Sunday, August 30, 2009

With a Little Help from my Twins

I decided this week that an old ficus had to be replaced. So I brought along my trusty helpers to help me get a new tree home. Turns out, the one we liked was quite large, so I used my human bungee cords to secure it. See my cane in the van there? I couldn't have done it without them.

It looks wonderful in its new spot, and the kittens are pretty sure it's a new toy for them. Getting the help I need makes my Monday.

To see other Monday smiles, visit Cheryl at Twinfatuation.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Finished for Friday: Autumn Quilt

My barefoot twins are holding up my finished Autumn quilt. It's flannel and very soft and snuggly. Just in time for fall! It's the first of the stack that they basted for me.

Now that the kids have started back at school, I hope to have a little more time for quilting, which makes me very happy! I feel like I'm starting to catch up with some of my unfinished projects.

Lit and Laundry

What have you been up to this week? Let us know so we can come applaud your accomplishments.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

In a Million Words or Less

After the first day of school there is always one person in the family with the most homework: the mom. Here I am in the heart of Silicon Valley, spending hours filling in stacks of forms. With a pen. This drives me crazy. Why can't I do this online somehow?

My Church choir, consisting of many elderly people who sing in Byzantine Greek, communicates by email. If this unlikely group can get their technological act together, why can't my school district?

But today's stack of forms included something even more annoying than the usual "tell me a little about your student's strengths and weaknesses" questions.

I got an assignment. A whopper. "In a million words or less, tell me about your scholar!"

Is she kidding?

I understand the intent. She promises to read all of them and use them to get to know my child.

But that's just so open-ended, I'm tempted to call her bluff and give her a really good long memorable read. I have until September 18. Here's how the first one begins (I get to do these for two of my kids);

It was a dreary misty morning when I opened the front door to get the paper and found that the gypsies had left a small screaming bundle on my doorstep. . .

I'll add in some real facts along the way. But if I get a million words, I'm going to throw in some interesting stuff to pad it a little.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The things I'll do while my kids are at school

Today is the first day of school! (Yippee!) For any readers who do not remember those wonderful days of kissing the offspring goodbye in the morning, I'll offer a glimpse of what a typical mom might really do once she gets some breathing room.

  1. Use whitestrips on my teeth
  2. Play Mario Kart on the Wii
  3. Cuddle the kittens
  4. Listen to operas
  5. Sing along to operas
  6. Bake cookies
  7. Purge their closets of outgrown clothes
  8. Put my feet up
  9. Sew
  10. Watch Jane Austen movies while I fold laundry
  11. Leave the bathroom door open
  12. Have a quiet lunch
  13. Send the roomba under their beds
  14. Chat on the phone
  15. Read all my favorite blogs
  16. Scan ebay for favorite antiques
  17. Daydream
  18. Pull everything out of the linen closet and air it out and rearrange it
  19. Mop the floors
  20. Miss them, and wonder what they're doing right now.
I love my kids, but I love having the house nice and quiet for a while too, even if it's only for a few hours. Goodbye summer! Hello new school year!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Opening Credits to My Nightmares

Then I wake up screaming. And laughing.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Makes My Monday: Companions

I think the pictures speak for themselves. The kittens are 4 months old now, and delighting everyone in the family.

Join Cheryl at Twinfatuation every Monday for more smiles to start the week. (and what? You don't have a big lion by your fireplace?)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Finished for Friday: The Help

This week I finished this book, The Help, by Kathryn Stockett.

It's a vivid account of the experience of African-American domestics and their relationships with the white women they worked for. While helping raise the children and keep the silver polished for their society employers, the maids face the overt racism and subtle realities of segregation in Jackson Mississippi in 1963.

Although it's a novel, it's clear that the author has experienced the time and place first hand. The characters are wonderfully realistic and I cared about what happened to each. The plot swings in a predictable arc with shocking and amusing twists along the way.

It's an empowering book, with each of the main characters ultimately finding the voice she didn't know she had. Inspiring and optimistic in the end. I highly recommend it.

I also finished the next block in my "Hocuspocusville" quilt. I just finished it this minute in fact, so you are seeing it in all of its unpressed glory. I love the signs advertising "wart enhancement" and "mole hair braiding." The artist who designed shares my of sense of humor.

Lit and Laundry

What have you been up to this week? I love to see your accomplishments. Please join in and let us congratulate you. Have a great weekend!

Monday, August 17, 2009


How do toddlers do it? Pull themselves up, let go, and just walk across the floor?

I'm wondering, because I find that I am right back there. A return check-up post hip-surgery has determined that my muscles are all firing in the wrong order, which explains why I walk with a bigger limp than a mad scientist's assistant.

So I have to learn how to walk. All over again. Again.

My kids cheer me on with the song from the Christmas movie "Just put one foot in front of the other mom!" I screw up my face in concentration and try to repeat the 47 parts of a step to myself: "heel lands, roll tibia in, roll knee in, soften hip, up and over the hip, weight forward. . ." I have no idea how tiny babies figure it out without a physical therapist coaching them through every muscle movement.

I watch movies and lose track of the plot because I can't stop thinking "look how easily everyone is just. . .walking!"

Someday I hope to be back to unconscious walking again. In the meantime, it makes me realize how much I probably take for granted every day of my life.

So tell me, where have you walked today? Let me enjoy a little vicarious strolling through you.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Makes My Monday: Nutrition

I'm going to keep with the theme that Cheryl started this week and post about my kids' nutritious choices. Or not.

