25 June 2007

Believe It Or Not, This Took Me All Day

Tagged by Joy, whom I will meet this weekend!

1 Where is your cell phone? desk

2 Relationship? loving
3 Your hair? damp
4 Work? excessive
5 Your sister? nurse!
6 Your favorite things? cleaned up
7 Your dream last night? confusing
8 Your favorite drink? latte / scotch
9 Your dream car? Audi TT
10 The room you're in? ex-cluttery :)
11 Your shoes? barefoot
12 Your fears? at bay
13 What do you want to be in 10 years? respected
14 Who did you hang out with this weekend? husband
15 What are you not good at? following
16 Muffins? cranberry-orange
17 Wish-list item? kitchen
18 Where you grew up? Amherst
19 The last thing you did? chatted
20 What are you wearing? shorts
21 What are you not wearing? bra
22 Your pet? shedding
23 Your computer? kick-ass
24 Your life? blessed
25 Your mood? tired
26 Missing? socks
27 What are you thinking about? 7am train
28 Your car? happy-dance
29 Your kitchen? disintegrating
30 Your summer? quixotic
31 Your favorite color? green – no – purple … AAAAAIIIIIGHGHGH!
32 Last time you laughed? today
33 Last time you cried? movie
34 School? summer!
35 Love? muchly
36 Tag? two

Fraukow, because you can probably do this one while vegging.

Colleen, who might just be able to get this out faster than I managed to - if she's not in the, er, necessary...

21 June 2007

Party Study

A study has shown that parties with more than fifty guests aged eight or under are best when there's tie-dying.

He's not taking a swing at anyone, he's showing how he managed to get purple dye on the back of his shoulder. Oh, and also a bit on his face...

Lars, the Cowboy Booted Viking

20 June 2007

Summer Haircuts and Fewer Teeth

Today was the first day of summer vacation! The kids sprang out of bed early to enjoy a rainy morning catching up on episodes of Avatar - The Last Airbender and, when Daddy got up, Star Wars. During the scene where Darth Vader chokes the General, Ross pulled out another tooth! Shown here, to best advantage against a red ribbon backdrop and then below, just under a sporty new summer haircut:


Two privately performed selections from the Kindergarten Flag Day Show, for your amusement. First, a solo:

Lyrics, as performed:

My country 'tis of thee
Sweet land of liberty
Of thee I see
Land where my faaaaa....r (*gasp*)
Land where the Pilgrims hide
Of every mountainside
Let freedom bring

And, a duet, lyrics evident:

19 June 2007

School's Out For Summer

Lars carefully selected his own outfit for his Last Day of Kindergarten. Grandmoo will be pleased to know that Lars would sleep in those boots, if only his mother would let him.

Lars Got Mail

A couple of weeks ago, OMSH sent an invitation to participate in a sticker exchange that Kerflop started. I'm not much for chainmail but this was stickers for little kids and even more importantly, Lars was completely excited about the idea of writing to penpals. So, I compromised - Lars selected stickers and wrote notes to the two kids already on the list, but we didn't send the message ahead. In exchange, OMSH sent some stickers to Lars and WOW, was he excited!

First, the package was triangular. Nobody gets a triangular box! In the mail!

Second, there was not a package for Ross! This fact was observed in a 'this event is a special event just for me' sort of way, rather than a 'let me gloat over how much my brother does not have a package' way.

Third, the package contained HOCKEY stickers! They are the fabulous reusable kind that can be moved from playroom to car to bedroom, effortlessly following you through your day. (Note: I earned one Worst Mother point for not allowing him to even try asking the school bus driver if he could bring a window cling on board today.)

After opening the package and examining all the wonderful things inside - DUCKS! MY WINNING DUCKS! AND SABRES! MY FAVORITE GUYS! ON MY FAVORITE HOCKEY TEAM! - Lars set about affixing the return label and the corporate logo sticker carefully to the enclosed packing slip. Done, he handed the packing slip to me with solomn instructions to put it somewhere to keep for always. Then, he bounded off to show everyone in the neighborhood his wonderful new stickers and, if you live in the Western Hemisphere, I'm sure you heard him!

