had to say.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

(Not New) Delhi and My Date with a Pregnant Woman

If you ever find yourself passing through Delhi, California you must stop and ask yourself, "Why would any one stop here?"  You must stop, or you would miss the place all together before you were done asking.  And you must ask, because the place does not have much to recommend itself (with a few exceptions, to be noted later).  It is dry, flat, and sandy, with nothing nearby, but more of the same.  Yet, there lies a town.

It was founded in 1920 as an experiment in community farming.  It failed.  During the Depression, the federal government offered free land to get people to settle and farm there.  The people who came, were hardworking, salt-of-the-earth people, to be sure, but they must have been hardworking, salt-of-the-earth people with low self-esteem if this was the best they thought they could do.  Ninety years on, it is mostly a dairy town, with a housing development, two freeway exits, and some interesting cartographical quirks.  For example, when Second Avenue crosses South Avenue, it becomes Fourth Street.  This may have been done during the Cold War to confuse the Communists in the event of an invasion.  About this, I am not kidding.

Oh, I should also mention, it is not Delhi, as in New Delhi.  It is Delhi, as in, "Del.  Hi.  You get your new bull semen catalog, yet?"

This past weekend, I drove to Delhi--and not my first time, either--through four counties, to help my dear, and very, very pregnant friend, Jennifer, pack up her house, so she can move.  I have also made the trip to help pull weeds, plant hasta, take her dog on a bike ride, and bury my cat.  I have known Jen for a long time.

I have known her longer than her husband, Robert has.  This is actually a bit of a sore spot between us, so we don't discuss it much.  You see, Jen and I met Robert around the same time, at church.  He took to me quickly, attempting to woo me with song and pet names.  "Barracuda" is a compliment right?  As charming as this was, I put off his advances, until he gave up.  Jen has him now.  They're happy, and not just because they are moving out of Delhi.

So, I drove, and drove.  We packed, and packed.  It was the perfect opportunity to gossip about everyone we have ever known catch up on old times.  And when we were done, Jen and I left Robert home with their very tired little girl (and his melancholy over the-one-who-got-away) and went out to dinner, like grown ups.

We ate at a place calling itself, without any sense of irony, The Elegant Bull.  (Now, I am going to say a few words about this place, and all of them are true(ish) but I want to make it perfectly clear that I liked the place very much.)  From the outside, it looked like nothing more than a shack, painted an elegant shade of brick red, and nestled elegantly up against the freeway off-ramp.  The hours and dress code were displayed at the front door.  "No Tank Tops."  No shirt?  No shoes?  No problem, I guess.  But, bare shoulders are not elegant.

Upon entering the Elegant Bull, I was surprised to find that it was, well, kinda elegant.  Low light, cut-glass candle holders on every table, white linen table cloths.  By "linen," I mean a poly-cotton blend, but they were real cloth, as were the napkins.  We were shown to our table by a very professional waitress with a subdued voice and menus.  Nice, right?

Then I sat down and looked around.  This bull had a whiff of the elegant about it, but only from the chair rail down.  On the walls, there were shelves displaying ceramic barn yard animals, and not one of them was a bull, lest you think I was deliberately missing the point.  There was a bovine clock, the numbers printed on it's belly, it's udder, a pendulum.  At least, I hope it was an udder.  There were seasonal decorations as well: Shimmering paper shamrocks and a life-sized paper leprechaun.  I think it was life-sized.  How is one to know, really?  All of this, was accompanied by the dulcet tones of Willie Nelson.

You see, The Elegant Bull is like a mythical creature.  Half restaurant, half truck stop.  All Dining Experience.  The staff was friendly, the ribs were great, the prices reasonable, the bathroom clean.  So...

If you ever find yourself passing through Delhi, California, you must stop and ask yourself, "Why don't we go to the Elegant Bull?"  But don't look for Jen and Robert, because they moved.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Surprised by the Mundane

These are the breakfast dishes for a family of five.  Only two of whom are adults.  And this is not Christmas morning, or even Sunday  morning.  This is Tuesday.

Okay, okay, so we all do dishes.  I know.  And to those of you who have raised your kids up to adult size, this comes as no shock.  It is, in fact, barely worth note.  Please indulge me.