When asked if they could substitute mini-marshmallows for jelly in their peanut butter sandwiches, I didn't think it would be too terrible. I pictured them sprinkling marshmallows in.

Witness the actual result:

Sorry it's a little out of focus, I was laughing.

Watching my kids creatively push their luck makes my Monday. Go visit Cheryl at Twinfatuation for more smiles.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Finished for Friday: New Employees

I've finally been able to get to my sewing machine (yeah!) and I've worked on a few quilts. They've been stacking up though because I'm not limber enough yet to get down on the floor and baste them for quilting. (For a full rundown on the typical disasters I encounter basting quilts, see this post.)

The solution? Asking my twins for help. They were good sports about the whole thing, but they weren't wildly enthusiastic about the task. They did a great job and now I actually have a quilt top that's ready to be quilted (yeah!).

But this isn't the only quilt top in the house. I confess I have a big stack. After they did such a good job I asked the twins if they'd do some more for me. They thought about it and decided they would do it - if I pay them in ice cream.

I'm thrilled I'm going to get my stack of quilt tops one step closer to being real quilts. I know this technically isn't a finish - more like a start. But it's my meme so I can stretch the rules.

There was a little unhappiness in the house by those who were banished from the room during the process.

What have you been up to this week?

Lit and Laundry

Please join in and let us admire your accomplishments. Have a great weekend!

The Perfect Gift: Duck Tape

What did Drama Girl want the most for her birthday? Duck tape. I had no idea that this is the new rage in middle school. Here is her haul, displayed on her messy desk. She's just thrilled about it.

Why duck tape? Because apparently you can do a million things with it. Here she is with a bag she decorated with plaid duck tape. You do have plaid duck tape at your house, don't you?

According to Drama Girl, kids are making flip-flops, purses, wallets - all kinds of things out of duck tape. I'm still shaking my head in disbelief.

And speaking of things that make a girl happy on her birthday. . . let's hear it for peanut butter chocolate hot fudge parfaits!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Drama Girl

You are incredible. You are beautiful. You are brilliant. You can do anything you set your mind to.

You are 13 today, and I am very very proud of you.

Love always,

Makes My Monday: Shmoop

Drama Girl is an avid reader. Or perhaps I should say a voracious reader. Having exhausted the school library, she is well on her way to finishing the young adult section of the city library. She loves books. She loves to talk about them. She loves to encourage me to read the same books she's reading.

Our tastes are similar, but we are both stubborn about books we think we will not like. Finally earlier this summer we made a deal: If I would read the second book in the Twilight series, she would read Pride and Prejudice.

I held up my end of the bargain, reading "New Moon" on my Kindle. Not liking wimpy weepy heroines, I didn't warm to this particular book, but I finished it.

She picked up my beautiful leather-bound edition of Pride and Prejudice and got through about 4 pages before setting it down. But I knew if she read more, she would start to enjoy it.

Then I found out about Shmoop. provides irreverent and entertaining study guides for classic literature, US History, and poetry. You can find the entry for Pride and Prejudice here.

But better still, Shmoop has just released integrated commentary and study guides for their books for the Kindle. I've already read one, for The Red Badge of Courage, and I couldn't put it down. Throughout the text are links to click on for commentary. Then just hit the 'back' button to return to the text. The witty clear comments are like taking a class from a favorite professor.

So Drama Girl and I sat down on the couch together with my Kindle, downloaded the Shmoop Pride and Prejudice in a matter of seconds, and within a minute, she was laughing out loud and commenting on the finer points of the story.

Score points for Jane Austen, Kindle, Shmoop, and a mom who's nice enough to loan her Kindle to her daughter. Introducing her to great literature makes my Monday.

To read more stories of smiles today, visit Cheryl at Twinfatuation.

Don't have a Kindle yet? What are you waiting for? The price has come down.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Finished for Friday: Capes and Caps

I got another block finished for my Hocuspocusville quilt. Four more to get done now, and then put the whole quilt together before Halloween. I'm a little behind schedule. Holidays are right around the corner!

I also got another block finished for Gail Pan's Christmas Wish block of the month.

Lit and Laundry

Join in with any project you've finished up this week and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Wordful Wednesday: Kittens vs. Dolphin


Who is more amused? The husband who made a robotic dolphin, or the kittens who are fascinated by it?

Talk about elaborate cat toys! I hope they appreciate all the work he put into it.

Wordful Wednesday is hosted by Angie at 7 Clown Circus. Please visit her wonderful blog.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Yes, we argue

The kitten's on the table! I can't believe she jumped up there again!

She was investigating your water glass, you shouldn't have left it there.

But I just put it there two seconds ago.

And she noticed it one second ago.

So it's my fault?

I'm just saying. . .


Where are the tals?

The what?

The clean tals for the bathroom?

Oh, towels! You said tals. I didn't understand you.

Whatever. We've been married for 17 years, you should understand me by now.

Sorry, I never understand that tals thing. That word is just too weird.

My fault I suppose.

I'm just saying. . .


Why isn't there salad dressing on the table?

Um, because there's no salad?

But I want it on my rice.

Nobody puts salad dressing on rice.

I do.

Honey, you're scaring the kids. And me. Here's the salad dressing.

I got some ice cream. Want some?

I would, but is that vanilla? Why do you always get vanilla? That's not even a flavor.

I like vanilla.

I'll pass.

I got super brownie chocolate chunk for you.

I love you. I'll get the spoons.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday Comic

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