Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Honeymoon is over, Wii-Fit

That's it. I'm done.

Wasabi Girl stepped on and clicked on her profile. While she was getting assessed do you know what that Wii Fit said to her?

"Have you heard? Mommy's not getting enough exercise."

Well, we all heard *that* thankyouverymuch wii fit! What a blabbermouth! And here we had just spent some quality time together today! What kind of a jerk are you, talking about me behind my back?! What genius in game design thought up that strategy?

And not only that, you have some definite weirdness to you that I'm just beginning to discover. My son has a virtual personal trainer who is male. At one point, Jungle Boy went to do a yoga move and the female trainer showed up and said "I hope you don't mind, I'm filling in for your regular trainer." Whaaaaat? Was he on a virtual coffee break or something?

My son has learned to override the running game by sprinting whenever he sees a dog. Then the dog becomes his guide and they sprint together, until another dog shows up. But if he runs too fast, my virtual son falls on his face on the screen, which is hilarious to the rest of us but is starting to make him mad.

One time my son was running, and as he passed a bunch of miis running different directions, he tripped me! er, mii! um my mii - oh you know what I mean. What the heck? I don't think it's very nice to have him trip his mom.

So really, I'm just about ready to throw you out the window, wii fit. The only thing that saves you is that you told me today that I'm 33. You sly dog you. Flattery works for me every time. I'll let you hang around a little while more, but you really have to keep your mouth shut and behave when we're not together, ok?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Note for the not-amused

The following post is a gentle joke, because I'm 99% sure who my stalker is and I think she would get a laugh from reading this. I think she left her computer on and walked away and I think she honestly read my blog because she loves me.

I don't resent my readers and I'm not in a bad mood. Stop leaving anonymous nasty comments.

I love you.

I promise a better, 85% less sarcastic post tomorrow.

- 2/3

Statcounter: Crack for bloggers

Dear Reader in Kirkland Washington,

That was an impressive visit you made here on Wednesday. I'm so glad you stopped by. Did you know you spent 4 hours and 11 minutes cruising around my blog? I do, because I have statcounter.

Statcounter is free to set up, and more addictive than anything I have yet experienced. Hardly an hour goes by that I don't pass by my my computer and check in. OOOh! some more page loads! Oh boy - returning visits! I feel so loved.

I can even look at *you* Mr/Ms Kirkland Washington. I know you're browsing from Kirkland Washington for example. And that you have a monitor that has 1024 x 768 resolution.

You loaded 57 pages of my blog. Honey, I really think you need to get yourself a hobby. I didn't even know I had 57 pages on my blog. Are we related? Do I owe you money? Am I that entertaining (I really don't think so). Maybe you're writing some sort of tell-all book about my family, or a dissertation on abnormal psychology.

I know too much about you, so if you don't mind I'll just call you "Kirkland." Is that internet explorer version 6 working well on your Windows XP? And I'm glad you've got javascript enabled, it's making me think I should put some cute animation all over my blog.

Do you feel a wee bit uncomfortable? Like I'm stalking you? Welcome to my world.

But since you've spent 4 hours and 11 minutes of quality time with me, don't you think you could help me out, now that you know me so well? Maybe come down and babysit the kids? Maybe join me for a trip to Disneyland? I happen to know you found me via

Or maybe, just maybe. . .leave me an itty bitty comment? Just one? Thanks! luvyameanit

Now I have to go upgrade my statcounter account. Isn't that how dealers work? Starts out free because they know wild cravings will bring the customers back. See what you've done Kirkland? I'm hooked. I need to know more about you.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hobnobbing with celebrities

I lead such a glamorous life in my minivan that I sometimes forget to mention the famous people who flock to me in droves. First, my beloved sister-in-law, who is featured prominently in this ad for the upcoming movie "You Don't Mess With The Zohan"**

Then there's Brad Lewis, the producer of Ratatouille. He's the mayor of our small town and last night Drama Girl and I met him at a reception honoring volunteer tutors. It went like this;

[me] "Go introduce yourself. Tell him you loved Ratatouille!"

[Drama Girl, rolling eyes] "Mom! No!"

"C'mon, I'll get my friend who knows him to introduce you!"

[silence from Drama Girl, who was probably wishing she was anyplace else]

I got the friend to introduce us, and Mr. Lewis was very enthusiastic and kind. He has a young daughter who was there.

"Nice to meet you, Drama Girl!"


[me, bending close to Drama Girl's face as if I'm a ventriloquist] "We really liked Ratatouille!"

"Thank you."

[still me, because the one in the company who is the actual target audience for Disney/Pixar animated features refused to say anything] "What are you working on now?"

"I'm writing Cars 2. It should be out in about 4 years"

"Really?! [feigned enthusiasm] How cool is that? What's going to happen?"