A mere six years ago, I was single and childless, and I would not have used this many dishes in a week (and even if I had, I certainly would not have washed them in a timely manner).  In the intervening years, I have been so busy gestating, birthing, nursing, loving, cuddling, and rearing my children, (not to mention all my wifely and housewifely duties) that I have not looked up to notice -- WE ARE A FAMILY OF FIVE!!

How did I miss that?

Note to self:  Look up more often, before you're back to washing dishes just for two.

Friday, March 12, 2010

What I Cherish

This is a Sepia Saturday post.

I am an American.  I have a lot of stuff.  Some of it, I like a great deal.  But, I don't cherish it.  I am not even particularly attached to it.  If you were to set it all on fire tomorrow, I would not care half a whit.  Assuming, of course, that I were insured, so that I could replace my charred stuff with new stuff.  Because, while I may not be attached to my stuff in particular, I think I am rather attached to having stuff in general.  I am an American.

There are a few items, however, which I do cherish.  Two of them are cookbooks, handed down to me by my Grandma Bunny, and (through her) my Great-Grandma Wieser.

We'll start with the oldest first.  Grandma Wieser's is a Woman's World Cook Book from 1931.

Well used, as you can see.  There is much text in the beginning of the book which I find quaint.  Menu plans for "reducing" and elderly couples, for example.  My favorite part though, is Grandma's notes.

On the title page she has made notes for herself on where to find, what I assume to be, often used recipes.  White sauce, page 315.  Standard Baking Powder Biscuits, page 252.  And, tongue, page 122.  Tongue?  As far as I know, Grandma Wieser was not famous for tongue.  She was famous for cinnamon rolls.  Unfortunately, a thorough scouring of the book provides not a hint of how she made them

There are recipes, written in pencil, faded and torn, on the inside front cover.  One of them calls for 10 pounds of salt.  Hmm.  Interesting. But, not cinnamon rolls.

Grandma Bunny's cookbook is a 1965 Fanny Farmer, which is not nearly as interesting or as annotated, though it does have a great recipe for scalloped potatoes.  Yum. 

Another great part about both books, and a quality which I have tried very hard to preserve, is all of the odds and ends tucked into the well worn pages.  That is how I came across this.

And, this.

This recipe for Rhubarb Des(s)ert came fluttering out of Grandma Bunny's book just the other day, prompting this post.  It has Grandma Wieser's name on the back of it, and I think it is in her handwriting, though their hands are similar, so I can't be certain.  I have used this recipe, passed it on to others, and eaten the dish it produces dozens of times over the years.  But, the recipe I am familiar with is called Peach Cobbler, and while it calls for the same amount of sugar, it always comes with the disclaimer that this is too much sugar and to use about half.  Well, no wonder.  The recipe is for rhubarb.

 Great-Grandma Wieser is in the center.  
Grandma Bunny is in the back row, second from the left.  
My mom is in the center of the front row.

These books are treasures to me.  I feel a vein of family history running through them.  And yet, there are so many things not tucked into the pages.  Menu plans for a well-lived life.  A recipe for happiness.  A tasty, low-fat, all-natural substitute for lard.  I can not open these books and access the wisdom gained from raising fifteen children, or being married over a hundred years.  I can not get the answer to one last question.  I don't hear their laughter in there.  Or feel the touch of their strong lean hands.  Sewing lessons, crocheting lessons, how-to-make-a-bed-the-right-way lessons.  Not in there.  Those things will never come fluttering out of the pages of these books, but out of my memories and those of my family.

So, yes I cherish these books.  But I would throw them on the burn pile with the rest of my stuff for just one more conversation at the kitchen table.  Maybe Grandma Wieser would make cinnamon rolls.  I'd pay closer attention this time.

This is a Sepia Saturday post.  

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Week in Kids, #2

This week...

Catherine got her first haircut--a trim of her bangs so that she would be able to see properly.  She looks a like a Euro-trash pop-star named Niko.  It is her own fault.  She would not sit still.

Also, this week...

Samuel fell asleep sitting up.  Then he slumped over.  Then he began to snore.
Usually, there is no keeping this boy down, but when he is tired enough, there is no keeping him up.

