30 May 2006

Third Round, Game 6 or; A Great Way to Keep My Kids Still for a While

Ross had a great day at school. Lars did all his schoolwork and helped clean up his toys. Chris made dinner. I did the banking and cleaned up after dinner. Why the bursts of industry? Hockey. It's all about hockey. The Sabres are in the third round of the playoffs and Game 6 is on now. After a disappointing game Sunday, the Sabres are down, two wins to the Hurricanes three. They have to win tonight or they're done for the season. The hope in our living room is tangible; you can smell possibility (or maybe that's the new lavendar cleaner?). We're about to end the first period ahead by one (score is 1:0, Sabres). The kids will head up for bed, maybe to have sweet dreams and awake to news of a win...

Update: WIN! 2-1, Sabres in OT. Game 7 on Thursday!

23 May 2006

Library Renegade

As a kid, I loved the library. I lived close enough to our local branch to walk over on my own and did so often that I knew each house along the route by heart. Sadly, at some point in my teens, the library turned into a research facility and then dropped out of my life altogether as my paper-writing days waned. I’ve tried to reignite the glory days, testing libraries in each new place I’ve lived, but have always been disappointed. This branch has hours only an unemployed person could possibly use. That branch has staffers specially trained to make you feel guilty for borrowing materials if you look even remotely moneyed enough to be able to buy your own. Eventually, I gave up and did exactly that, leaving the libraries of the world to those less fortunate than I and pretty much filling up all the wonderful, floor-to-ceiling bookcases that lined two rooms of our house. And then, we moved.

Without fabulous built-in bookcases, the 23 boxes of books we had were stuck without a home. Our few portable bookcases filled up fast. We diverted five boxes of paperbacks to a neighbor in the old street. Two more were liquidated at a garage sale in the new ‘hood. The remaining twelve boxes are stashed in the spare room, a cardboard reminder that we really shouldn’t buy any more books.

For a time, magazines sufficed. We signed up for a few publications, read them and recycled them and reveled in having something to read that didn’t require shelf space. After a while, though, we realized something was missing, namely books. We missed reading books.

So, in the name of being frugal (both financially and in terms of storage), we visited the library in our new town….and there was MUCH rejoicing.

Our new library has useful hours. The staff are polite and helpful and generally seem happy that people are using the library. Best of all, you can access your library record on-line and reserve books – the library will call when your reserved items are ready to be picked up and you can swing by to get them. The only thing that might make me happier is if they delivered.

For two years, we’ve been exemplary library patrons. We’ve had the odd fine but we’re generally very prompt and typically feel a mix of shame and sheepishness when returning something late and paying a fine….until now. You see, I’m in the middle of a rather weighty tome that came with a very short borrowing window as a lot of people have holds on it. Also, because of the holds, you can’t renew it. I’m enjoying the story and there is no way I’ll be done by the due date, so I figured I’d return it and just buy a copy. I can probably loan my copy out to two or three friends and might even read it again myself – it would get quite a lot of use. I mentioned my plan to a librarian friend, bibliofilly. She looked at me incredulously and said, “Just don’t return it. Really, it’s not like the fine will crush you – it’s only ten cents per day.” This from a librarian? A directive to willfully not return a book on time? Riiiiight.

I’ve been stewing on it, though and, in thirty-two minutes, I will officially be a library renegade. My heart is already pounding a bit. I know when the book is due. I know where the book is. I’m just not bringing it back! I am sitting here specifically NOT leaping into my car with the book to get to the library before it closes. Worse, I’m going to take it out of state at the weekend. Chris can speed all he wants…if there are flashing lights in the rearview, it will likely be the literary police looking for my overdue book.

22 May 2006

Spring Thaw

As the world warms to spring, so do the depths of our freezer. Yesterday we discovered a no-longer frozen ice-cream soup and some slightly thawed bricks of other things, prompting a Stern Lecture on how the children are not to go in the freezer unattended until they are at least ten years old. At least! We tossed the spoiled ice cream, cleaned up the stickiness and firmly closed the freezer, figuring the meat hadn't defrosted enough for any horrible things to spawn. This morning, a freezer check revealed the entire contents of the freezer unfrozen. Still very, very cold but all pliable. UGH. The good news is that I usually let the frozen stores wane in spring and summer, when it is unlikely that weather will prevent a weekly shopping run. The bad news is that I still had a good two weeks of meat stored and now it's all got to be eaten or at least cooked before I can refreeze it. Anyone have a good recipe for cooked chicken or cooked maple-flavored breakfast sausage? We'll do something with the beef this week and I left the chops I just stuck in there last night, figuring they were never frozen in the first place. I'm considering installing a siren that will blare if the freezer door is open. I think it would be less annoying than periodically having to cook everything all at once.

13 May 2006

The seven days of Mother's Day

On the first day of Mother's Day, my true love gave to me: A full-garden Roto-tilling spree!