"Well, Lighting McQueeen and Mater are going to go overseas this time."

"Great! Do you have any parts for 11 year old girl voice talent? [hey, if I'm going to embarrass her, I'm going the whole 9 yards!]

"umm, yeah, maybe"

And that was our scintillating conversation. Aren't you impressed? And now you can tell all your friends you got the scoop on the next Cars movie.

OK, back to the minivan.

**she's the girl on the speakerphone

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Haiku Wednesday 2: Road Trip

First stop a diner
You know hot chocolate's good if
Whipped cream's on your nose.

Hotel's magic door
Kids couldn't find the way out
Left them there for hours.

Little cousin came
What's better in the rain than
Cartoons and snuggle?

Ear piercing shop
Where they know even big girls
Need a teddy bear.

Hotel toiletries
Shampoo, condition, lotion
But there is no soap!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Coyotes, Flying Garlic, and Belly Dancers: Not Your Typical Wedding

Although thunderstorms were predicted for the wedding day, we awoke to mere showers. At breakfast, however, the real storm appeared. Someone had turned on the hormone faucet in our dear sweet 11 year old. She gave new meaning to the word sullen. It was ugly. It was clear she didn't want to be anywhere near her parents, her family, or any form of happiness or frivolity. Of all days, why did this have to happen when she needed to participate in a big family wedding?

I had to pull a rabbit out of a hat, and it had to be a big one. I don't advocate bribery very often, but it was an important day. I pulled her aside and made a solemn promise: "If you can find it within yourself to be pleasant and cheerful and cooperative and enthusiastic today, I will take you to get your ears pierced." That was one of the last big rabbits in my magic mommy hat, and I held my breath for her answer.

The clouds parted, her eyes brightened, and all at once, the delightful girl I knew was back. Now we just had to figure out the rest of the wedding day challenges.

The girls' dresses for the wedding were sundresses with little spaghetti straps. Wasabi Girl had forgotten to pack even a sweater. We needed wraps, if not trench coats for this outdoor wedding. While we were at the local mall we found an earring shop and both girls got their ears pierced.

Then my husband had to go to the wedding venue early to cover a bunch of swastikas with contact paper. As I understand it, the original symbolism of the swastika was something much more peaceful then it was in Hitler's day. This historic ranch had them all over. The groom's side is Jewish. Apparently there are Jewish weddings there all the time and people just cover the swastikas up.

On to the wedding itself. The cantor who was officiating began by teaching us all how to sing a Niggun - a wordless melody we all sang while the bridal procession began. First came Drama Girl, laughing and blowing bubbles.

Then Wasabi Girl, very serious, dropping petals along the path.

Then Jungle Boy with a little box with the rings and finally the bride, laughing and practically skipping. Her joy was infectious. Although there was a light misty rain we didn't feel it under the canopy of trees. Someone later said they saw a coyote far out in the adjacent orange orchard.

The ceremony was beautiful and eclectic, drawing from many cultures and traditions. Here's the groom shattering the glass at the end:

The place settings at the reception each had a bulb of garlic (they both love to cook) and a cd of the couple's favorite songs. The bride and groom entered the reception led by a belly dancer with a candelabra on her head.

When the bride stood up to speak, someone started throwing the garlic at her. The belly dancers came back several times to dance in different costumes. Female guests stuck dollar bills in the male belly dancer's pants.

A cousin did the Jewish dance with a bottle balanced on his head.

Then he led everyone in the Greek dancing, including a long line of dancing guests with clasped hands that snaked all the way around the reception area and back. The couple was hoisted up on chairs. The wedding cake was elaborate cupcakes with edible flowers and baklava on the side.

It was wild. It was a blast. It didn't rain. The kids were perfect. This was their first wedding. It took all my strength to keep a straight face as I told them "all weddings are just like this."

Pity Me Today

I'm somewhere in a car, with tired kids, who may or may not have been to Disneyland, who definitely have to go to school tomorrow, who are, without doubt, driving me a little crazy.

Please recall that thanks to the magic of blogger, I am posting this from last Thursday. I'll be back live tomorrow. . .

Pity meeeeeeeee. . .

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Where Am I?

It's Sunday. The wedding is over. The original plan was to kick back by the pool at the hotel and just chill.

But we're less than an hour from Disneyland. I love Disneyland like I love, well, breathing.

My husband has suggested I explore local quilt shops today. Disneyland will certainly be crowded. . .

Hmmm. . .where have I decided to go?

((I'm pre-posting this from last Thursday.))

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I'm Still Not Here

Today should be interesting. My beloved Sister-In-Law is getting married. Drama Girl gets to walk down the aisle blowing bubbles, Wasabi Girl gets to toss flower petals, and Jungle Boy is the ring bearer.