Naps were canceled a few weeks ago, as they had just become a battle, which I was in danger of losing, and when he did sleep, he would not go to bed at night.  So, now, everyday around 2 o'clock, when he is good and tired, he asks me if he can watch a movie.   It is a great quiet time for Mommy, and sometimes naps happen.

Also, this week....

Catherine added "bap" for "bath" and "fa-fa" for "phone" to her vocabulary.  (She is such a girl.)  And, when she is "all done" in her chair, she throws her little arms up and says "aw daw."  I know I am her mother and therefore biased (allegedly) but this is the cutest thing in the world.

Here she is "all done" eating some very orange spaghetti.  Aw daw and ready for her bap.

Her favorite new word though is, "Hi," which she delivers with a little grasping-hand wave.  She was trying it out the other morning while we were at the market.  "Hi.  Hi.  Hi." she said as she waved at every passing shopper.  Most people breezed past us without a glance.  I could tell Cate was getting confused.  I was worried she would give up.  I stopped complete stranger and practically demanded that they, "Wave at my baby!!! 

Also, this week...

I have had to let go of the idea that Samuel does not talk.  Until now, every time he has said something new or clever, I have prefaced the story with, "Samuel doesn't talk much..." or some such, but the stories are coming fast and furious now, so the disclaimer seems a bit disingenuous, don't you think?  

He has started asking "why?"  This is a great thing, developmentally, but as his mother, I find it a bit off putting.

The conversation is not:  "The sky is blue."  "Why?"

The conversation is:  "Find your socks."  "Why?"  "Get in the car."  "Why?"  "Put your spoon in the sink."  "Why?"  

Um, because I said so, that why.  Jeesh. 

Oh, and there are the "booms."  I don't know where this came from (school?  I can't imagine), but he has taken to saying "boom" and then poking me in one of my many fleshy spots.  It hurts.  I have bruises.  I ignored it as harmless, for awhile.  Until, this week, when he became rather fascinated by rear end, for which "boom" became insufficient.  I had to draw the line at having my three year old son poke me in the bottom and intone, "kaboom," followed by a hearty giggle.  Enough of that, little man!

So you see, Samuel does talk, and Mommy has joined the gym.

Also, this week...

Samuel explored his opportunities as a visual artist.  This is his latest work.  It is a mural, Sharpie on kitchen tile, entitled, "Sunday Morning When No One was Looking."
We think he even signed it.  Does this look like an "S" to you?

E-mail me if you have any questions about how to get Sharpie off of kitchen tile.

Also, this week...

There seems to be a dearth of Jonah news.  But it only seems that way.  He is so old now, that I have to be a little more discriminating in what I choose to post.  I don't want to ruin his pre-K cred.

See you next week!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Theme Thursday -- Hat

Hubband has a hat.

 Our son Samuel likes to wear it.

So, I tried to take a picture.

But, he would not hold still.

Or, even look at me when I asked.

At one point, he ducked completely out of frame.

In the end, this was the best I could do.

Click on the link to see how other Theme Thursday participants wore their HATS.

I am no Gladys Kravitz

Last week, I confessed to being a neighborhood nosy pants.  I told you about my kitty-corner-across-the-street neighbors, Dave and Amy, who's (alleged) marital spat led to some (alleged) difficulty with their recycling.  (Allegedly.)    Well, guess what?  Last Sunday, Dave and Amy had a baby.  Not an alleged baby.  A real honest to goodness baby.  I didn't even know Amy was pregnant!  Hmm.  How nosy can I be?

I went over with a lasagna and an "It's a Boy" balloon.  Dave and Amy and baby Ethan are all doing fine.  Only my reputation is bruised. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I Feel So Spring Has Sprung

It is SPRING!!!!

This time of year always reminds me of the Frank Sintara song, "You Make Me Feek So Young."  I first heard it as a girl when I was taking voice lessons.  Yes, voice lessons.  No, I can not sing, but my parents indulged me, bless their hearts.  I wanted to sound like Pat Benatar.  My teacher made me sound like Tony Bennet.  A flat, tone-deaf Tony Bennet.  I did become familiar with some old standards though, which I came to appreciate later.