18 June 2007

Anatomy of a Smile

How an eight-year-old smiles (pre-bershon, but not by much):

How an eight-year-old smiles if you say, "fart," just before snapping the pic:

17 June 2007

6:12 am

Happy Father's Day! Breakfast, today, in bed: pancakes (three, cold), banana, 1/2 gallon OJ (with glass & bonus GIANT PYXY STIK straw), sugar smacks (entire box on bedside table), and Double Bubble; served with a smile and a poem (laying across father's soundly sleeping arm) at 6:12am.

This? This is really what having kids all about!

16 June 2007

Lego Party Aftershock

Lars is looking through the Lego Magazine he got at the birthday party he went to in the Lego Store this week. He points to a page. "I have this guy," another point, "and this one." He waves gently at two other figures on the page, "So, all I need is this guy and that guy. All we have to do is drrrrrriiiive to the Lego Store, and buy this guy and that guy, and then drive home! I will put them together and that's all! It's easy! See?"

15 June 2007

Someone's Got A Secret

"Be right there, Daddy, I need to hide something from you first!"

== a bit later, Chris enters the den... ==

"Now, Daddy, DON'T look in Mama's desk."

Don't give a secret to a six-year-old for safe keeping unless you really want everyone to know.


Last week, my mom fell while rollerblading and broke her wrist. This week, she got upgraded from a full-arm immobilizing splint contraption to a snazzy short cast in the color of her choice (she chose well, I think!). Lars, upon seeing the picture asked, "Why did Grandmoo pick a purple cast?" I told Lars that Grandmoo picked purple to match his bowling ball and his eyes went wide! "She's crazy," he commented, "We can't go bowling with her arm in that purple thing!"

Ross was standing near by, also looking at the picture of Grandmoo's cast. "I want an iPod. That's for Christmas. My iPod. So you know," he said, one finger in the air to accent the presentation of his point. Chris and I stared at him with quizzical grins, wondering how to best address the abrupt segue. Ross didn't seem to register any of our concern and, raising his finger just a bit higher as a flourish, turned and left the room. Think he wants a purple iPod?

14 June 2007

Flag Day Show

The kindergarten gave a Flag Day Show today, featuring songs and poetry enthusiastically performed before an end-of-year party in their classrooms. Here's a clip that should make Aunt Kat smile nostalgically and Grandmoo wonder again how Kath and I managed to survive until adulthood:

13 June 2007

Where's Karen?

If it's Wednesday, I'm off being fabulous at an industry event. More blogging Thursday.

12 June 2007

You Googled What? Update...

I posted about the Google paths to my blog too soon! Today brought this one:

nice words for wife

Not nearly as creepy as Loralee's 'looney tunes porn' search but still not something I'd think of as defining my blog!

(to the tune of "Blue Moon")... New-oo Shoo-ooes

I am a creature of habit. When I find something I like, I stick with it until it falls apart and then I replace it with, if not an exact match, as near a copy as I can find. Partly, I'm lazy. I love to shop but I can't stand the disappointing feeling I get when I like the look of something but it doesn't fit. So, if I like something and it fits well, I'll buy it again and again.

Take loafers. I've worn Bass Weejuns as my everyday "nice" shoes for decades. I've varied the color, brown or black - one lucky time, navy - but the shoes are essentially the same. A pair of Weejuns generally lasts me three or four years and I know it's time to give them up when gel inserts no longer seem to have any magical effect.

When my feet hurt at the end of a day so much that I can no longer ignore the lack of magic, I go to Bass and choose a new pair. My most recent pair were black penny loafers and, while they aren't quite ready for the bin, I took advantage of a good sale (and driving right by the outlet store) and chose a replacement set, this time black with tassels.

The first wearing is always a little uncomfortable. The leather is stiff and squeezes to tightly and they almost cause blisters. The second wearing is better and by the third, the shoes are comfy. This pair, though, the second wearing was only better for one foot - the other still felt tight. The third wearing was torturous! Surely, by the third wearing, a shoe shouldn't be so tight that I have to slip the shoe off my foot every time my feet are under a table! My toes should not tingle! By the train home, I felt betrayed. Two decades of loyal Weejuns
wearing, and they were suddenly not comfortable anymore. Ok, I only felt half betrayed. My right foot was fine - it was only my left that made me want to weep.

Upon my arrival home, Ross and Lars came pelting from the back yard, eager to show me all the lawn plugs Chris had put in. I got into the house and my too-tight shoe came off, forgotten. After dinner, after our walk (different shoes), after cleaning up and a bit of work, I took my new Weejuns upstairs and put them on the shoe rack. The late evening sun caught the new leather and revealed this:

Think that security tag might have anything to do with my comfort experience?