I wish joy to everyone celebrating a wedding or an anniversary today. I've made a beautiful special wedding quilt for the bride and groom. I'd post a picture except my camera is packed at the moment (I'm writing this Thursday night) and I didn't upload the pictures of it yet.

In fact, I wish joy to everyone who has found anyone special to snuggle with for the rest of their days. Go kiss someone you love!

((sorry if you left comments and they're not getting posted - I'm writing these in advance and scheduling them. I really love your comments and I'll post them the minute I get back!))

Friday, May 23, 2008

I'm not here

I'm on the road today with my kids, on the way to my husband's sister's wedding in beautiful tornado-filled Southern California. Wish me luck. I'm testing out the "schedule posts" feature - so you see, I'm not really here.

The kids are great car travelers. We take long car trips a lot, and I'm such a mean mom that we don't even have one of those dvd players for the car. I just firmly believe that we were not put on the planet to be entertained by electronics 24/7 (says the woman with the laptop addiction).

So we'll have about 6 hours of travel time today plus breaks. I'm all ready with a cache of special treats for the car. But I don't just hand these out when they whine - that would be too simple, and would reward whining. No, I've created little coupon books that they each get at the start of the trip. Every hour they get to trade in a coupon for a prize. I used to spell out exactly what the coupons were for, but this time I disguised my treats. Here's the list of what the coupons say and what they really are.:

"Cosmic" - Starburst candy pack
"Measuring Tool" - Fruit by the foot
"Slimy/Crumbly" - cheese and cracker pack
"Wild Animals" - animal crackers
"Not Candy" - Some sour horrible candy stuff. I argue with my kids all the time that candy, by definition has to be sweet.
"Fine Literature" - I have American Girl quiz books for the girls and a Nintendo magazine for Jungle Boy. Completely mindless. They'll love them.
"Stupid kiddy toy" - New Tomagotchis. The ones they have are a few generations old. They'll love these. I know, electronics, but not mind numbing, brain sucking electronics. Plus, they're interactive, so the kids will play with each other.

If this is like past car trips, the kids will be watching the dashboard clock, and the minute it hits a new hour, the coupons will fly up to the front seat for me. It's fun.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wii Fit: Love It.

Santa got us a Wii last Christmas (which is proof in itself that there is a Santa, because the kids know that there's no way on earth we would have bought one). I've had a lot of fun playing various titles but this one is by far my new favorite.

I pre-ordered it at our local Toys R Us and wandered over there yesterday to pick it up. There was a line of people waiting outside the store for it to open. Hardcore gamers. Asserting their place in line. All of them mommies! We were all laughing. Some told stories of long lines and assigned numbers to buy game systems or titles in the past for their kids. Some had grown kids and could speak at length about product scarcity and overnight vigils. One woman told a Cabbage Patch Doll tale that left us all wide-eyed. We were all there for the same reason. We were getting Wii Fit for ourselves. We bonded in that way mommies can, just like kids at a playground.

When the doors opened, we walked in an orderly fashion to the game department and lined up. All those determined moms must have looked a sight, because the clerk picked up his phone and called for backup. He had some reason to be nervous though. He had a huge stack behind the counter that were pre-orders and about six out on the floor that weren't spoken for yet. I'm sure it got ugly when that last one sold. I paid for mine and left, declining his offers to buy a coordinating towel and travel case. (Seriously Nintendo, a towel?)

Then the fun began. It took all of about a minute to pop the batteries into the platform, sync it up with the wii and start the software. I stepped on the platform. It *groaned* at me! It asked me all sorts of personal questions. Then, in a gentle voice it told me that I am - are you ready for this - out of shape. Go figure. If ever you want to hear someone tell you all the ways you are out of shape/off balance/clumsy, I think the only acceptable way is if that voice is a soulless piece of electronics that speaks gently to you in the privacy of your own home. Nobody else needs to know. It even told me what age my body acts, which is not the age I really am, and certainly not my mental age. Shhh shhhh. Let's just keep this between ourselves wii fit. Then it casually asked if I wanted to put a password on my data. Very caring and sensitive, that wii fit.

On to the exercises. Yoga 1: How to breathe. Nothing like getting positive reinforcement right off the bat. The personal trainer I picked acted like I was some sort of prodigy. (You have your choice of a male or female trainer. Unfortunately you don't get any choice of face. I think it would be even more fun if you could get, say, Johnny Depp, to talk you through your routines, but I digress.)

Once I showed the wii what a great breather I was, I tried out nearly all the exercises. What a blast. I have a severely arthritic hip which leads me to limp most days, but I could handle everything. Many moves have you try to keep a small red dot within a larger circle as you work, to show that you are staying aligned and in balance. It's this feedback that makes it like a game. I think I probably used better alignment and positioning (and breathing! let's not forget breathing!) than when I used a live personal trainer in the past.