With the change in the weather, I have taken every opportunity to go outside.

I dined al fresco.  On macaroni-n-cheese and apple slices in the backyard.  I have heard that meat will be grilled out there soon, but the story is unsubstantiated.  I'll know more at the weekend.

I took up jogging.  In tight, counter-clockwise circles around the patio furniture, pushing Sam on his bicycle (which he can not pedal), while he squealed, "Really, really fast, Mommy!  Really, really fast!"

I participated in a scientific study on the effects of vitamin D on intelligence.  I sat in the sun and completed the New York Times Crossword Puzzle.  But it was only the "easy" Monday puzzle.  The results are inconclusive.  More research must be done.

So, you see, I have been busy-busy.

How about you?  Has your Spring sprung?  And, how do you plan to take advantage of it?

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Week in Kids, #1

This week Samuel tried out some new phrases.  "Don't talk about me.  I'm special."  We don't know where he learned them and get the impression that he has no idea what they mean, but he says them with great enthusiasm and almost perfect annunciation.  Yeah Sam!!  He also modeled his new power-tool goggles.

We played with our food ~ open faced barbecue sandwiches with green beans and grapes.

Sam was only served half a sandwich and two green beans, but when he saw the grown-up plates, he was inspired.

This week Jonah prayed, "Thank you God, for the smell of toast in the morning," and  "Heal me Jesus.  I have big snot." Mommy kissed his little snot maker while wearing lipstick.  The child does not look this distorted in real life.

Catherine and Daddy shared some love over the morning paper.  We still can't keep that girl off the table, but she has learned to climb down on her own, if she can be bothered.

Auntie C and Uncle J came for a very short visit, that included coffee and breakfast, as they blew through town.  Many pictures were taken, but not by me, and none of them, so you will have to imagine it.

See you next week.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Theme Thursday -- Green



On March 17th, bars all across the United States serve green beer in honor of St. Patrick's Day.  On March 18th, one can buy green beer half-price.

One March 18th, several years ago, when I was a student-teacher (yes, I was a teacher, it's true), I sat on a bar stool, at a place called Flynn's, while a fellow student-teacher of mine, by the name of Art, got completely drunk on half-priced green beer, and tried to explain to me the colors of the Irish flag.  I may have had a green beer or two myself, as the details are a bit jumbled up, but I think this was his story.

"The green is for the emeralds, and the orange is for their hair." he said.

"They don't have emeralds in Ireland." I said.

"They most certainly do.  It is called the Emerald Isle."

"That's because it looks like an emerald from a distance, you doofus." I said, very politely.  ("Doofus," being a term of art at teacher college.)

"Exactly!  Green.  And the orange is because all true Irish have orange hair, which is called red, but is really orange.  Green and Orange.  Get it?"

"Yeah, I get that you are drunk."  I though to myself, very politely.

But, as I squeezed my brain, moist with green beer, I realized every Irish I had ever known (and by Irish, I mean real Irish, not some fourth generation American girl with an obscure Gaelic name her mother picked out of Beyond Shannon and Sean just because her last name happened to be Murphy) had red hair.  But, I only knew two.  And, not a single member of U2 has red hair.  That had to mean something right? 

"What about the white?" I asked.  "The white, between the green and orange."

"Think about it." he said, drunk and condescending.  "All Irish people are white.  Duh."  ("Duh," being a term of art at teacher college.)

I thought about it.  Mr. McGuigan, that girl I knew in high school, and the four members of U2 -- everyone of them, white.

It was obvious then.  I had had enough green beer.  Time to switch to amber.

Dear Theme Thursday, if any future themes are orange, white, or amber, I'm covered.
Click the link to read Theme Thursday entries from other participants!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Just Call Me Gladys Kravits

I spend a lot of time at the kitchen sink.  I won't bore you with the details of why, but you can guess.

From there, I have a perfect view of the house kitty-corner across the street.  Dave and Amy live there.  They are a young-ish couple with two incomes and no children.  I often live vicariously through them as they drive away for a Saturday morning brunch at one of those cute places by the river.  (I have no idea where they are really going, but what is the point of taking  a vicarious trip to Home Depot?)