You Googled What?

In the last three days, people have stumbled upon my blog via some amusing Google searches:
  • can chipmunks move cement
  • When does Talbots sale start?
  • ear ache snort salt water
  • knee scab
  • pants with whales on them
  • Can beef be slightly defrosted and then defrosted?
  • chipmunk infestation
  • best songs for your senior year
  • history of the tooth fairy in spring fairy
  • whale pants
  • famous goalie
  • profession with the most tough choices
  • birthday haiku
  • haiku about school
  • enough poem
I hope the searchers are looking for entertainment more than practical advice!

11 June 2007

Spätzle Is Not Cake

I make spätzle (German noodles) often enough that I don't need a recipe to put them together. It's not a rough go - flour, salt, eggs, and just enough water to make the consistency stiffer than batter and not so stiff as dough. I know it's right by how it feels when I pull up on the wooden spoon. The dough is pressed through a spätzle machine into boiling water and is done when the noodles rise to the top. Easy!

So, imagine my confusion when the batch for tonight's dinner came out more like oatmeal than like noodles. I thought maybe the dough was a bit too wet, so I added flour. Then I thought maybe the water wasn't boiling enough? I turned up the heat and waited until there was a roiling boil...but still got sticky goo. The dough was fine. It tasted right and it felt right. The water was ok (how wrong can you go with boiling water?). Chris thought maybe it was the weather but I've made
spätzle in all weathers - it's not fickle like pie crusts.

And then, my eyes landed on my new stack of ice cream bowls. Which made me think of ice cream bread - a recipe we've tried a few times that uses self-rising flour. Which made me think of last week, when I was stuck working in town and Chris made Cherry Stuff for a dessert party at a neighbor's house. Drawing all this together in my head, I finally asked Chris if we still had the ice-cream bread flour (I had it stuck in an inconvenient place, so it wouldn't be confused with all-purpose flour in the bin I use all the time). Chris immediately looked into the inconvenient cupboard and reported that, no, the weird flour wasn't there anymore. So much for having it hidden!

So, a word to the wise (or at least to those cooking
spätzle): Use all-purpose flour. Self-rising flour just doesn't work.

Letters from Carol

Mail that I actually care about has become rare in our mailbox. I call or e-mail almost everyone I know and even our bills are paperless. Much of the post is just junk but, in my sea of all things digital, I have got one completely analog friend.

Carol is Chris' grandmother's cousin, an octogenarian of exacting habit. She lives today almost exactly as she has lived her entire life. "New," in her house, could as easily mean something bought in the 1950's as something obtained last week. Most of Carol's everyday things would be, to anyone else, precious antiques. Bringing children into her home is terrifying! Possibly the scariest thing I've ever done was visit Carol when the boys were toddlers (thankfully nothing was broken!).

Carol is a well-practiced analog correspondent. Her letters arrive faithfully on monogrammed, cream-colored, cotton paper with a good watermark and are full of news. Often, the topic is gardening. Carol is a Master Gardener and I (who can barely claim the title 'recreational gardener') appreciate her help. My letters back usually describe the effects of the last bit of gardening advice. I'm sure Carol is dismayed by some of my reports but she is to much of a lady to ever say so. We also write about hockey, my job, her outings, family news, house projects and history (to me - often personal memories of Carol's). I love having an envelope to stick in my purse as a treat to read while I wait in line somewhere or take the train, the voice of a friend in my head while I sit in a sea of strangers.

Chris clearly gets his miserable penmanship from the family branch Carol is part of and it often takes both of us to figure out what she's written. Rather than annoying, this is part of the fun. We're usually fairly confident we've deciphered the text although we've occasionally called for clarification to someone else who might have had a letter, in case their copy of the news might have been less mysterious.

I used to feel I was the correspondent in our pair who most often owed a response but, in the past year, I've noticed a change. I think the effort it takes to write is becoming more of a strain for Carol. Sometimes she will call instead of crafting a written response and I wonder if her inner "tacky!" alarm goes off while she dials (yes, she still uses a rotary phone). I suppose it would be worse not to respond at all...but Carol is not one for compromise and I'm sure she doesn't like to admit she must make one.