To add to your sense of accomplishment and feed your competitive side, it gives you scores and puts you on a leaderboard like any other game. It sets up charts and reminds you often to work daily towards your goals. It counts every minute of every exercise and adds them up in a bank. How fun is that? After you reach certain levels, you are rewarded with more unlocked exercises.

I'm in love. Let's see how long the honeymoon lasts.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Haiku Wednesday

Put cookbook on stove
While drinking wine and chatting
Smelled something burning


Parade Saturday
Kids got lots of free candy
I got spatula

So I made pancakes
Didn't measure carefully
Too thick! Mickey Moose.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Moms Don't Know Anything: Hair Edition

I'll confess I did something terrible about a year ago. Something I would hesitate to suggest to other moms unless they really have the guts to follow through with the fallout. I betrayed my daughter's trust and put a little scar in our relationship which I think will never be forgotten or forgiven by her.

She has, and did have then, pretty long hair. She needed longish hair so that she could easily put it up in a bun for ballet class. It also seems to be the style with her friends. But she didn't take care of it. I have curly hair and she inherited a fair amount of curl, which made her long hair messy if she didn't brush it out. I nagged and nagged. Nagging never works. I took the brush into my own hands and struggled with the inevitable tangles. I got lots of tears and screams for my efforts. I got promises of better upkeep. But it didn't happen. I told her repeatedly "if you don't take care of it, we have to cut it off."

So I did it. I took her to a local salon. She agreed to go for "just a trim." The girl who owns it is a friend of mine. You see where this is going. While Drama Girl sat in the chair and said "just trim the ends," I stood behind her and silently motioned to my friend with a horizontal karate chop movement above my shoulder. The universal sign for "CHOP IT OFF!" My friend not only understood, she took it from there, explaining to my daughter that there was so much damage (she exaggerated) that she was going to have to cut it short. Then she turned the chair away from the mirror and the locks started hitting the floor.

The results, as you can imagine, were devastating for Drama Girl. It took all the strength she had not to cry, and the effort to repress the tears contorted her face into a look of utter agony. When it was all over, the stylist turned the chair to the mirror and I hung my head when I saw my daughter's expression. But, I told myself then and I tell myself now - it had to be done. Rat's nests in hair are just not acceptable.

We had a bad period after that. Then the busyness of life took over and we tussled with other issues, like music practice and homework. But her oft-repeated line was "I'm never letting you take me to get my hair cut again!" I don't blame her for saying that.

Now the hair has grown out, and we have had a couple of monstrous rat's nests to tussle with. She complains less when I work them out, and I think she understands better that *she* is the one who can prevent these scenes.

But this weekend we are going to a wedding in which she will be a flower girl, so I had to insist we take her to a salon to trim the ragged ends. She understood, but she had a counter-proposal.

"I want to have side bangs."

"What?" said I, picturing short hair over each ear and long hair front and back.

"Just this little bit of hair cut short and on the side," she said, grabbing a lock of hair on the front and plastering it against her forehead. It looked totally bizarre. I bit my tongue. I thought quickly. I wanted to give her some sort of hair victory in our relationship, but what she was describing sounded freaky. It sounded like what you would do if a child got gum in their hair and you had to cut a chunk of it off.

"Can you show me a picture?"

Her eyes rolled. "Mom, EVERYONE is cutting their hair this way!"

It took about three more dead-end conversations before she dragged out a yearbook and started pointing to friends. These are friends I see every day but I guess I just really don't notice their hair. In the pictures, it just looks like it's parted on the side and the long strands are tucked behind an ear or something. I found it hard to believe someone would actually *cut* their hair asymmetrically like that. I resolved to fight my instincts and let her do it though.

When we walked in the shop the stylist was very cool about not giving me a high-five. She knows what a struggle it's been to get Drama Girl back in there. When Drama Girl described what she wanted, the stylist said "oh! sideswept bangs! Those will look great on you!" They have a name?! Not only that, but when I sat down with the obligatory People magazine, I paged through and saw that indeed, *everyone* is getting this odd asymmetrical haircut.

What do I know. I'm just a mom.

In related news, Jungle Boy is currently mad at me for *his* haircut.

When he was little, I took them all to the kiddie haircut shop. They got to sit on a dolphin and were promised a sucker if they sat still. Instructions for his hair were always the easiest: "Number 4." Number 4 was the razor length for perfect little boy hair. Nothing fancy, no chance for the crazy curls to stick out, nice and cool in the summer.

Then as he got older, daddy took over and the boys went to the barber shop. I'm pretty sure there are nudie magazines there but I've got to trust my husband.