On the second day of Mother's Day, my bug love gave to me: A sequinned jewelry box, hand painted with pictures of me (and an island...)!

Also on the second day of Mother's Day (because we were just too excited), my little love gave to me: A lovely purple orchid in a black pot with a "cracky crack here, see?" (this plant selected particularly for the interesting noise made by the plastic pot when you play with the crack in the edge...)

Still on the second day of Mother's Day (but we CAN'T wait!), my two loves gave to me: A self decorated cookie with lots of frosting so you can share with me (and me!)

On the third (phew!) day of Mother's Day, my true love gave to me: a beautiful white orchid ("it goes with my purple and you really can't wait, Daddy!")

On the fourth day of Mother's Day all my loves gave to me: a trip to the garden center to choose plants for the newly tilled gardens (no, thank you, I do not want an apple tree...).

On the fifth day of Mother's Day my true loves gave to me: Chinese take-out dinner so we could use our new hashi.

On the sixth day of Mother's Day my NHL hockey team gave to me: a second-round playoff victory!!

On the seventh day of Mother's Day (and the only one actually celebrated by most other people) we'll have blueberry pancakes, we'll plant in the gardens, we'll lunch on leftover Chinese, we'll finally eat the cookie, we'll enjoy both the orchids, and I'll put some golden rings in the box meant for jewelry...

12 May 2006

New Things

This has been my week for trying new things. Among the most memorable:

* Making mint juleps. What a production! Quite fun, but too much work for any other reason than a Kentucky Derby party.

* Riding an MTA NYC bus. In fourteen years of living and working in here, I've always used the subway but a co-worker insisted that the bus was the way to get from where we were to where I needed to be, so I gave it a go. I must have had a "new guy" look (despite work outfit and briefcase) because the lady next to me thought that I was a tourist and kept pointing out landmarks.

* A frozen and then thawed Cadbury Creme Egg. This was an experiment to see if buying a load of them on sale at 25 cents each was going to be a good idea. The thawed version was tasty, but the freezing/thawing process makes the fondant center much more solid (think Whitman's creme centers) than the never frozen version. I prefer Creme Egg centers runny, so will stick to buying only as much as can be reasonably eaten during Creme Egg season. Please note there is no danger to the Cadbury company finances as my normal seasonal consumption probably ensures the regional guy here does pretty well.

* A deep-tissue massage. It was not a very relaxing massage to get although I felt good afterwards, as if I'd just completed an invigorating workout. I will probably not have another - I'd rather play hockey to get that just-worked-out feeling and have a relaxing massage.

* A Starbucks Mochacino. I usually order the Frappacino - a frozen confection with whipped cream and caramel that can't even pretend to be coffee. It was sort of cold, though, and I figured maybe the hot version would be equally sugary and good. Alas, the mochacino tries to hard to be coffee but misses by having too much goop in it. I don't like goop in actual coffee.

What new things did you do?

07 May 2006

This is why I can't buy pants.

I was all happy about gaining some hockey weight until I started outgrowing my pants. Shopping, always a favorite hobby - especially when sanctioned by actually needing something rather than just going for a recreational jaunt - has lately been more an exercise in frustration than anything else. On each attempt, I've selected items one size larger than what's in my closet and gone to try them on. Uniformly, they fall to my ankles. Discouraged by the gulf between two sizes and disappointed that I won't be able to justify the pretty new skirt, I'll go get the item in the size I usually wear...just to imagine wearing it. Lo and behold, TOO BIG. The next size down from that, the smallest size in the store, also turns out to be too large. ??? I've gained enough weight and bulk to pop buttons off my waistbands at home, but can't hold up pants a size smaller in the store? At last, official word that I am not psychotic: 0 is the new 8 - The Boston Globe.

There is some satisfaction in being able to order from L.L.Beans and Land's End kids' catalogs, where a shirt in Girls is usually considerably less expensive than the identical shirt in the Womens section. I'm not much for "skorts" though, and it would be nice have a choice of prints other than pastel daisies...

01 May 2006

Six weird things

This meme-based episode brought to you by Epiphany Alone and the number 6, as in six weird things about me:

1. I can split my toes as in making the "Live Long and Prosper" sign or saying "Nanu-nanu" to someone from Ork.

2. I can't fall asleep if my feet are cold.

3. Certain kinds of alcoholic drinks, Robitussin, and Mon Cheri cherries make me sneeze uncontrollably.

4. I am obsessive about cleaning my ears because I had a cat who either liked ear wax or assumed I was her kitten and therefore it was her duty to keep me clean. If I missed even one morning with the Q-tips, I'd find myself with a cat tongue in my ear the moment I sat down somewhere. Eeeeeew!

5. I put cream in the bottom of my mug first and then pour the coffee on top of it.

6. I can remember minute details about books I've read once, but can see a movie multiple times and still not be able to tell you who was in it or what it was about.


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