Before me sits my most recent letter from Carol. She wrote it while watching Game 4 of the Stanley Cup playoffs, so her news is peppered with hockey remarks. It's a hand-written note that Chris and I decoded over beer, laughing at some of the potential interpretations and happy when we finally figured out what was really being described. I'm not sure why this letter should be any different from any other I've gotten but this letter feels more precious, somehow. When there are no more letters, I will miss Carol.

10 June 2007

Swaparooni! Pink & Green, part 3

My swap package has arrived! Chris joined me on the porch to open it and the kids appeared shortly after to share the roll of staff photographer. Here's a picture of all the wonderful stuff Sarah sent for me:

The book is called "Edible Gifts" and is full of simple recipes for treats that can be made as gifts. Unlike directions from Martha, these instructions seem feasible. Ross and I have already picked out a couple that we'll try soon!

The socks are the softest things you've ever felt and aren't too heavy - they will be perfect for wearing to bed or when I'm lounging with cream on my feet. There are two little notebooks, one with an elastic band to keep it from flying open in my briefcase and getting the pages crushed. The flower magnets are so cute and the plaid paper case is FABULOUS! I'll use it for storing something in my cubbies, so I'll be able to see it often - it'll make me smile.

Lars took pictures first - my favorite is the one he got of me checking out the little mirror:

After some nudging, he gave the camera to Ross who captured me with the Sour Patch Kids (the look on my face is, "Oh, so you think I'll share these?"):

The box of notecards is a big hit, too! Pink with green frogs!:

Toile! Fraukow is definitely getting a note soon:

Lars likes the polka dot cards best, as they match the box. He also checked to be sure we got all four designs as shown on the package insert. Quality control may be a good career for him...

Ice cream dishes? Already in use!

09 June 2007

Roses in Rerun

We put roses in near our front stairs last year and they're about to bloom now! I'm excited because most of the new plants we put in last year were killed off in the wacky weather we had January through March. We're doing more work in the garden today - new pictures, soon!

08 June 2007

Photo Friday: Dressin' Up

The Crazy Hip Blog Mamas are talking about Dressin' Up today. Here's a shot of the boys from our trip to San Francisco last summer. They clean up well!

Game Over

Hockey Night in Canada did a great end-of-season tribute, thoughtfully put up on YouTube for those of us without access to Canadian stations:

I'm sorry it wasn't our boys at the end but sorrier still for the season to end. Ah, well...there's always next year!

07 June 2007

Will It Blend?

This website cracks me up every time I go but this is possibly my favorite episode:

P.S. I am totally getting this blender when we do the kitchen. Margarita, anyone?

05 June 2007

Chipmunk Eulogy

Imagine, if you will, that "puppies" = "chipmunks" as you listen to this.

Dead puppies may not be much fun, but a dead chipmunk can fascinate a six-year-old. "Look, Mama! You can see its' tooth! And his nose! And he didn't run away!" Uh, no...no, he didn't run away.

Self Portraits of the Artist as a Young Man

And, finally, the picture he was trying to take, of his favorite Sideways Head Pose (note: this one was not self-inflicted):

04 June 2007

Menu Planning

Two recipes before me on colored cards, and I --
I picked the one that matched my manicure.

02 June 2007

Cake For No Reason

I forgot to do a vegetable tonight with dinner. Luckily, there was the corn I'd forgotten to put in whatever I made Tuesday night...so I heated that up. To make up for my inept dinner execution, I put together a cake for dessert (don't get too excited, it was a mix). We watched an episode of Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader? while it baked. [Tangent: I'm pleased to say that, based on the questions offered today, we are mostly smarter than a 5th grader.] I'm also pleased to say that everyone was mostly happy about unexpected cake, although Ross commented that it was really more like bread since there wasn't any frosting. Recognizing this as a setup for getting his PB&J made with unfrosted cake instead of actual bread, I told him that weeknight cake isn't made with frosting. Recognizing that as an attempt to derail his cake sandwich request, Ross replied that we never have cake on weeknights...so it must be something else we were having. I couldn't think of a response that would keep the cake sandwich possibility off the table and also get me out of making weekday cakes more often, so I sent him upstairs to brush his teeth. Parenting: dialogue or dictatorship?

01 June 2007

Friday Surprise - Post of the Day Award!

I was surprised to open e-mail and find I've been given a Post of the Day award by The Rising Blogger for my report on our trip to Arizona! Head over to The Rising Blogger to comment on the post about me and to check out some of the other great blogs Josh has singled out lately.


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