I don't know what goes on at these barber shops but they 1) require an appointment and 2) take forever and worst of all 3) give pretty much the worst haircuts I have ever seen. Jungle boy was coming home with a millimeter off the sides and hair six inches long on the top. I hated it. It seemed to get worse every time the boys went in.

My chance came this week, however, as we prepare to depart for the wedding. Jungle Boy is the ring-bearer (or Frodo, as he explains), so I took him in for a cut. Number 4. I love it. He hates it. I've noticed though, that every other boy in his class has a similar cut - some even shorter. I'm not the only mom who doesn't know anything about hair I guess.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Photographic Evidence of Alien Abduction

I've heard of this before. Perfectly normal pre-teen girls abducted by aliens and replaced by clones who appear similar in appearance but exhibit bizarrely different behavior from the original. I never believed it until today. Last night I entered Drama Girl's room which is usually a pit of despair and found the following items:

This is a multi-level bunk bed she created for her American Girl dolls and all their junk. It is organized on every level. Note the carefully arranged stuffed animals. Not the work of human hands.

I'm not sure, because I've never seen it before, but I believe this flat surface is actually the top of Drama Girl's desk.

This is clever, because Drama Girl might actually do something like this, if she could find all these pieces. This represents about $30 spent for tokens for stupid kiddy-arcade games at a pizza place. She turned in her winning tickets for this junk. Please somebody, tell me your daughter collects garbage like this. I'm saving this photo to show her when she comes home from college someday asking for a loan.

Call Scully and Mulder. I'm dusting for fingerprints. But please, oh wise beings from afar who have taken my real daughter, don't return her just yet - I'm really enjoying this one.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My Favorite Galleries of Disaster

If you're like me and love to chuckle at disasters that aren't your own, or if you're just the rubbernecker type in general, here are some fun galleries.

Worst Quilt in the World Contest hosted by Ami Simms. Makes me feel like a quilting genius.

Deborah Henson-Conant is apparently a much better harpist than cook. Check out her burnt food museum.

If laughter is the best medicine, James Lileks has probably saved my life. I nearly peed my pants when I first perused his Gallery of Regrettable Food. Interior Desecrations reviews how horrible interior design really was in the 70s. Fess up, your parents had rooms like these.

I'm a sucker for saccharin-cute pictures of little animals on cute, but when I really want some pictures of cats with weird snarky captions in text-speak, I head over to i can has cheezburger. Pointless. I love it.

Bad celebrity clothing. Doesn't get more fun to watch than that.

Tell me yours.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Ever Stab Yourself in the Chest?

Friday, May 16, 2008

It's So Hot

Ophelia broke a string in protest. Poor old girl.

Rick Riordan Rocks

Looks like some cool mom got shirts for her kids to decorate. What's that? You don't know who Percy Jackson is? He's the hero of a set of books by Rick Riordan. Just a normal, dyslexic, ADD kid, who discovers that not only are the Greek Gods really immortal, but he's a son of Poseidon. The first chapter of the first book is titled "I Accidentally Vaporize My Pre-Algebra Teacher." The book just gets better from there.

I'm pretty sure only an 11 year old girl could get away with a shirt like this. "I like my men half god." That's a sword beneath it. Percy has a pen that turns into a sword. I had nothing to do with decorating these shirts, I was cooking dinner.

Absolutely dumbstruck at meeting her hero. I asked all the kids who they would rather meet; JK Rowling or Rick Riordan. It was unanimous - Rick Riordan. He's just too cool. (And yes, she did finally put pants on over her ballet tights when we went out.)

"I love Percy" Drama girl painted this on her friend's nails.

This was just an amazing experience. Clearly, the bookstore that hosted this signing expected about 100 kids. About 300 showed up, and *packed* themselves into a room, where you could have heard a pin drop as the author read the first chapter of his newest book. Let me add that we had record heat here yesterday and it was probably over 100 degrees in that room. To see all those kids absolutely riveted to this author was like watching some kind of powerful magic at work. Most of them were boys. One mom and I were chatting outside the door and she said "my sons think he's a rock star." It was an evening to renew hope in the literacy of our youth.

Not only that, but when Mr. Riordan was finished reading, he started giving away tee-shirts to kids who could answer questions about Greek mythology. The questions started pretty easy and got harder and harder. All 300 kids were flailing their arms in the air in their eagerness to answer them all. It was amazing what they knew. Drama Girl's friend got a shirt for correctly answering a question. I don't remember the question, but the answer was "the goddess Nike." Do *you* know who the goddess Nike was? I sure didn't.

Rock on Rick Riordan, we love your books.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

They call me a "Stay at Home Mom"

Here's today's schedule:
8:00-8:30 Open car doors at the elementary school. Remind people for the billionth time to **PUUUUUUULLLLL FORWAAAAAAAAARD** while I wave my hands frantically.