Last Wednesday, from my spot at the kitchen sink, I saw Dave wheel the recycling can out to the curb.  This was worthy of note, (in my small nosy-pants world anyway), because pick-up day is Monday for garbage, and every other Monday for recycling.  Hmm.

At first, I thought they were going out of town and would not be here on Sunday night to put the can out.  But, Dave did not put the garbage can out.  Double hmm.

That night, with Dave and Amy still clearly at home, a blustery rain storm swept up our street, over-turning Dave and Amy's can, spreading recycling half way down the block.  The next morning, they were both out there, dressed for work, picking up wet news paper and crushed aluminum cans.  Then, Dave wheeled the can back to the house.  Triple hmm.  (I'll stop with the "hmm" thing now.  I know when a bit gets tired.)

Over here, in the part of the housing development that is actually my business, our recycling can was fit to burst.  The previous recycle pick-up Monday was a holiday.  Hubband and I (mostly Hubband, but I should have thought to remind him) forgot to put the cans out.  We did notice in time to put the garbage can out in front of the vacant house across the street, but the recycling truck was long gone.  Dave and Amy would have both had that day off too.  The real story (as I saw it) was beginning to present itself.

Dave and Amy, (mostly Dave, but Amy should have reminded him) forgot to put their recycling out on the last pick-up day.  Their can was full.  So was the recycling bin in the house.  It was over flowing or the cat was into it.  They came home from a long day at work.  They were tired.  They were hungry.  They had no children to scream at.  So, they turned on each other.
You shouldn't let the bin get so full.

You should take it out more often.

Why can't you take it out?

Because there is no room in the can!

You're bringing that up again?  Let it go!

Well, don't forget next time.

Maybe if I had a nice wife, she would remind me.

Maybe if my husband weren't such an ass, I'd be nicer.
You see how quickly these things can degenerate.  Until finally...
All I want is to eat my dinner!

All I want is for the recycling to get taken out before the truck comes!
Fine!  You want the recycling out?  I'll take it out!  Right now.  It can sit out there on the curb all week for all I care!  Are you happy now?
Or, maybe he just got his days mixed up.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Bubble and Squeak

One day last week, Hubband called from work during his lunch hour.  We chatted a bit, about this and that.  It was pleasant.  Then he did it.  He hit me with the three words every housewife dreads.

"What's for dinner?"

My voice, if I had one, was letting out nothing more than a sustained, "Uhhhhhh."  But my brain was working overtime.  In my head, it sounded something like this.

What?  Dinner?  Aw, c'mon.  Whydya have to go and do that?  We were having such a nice conversation.  It's like noon, right?  Six hours to go.  I don't even know what is in the fridge.  When was the last time we picked up a pizza?  "What do you want for dinner?" is a better question.  Why must I always be the one to think of these things...and on it went.  Until my mouth got ahead of my brain.  (I'd like to pretend this never happens, but I would be...well...pretending)

Having no answer, I blurted out, "Bubble and squeak."

Hubband chuckled, but called my bluff.  "What's in that?" 

"I don't know," I had to admit.  "Cabbage, I think.  Or maybe sausage."

"Well, it's English," said Hubband "It probably has one of those things." 

After that conversation, and still with no plans for dinner, I did some investigating.  Bubble and squeak is basically a potato and cabbage pancake.  I had left over mashed potatoes.  I had cabbage, though it was the red kind.  And, I had red kale, I didn't know what to do with.  So, Bubble and Squeak it was.  I served it with breaded cod.  It neither bubbled, nor squeaked, but it was good and my kids ate every bite.

Bubble and Squeak ~ 
Desperate (for dinner ideas) American Housewife Style
3 cups mashed potatoes
5-6 leaves red cabbage, chopped small
6 leaves red kale, de-ribbed
fresh chives, chopped
butter and olive oil for frying

  1. Boil cabbage and kale for about 10 minutes until soft. Drain.
  2. Mix with mashed potatoes and chives.  The stiffer the potatoes the better I think.  Mine were a bit soft.
  3. Take a handful of mixture and form it into a round patty.  
  4. Combine butter and olive oil in pan over medium high heat. 
  5. Add patties to pan, cooking 3-5 minutes on each side.  I would add a little extra olive oil between sides.