Before 10:00 Get either the piano teacher or my piano tuner friend to come with me to test drive the piano I found on Craigslist.

10:00 Test drive the piano I found on Craigslist. What I know about pianos you could fit into a thimble.

12:30-1:30 Lunch with the girls at the new Mediterranean restaurant.

1:30-2:30 Tutor. My favorite part of the week.

2:30 Pick up Drama Girl and her friend S. at the middle school.

2:45 Pick up Jungle Boy and Wasabi Girl and their friend V. at the elementary school.

3:00 Drive them all to our house where everyone except Wasabi Girl will change into ballet clothes and have some fabulous after-school snack I will prepare.

3:30 Drive the ballet crew to the ballet school. Simultaneously drop Wasabi girl off at her piano lesson.

4:00 Pick up Wasabi girl.

4:30 Pick up Jungle Boy and Drama Girl and S. and drive everyone home again.

5:00 Drop Wasabi Girl at her next softball playoff. I just noticed I'll probably have to feed her something before she goes.

5:30 Cook Rats on a Stick. Remind me to post the recipe sometime.

6:30 Drop Jungle Boy at his piano lesson.

7:00 Pick up Jungle Boy

7:00 Take Jungle Boy, Drama Girl and her friend S. over to see author Rick Riordan at the local public library.

Sometime later, I will put my feet up and have an adult beverage, if you know what I mean. Then I'll realize I never picked up Wasabi girl from her game. (ha ha, not really, my husband will do that.)

In the over-achiever category, I *could* make "Percy Jackson fan club" tee-shirts for Drama girl and her friend, or buttons or something. I could work on that quilt I'm trying to finish. I have to RSVP a few parties for the kids and do some work for my tutoring program. And of course, if that piano works out, I'll have to arrange payment and movers.

So now I'm wondering, how many times will I be forced to implement a Plan B today? Place your bets now. I think I'll set up a poll.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My groceries are cuter than yours

I made 4 of these shopping bags from a pattern on Craftster. They make me smile every time I use them.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Another typical day in the land of chaos

Today I did the following:
Triple checked with Drama girl that she had packed her ballet gear so she could carpool with a friend straight to ballet class after school,
posted on my blog,
assembled and distributed end-of-year tutoring assessments to teachers,
cleaned cat poop,
worked on a quilt,
went to one store to get some more fabric for the quilt,
went to another store to get batting for the quilt because I forgot to get it at the first store,
did a load of laundry
cleaned cat barf,
found a piano on Craigslist,
called the piano teacher to see if she could test drive the Craigslist piano and to ask her for "The Entertainer" for Jungle Boy and "Fur Elise" for Wasabi girl,
went to the store and got a slab of animal flesh to throw into the crock pot because the whole dinner scene looked a little vague,
got a ton of groceries while I was there,
did another load of laundry because I'd forgotten to wash Wasabi girl's softball uniform
picked up a frantic phone call from drama girl who didn't go home with her ride from school because she forgot to pack her ballet gear,
picked up drama girl and took her and jungle boy to ballet class,
waved to the mailman,
discovered, once at the ballet studio, that jungle boy had forgotten his ballet bag with his shoes and drama girl had forgotten to put hair pins in her ballet bag
drove home again to get them,
waved to the mailman again on the way,
drove back to the ballet school,
waved to the mailman, who continued to wave back, but looked a little concerned,
dropped jungle boy and Drama girl,
drove back home,
waved to the mailman again, who pretended he didn't see me,
suggested to my favorite webmaster that he put favicons on his site (he did!)
collected a stack of books to offer to friend who is going on a trip,
took a 20 minute power nap,
jumped in the car again to pick up Jungle Boy and Drama girl,
the mailman appeared to have finally finished his route, so I couldn't wave,
loaned books to friend, and learned from her that Drama girl is supposed to have an essay written on math project,
everybody except husband home at one time, so slab of flesh removed from crock pot and distributed on bread as everyone changed clothes and prepared to run out the door again,
UPS guy arrived with another book from Amazon for me! Wanted to drop everything but resisted,
Cleaned more cat barf. What is going on with these cats?
gently prodded Drama girl to quit reading comics and please get homework and piano practice done,
bribed everyone with hot dogs at the game if they would get their stuff done
drove Wasabi girl to softball playoff warm up,
wrote this.

Now I'm home from the game and I found a link to this in my email. Wow. Girls rock. Here's to softball and all the great girls who play it - including Wasabi girl, who helped win our playoff game. Grab a kleenex and enjoy.

Touching Them All

Hospice or Euthanasia?

I've loved you since I was 10 years old. It hasn't always been an easy relationship, and I'm not going to say I was always happy to see you. We've seen the highs and lows of passion and intensity and utter neglect. But through it all, you were always there for me, waiting for me to come around again.

You haven't been strong lately. Not as strong as you used to be, and we both know it. I suspected something was going on for a while now. I'm sorry. I'm sorry that you can't live forever, or at least longer than me. These things happen, and when the specialist told me the news yesterday I nearly wept. How can such a relationship end like this? Memories have been flooding back over the past hours of all the happy hours we've spent together. Even the not-so-happy hours.

The poor children. They'll recover faster than I will, but will they ever know what a special gift you have been to them? I believe they will look back fondly. We have so many pictures of you with them, I especially love the Christmas cards we sent.

I know you'll forgive me if I find another, and I think for the sake of the children, it's important that I do replace you. I hope it makes you feel better knowing that the work you've begun will be carried on until they grow and leave this house.

But your days are numbered. The specialist tells me you can't hold out much longer. I hope I can find someplace where you will be happy in your last days, but it's not always possible. I'd never want to cause anyone pain.

All pianos die sometime.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Free excuses for everybody, love from Mom

The Husband excuse:
Honey, you know I've been working really long hours, but I did take 5 minutes out of my workday to call in an order of flowers for you and for my mom. I really don't know if you like flowers or flowering plants, but my mom likes bouquets so that's what I got you. Also, I can't find any jewelry stores anywhere and I'm too scared to go in and actually look at jewelry and let's face it, you're no trophy wife honey, so I stopped off at the drugstore and got you a card. I grabbed some chocolates too. I couldn't remember which kind are your favorites, so I just got some that looked interesting.

The 11-year old daughter excuse:
Mom, I totally forgot, ok? I have this cool book that I just want to lie on the couch and read, and I didn't even notice that other people were saying 'happy Mother's Day' to you so how was I supposed to know? And yeah, I know we have a bunch of blank cards in the closet and stuff, but I'm just too cool for doing something like that. By the way, I'm screwing up in Humanities class, but if you'll make an extra trip to pick me up later from school, I can go to history movie club and get some extra credit, thanks.

The 10-year old son excuse:
I have boy brain.

The 10-year old daughter needs no excuse. She made me 3 cards and 2 craft projects, wished me happy Mother's Day dozens of times and gave me all the love in her heart.

I guess it's worth keeping the job one more year.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Plan B

Do you ever reach into your pantry and find one of these beauties? I'd like to say I was looking for an onion to cook something fabulous but it actually was discovered when investigating a funny smell. So I handed it to my son and said "ooh look! you can start a vegetable garden!" He was thrilled. I'm sure the onion was thrilled. Perfect example of plan B.

Life is full of Plan Bs (Plans B?). Nobody actually plans to have three children under the age of two. That second kid just turned out to be twins. On to plan B, in a big way. We got a bigger car, I left work to become a stay-at-home mom and I became a real expert in breastfeeding.

I've been thinking of the study I posted about yesterday. I think a lot of stress is caused for us when we are faced with an incessant need to improvise. It's stressful to keep coming up with Plan B, not to mention Plan C or D sometimes.

Like yesterday. I had plans to get several things done first thing in the morning, but one of the cats exploded. Digestive distress from both ends. There were land mines in three different rooms. Bleeech. Plan B included a mop, and that ended up throwing my schedule off. I survived, but it required some extra chocolate later.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

We're Number 1!

WASHINGTON, May 6 (UPI) -- Moms in the "sandwich generation" ages 35 to 54 feel more stress than any other age group as they balance child and parental care, a U.S. survey indicates.

The American Psychological Association's 2007 Stress in America survey also says while nearly 2 in 5 men and women in this age group feel overextended, the survey reveals that more women than men report experiencing extreme stress and say they manage their stress poorly.

Nearly 40 percent of those aged 35 to 54 report extreme levels of stress -- compared to 29 percent of those ages 18 to 34 and 25 percent of those older than 55.
I got up this morning at 4:00. I couldn't sleep because I was so stressed with things on my mind. So I went downstairs to my happy place (my sewing machine) and heard this on the radio. Great timing with Mothers' Day coming up. I made sure my whole family heard about it at breakfast. "I'M STRESSED! YOU'RE STRESSING ME OUT!"

I feel better already.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My kids rock

They eat books for breakfast.

Here's drama girl wearing the Greek chiton I made for her leading a cheer for her 6th grade olympics team yesterday. (She's on the far right, wearing her hair in pigtails exactly the way I did in 6th grade. If she knew, she'd be mortified).
I found this swarm of Potato people in the living room this morning. Wasabi girl made them. She and her twin brother are the "normal" ones in front, the rest of us are following them. I'm the one in the Buzz Lightyear shoes. For the record, she is 10 years old, not 2 as one might suspect. Note that the cats are in their usual daytime spot. When they die I'm going to have them stuffed and put them there. Nobody will know the difference.

This is some sort of statement about discipline in our house. Jungle Boy created this vignette. Is that me in the pointy shoes? I don't think my mustache is quite that big.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Supermom Monday: The Lit and Laundry way

I love Mondays. The messy people are out of the house (husband included) and I can clean the darn place up.

I have a Lifebalance dynamic to-do list on my Treo, which prioritizes all my to-dos and tells me what's due and overdue. I've massaged it for years until it is a complete collection of everything I need to do in my life.

The challenging part, is the execution and check-off of all these essential things. Flip the mattress annually? Check. Get the car detailed weekly? Sometimes check. Read the Bible daily? Um, once in a while. You get the picture. If I were some kind of perfect I'd have nothing left to check off.

Today however, I had 185 overdue items as of 6am. Time to attack the list and stop being lazy. So I'm using my Lit and Laundry technique. Here it is in all its glory:

1) Read a chapter
2) Get something done
3) Repeat.

It's 9:45 am and the list is down to 160 overdue to-dos. I've been doing multiple things between chapters (a lot of them are really simple). Seven more chapters down in Les Miserables. Fabulous book. Very exciting part. I need to go scrub the sink now so I can read the next chapter.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Daughters of Juarez

Once I started reading this book, I just couldn't put it down. I'm not a fan of true crime novels in general, but this was a whopping good read.

It catalogs the tale of the femicides occurring in Ciudad Juarez Mexico, which is across the border from El Paso. In the period covered, 1993-2006, over 300 young teenage women have been murdered. Their mutilated bodies continue to be found in the desert on the outskirts of the city, and in more recent cases, within the city itself.

It is the chilling story of gross incompetence on the part of law enforcement and authorities to solve these murders. The author, an investigative reporter who has covered the case since the beginning, makes it clear that she believes members of the corrupt police force are involved themselves.

I read with a growing sense of expectation that the final chapters would point to the most probable perpetrator, but unfortunately, there are several plausible groups of suspects and none have sufficient evidence against them.

Recommended reading for women everywhere.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Martha Stewart Meets Sweeney Todd

Martha baking babies

So wrong. In so many ways. If you last through the whole thing without falling out of your chair, here is part 2.

Some people get a little out of control with their crafting I think.

God laughs at my plans

Clearly I'm not meant to clean my son's floor this morning. Who could destroy such lovely play-doh art?

But the plans I speak of are much larger and more ironic.

I play the harp. Darling daughter 11 plays the violin. The time has come for my twins to pick which instruments to play in middle school next year. I had a vision. A beautiful vision. . . me at the harp, DD11 at the violin, DD10 on the flute, DS10 with a cello. Imagine the chamber music we could make! I had our Christmas card all planned.

Then the day came for instrument tryouts. First to the orchestra room. They both liked the cello and did well. DS10 liked the bass. DD10 started to lean towards viola. All well and good. On to the band room. There were lines 10 students deep at every instrument station. I waited with DD10 in the flute line while my son wandered off. Daughter's flute aptitude was good, but the flute section was full already with a waiting list, so we headed to the clarinet line. I looked for my son and noticed he was trying out the trombone. uh-oh.

Long story short, they tried every instrument and discovered they had definite skills. Next year our lucky household will have a daughter who plays the alto saxophone and a son who plays the trumpet. *sigh*

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Walter the Farting Dog

No discussion of cannibalism at breakfast, but this children's book came up. I had never heard of it before, but all the kids could practically recite it by heart. Apparently their second grade teacher had read it to them. I couldn't believe it existed so I looked it up. Not only is there a whole *series* of Walter the Farting Dog books, but there's also a plush toy available at Amazon.

No wonder they don't want to read Dickens.

Last night DD11 had her callbacks for the play "Get Smart." She read for Agent 99, a Scandinavian Princess, and a KAOS agent. Can't wait to see what part she gets. I didn't even know there was a play called Get Smart. It's by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry so it should be fun.

While she was at callbacks, DS10 was at ballet. The director of Peninsula Ballet Theater stopped by and we chatted briefly. He seemed suitably impressed with DS10's dancing. Fingers crossed for a good part for DS10 in this year's Nutcracker.

Then we all went to see DS10's film debut acting in a student film. Since the filmmakers were also 10 years old, the quality was about what you'd expect. Much of it was funny, and much of it was unintentionally funny. We got a copy of the dvd, which will go with that pile of talent show dvds and camp dvds that we're probably never going to watch again. Something to pull out when his girlfriend comes over years from now.

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